The Same but Different

Recently I saw a photo in which someone claimed they were wearing chambray and I wondered if they really were. I am a textile geek, after all, and I could see why someone would think that a fabric is one thing when it’s really something else. I wondered if the fabric in question was indeed chambray, or if it was denim.

Left: striped chambray Right: denim

Left: striped chambray
Right: denim

Chambray and denim are very similar in that the warp threads – the threads that are attached to the loom in weaving – are dyed threads, and the weft threads – the ones that come off the shuttle (I remember it by “weft goes left…and right”) – are white threads. And they’re both typically made of cotton.

Denim is typically a pretty thick canvas, but it can be very lightweight as well, it just depends on the gauge of the threads used. Chambray is typically lightweight.

This is a great blog post about denim, and it explains the structure of “the simplest example of a woven fabric” (which weavers call “plaino”) and the structure of a twill fabric (looks diagonal). Herein lies the fundamental difference between denim and chambray: Chambray is plaino weave – one over, one under, and denim is a twill weave, two over, one under.

Ultimately, I was concerned that the person was accidentally wearing an Albertan Tuxedo (denim jacket and jeans – a fashion I unwittingly adhered to for much of the 90s and early 2000s). If you want to go blue on blue, make sure you’ve got a chambray top and denim jeans – or vice versa.

365 Grateful

I read about these people taking a photo a day of something they are grateful for, so I thought, heck, I should do that.  I haven’t been doing a photo per day, but I have been taking as many I can, and thinking about the positive reasons for taking each photo.  You can see some of my photos in my flickr link on my sidebar.

Well, now the 365 Grateful people are trying a week of not complaining.  So I thought I would try it too.  Yesterday was my first day and I think I did pretty well.  And I felt so much better than usual.  I really am looking forward to this week and seeing if I am capable of more positivity.

A Tale of Two Yarns

It must be stated – I am a fibre snob.  Working as a costumer at an historic site for the last 13 years has ingrained in me the importance of natural fibres.  Being someone who is becoming increasingly aware of my environmental footprint is also something that affects my fibre choices (I am morally opposed to superwash yarns due to the amount of water and/or chemicals involved in its creation – it’s a personal hang-up, I’ll let you use whatever you please).

The first yarn I worked with on a regular basis was by Briggs and Little.  I got a lot of it, in several different colours and weights, so that I could build shawls for work.  I thought its rustic hand would be perfect for the Park.  Now I look at that yarn and shudder – I have sensitive skin and can’t wear it, so why would I expect my staff to wear it?

My latest go-to yarn is, of course, Cascade 220.  It’s non-superwash (well, the original is anyway), it’s got a plethora of colours, and it’s comfy on my sensitive skin.  That being said, I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that it’s not the best for my physique; I can only wear if it’s made into hats, mittens, or scarves.  I’m not very tall, and I’m curvy, and I am about to frog my February Lady sweater that only needs the sleeves finished because I tried it on and felt it was just too bulky for a girl of my build.   However, it is being made into a cardigan for a female 1920s interpreter, two 1920s men’s sweaters, and it’s been doing quite well for finger-woven sashes (after being over-plied so that it resists pilling during construction).

Neither of these are my favourite yarn but they have been, or are becoming, my workhorse yarns.