Archive for 2008

Overshot misses the mark

I showed the beginnings of my overshot sampler back here. I was having major trouble with my beat and not close to the balanced plain weave ground I wanted.
overshot3Thanks to the wonders of blogland, and more specifically comments from Barbara and Lynnette, I did get closer. The upper row of the motif is definitely rounder – but not round. Use of a temple immediately helped. That’s the object at the left – two pieces of wood slotted together, with sharp pins at each end.  The pins hook into either side of the cloth you are weaving and helps keep it to the width of the warp in the reed.  One benefit is that it helps you to pack the weft down more closely.

I wasn’t able to take advantage of Lynnette‘s suggestion to reduce the warp tension. I dislike blaming my equipment (classic sign of a poor workman), but my little table loom went straight from my standard tension to sloppy and unweavable with just one click of the ratchet.

This overshot was woven on 4 shafts. The warp threads on two adjacent shafts form a block which gives 4 blocks – A= (1,2 or 2,1), B= (2,3 or 3,2), C= (3,4 or 4,3) and D= (4,1 or 1,4). When designing you can repeat blocks, say AABBCCCD, which is 1,2,1,2,3,2,3,4,3,4,3,4,1.

The warp ends highlighted in red are at the change of blocks where you miss out a thread rather than repeating. So the red 2 is the last thread of the A blocks and the first of the B blocks. This has the advantage that the ends alternate on odd and even shafts, which means you get plain weave by lifting 1+3 then 2+4.

The pattern is produced by using twill lifts: 1+2, 2+3, 3+4 and 4+1.

Generally you alternate two shuttles. One shuttle has yarn similar to the warp and produces the plain weave background. The second shuttle weaves the pattern using twill lifts and the yarn is generally a contrasting colour,  soft and compressible so it squeezes down when it goes between warp threads but spreads out to cover the plain weave with the floats. The sequence could be:
1.  lift shafts 1+2, use pattern weft
2.  lift shafts 1+3, use background weft
3.  lift shafts 1+2, use pattern weft
4.  lift shafts 2+4, use background weft
5.  lift shafts 2+3, use pattern weft
6.  lift shafts 1+3, use background weft
7.  lift shafts 3+4, use pattern weft
8.  lift shafts 2+4, use background weft

In this example picks 2, 4, 6 and 8 give the plain weave background so you have a stable cloth. The pattern picks are the decoration and given the repeated blocks and twill lifts you get the pattern weft floating (shooting?) over areas of the cloth. You get areas of colour (the weft float), areas of non-colour (where the weft float is on the underside and the background cloth is showing) and areas of “half-tone” (at the edges of the float which are the adjacent block and the pattern weft actually does plain weave).

The sampler design in the sampler is Ancient Rose Design from Marguerite Porter Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book.

overshot4Right near the end of the warp I returned to the attempt to get a square ground. This time I used a finer weft – 8/2 cotton (Borg’s Bomullsgarn) instead of the 22/2 cottolin. It’s not quite but very nearly there and has the plus of being a slightly different pink which adds visual interest. You can see here I also used a brighter pink weft, although still Bendigo Mills classic 2 ply. Another not-so-successful aspect of this sampler, in that I originally planned to go for neutrals in the colour scheme. I need to change my shopping habits to address that.

What else? Did you notice the threading issue in the earlier photos? (Just noticed the second photo is of the back of the cloth, which is why the problem moves). I missed out 2 threads in the draft – in the pink photo the centre “flower” on the left is lobsided. This was a mistake at the computer during planning, when I was doing a copy and paste and didn’t repeat a block the right number of times. I didn’t notice until I’d done quite a bit of weaving.

overshot5It’s not all bad news.  Here are some variations which I find interesting. From top to bottom:

* Polychrome – two pattern picks (different colours, adjacent lifts eg 1,2 then 2,3) followed by a plain weave pick.

* Feather stitch – 3 picks in a sequence: pattern, plain weave, pattern (same lift as the first) eg 1,2 then plain weave then 1,2.

* Shadow fashion – the pattern weft is fine (I used aurifil 12/2 cotton sewing thread). I used the same cottolin plain weave weft, but in theory should have used something heavier.

I don’t expect to use anything directly from this sampler any time soon. So why was my very next warp also threaded as overshot?

overshot6I am a bellringer – not tunes and such but change ringing. Without going into a lot of detail, bells are rung sounding in a pre-set order or method. I think every bellringing weaver has looked for ways to represent ringing methods in weaving.

I came across an article by Leslie Killeen:  Fiesta Cloth – coloring by numbers in March/April 2007 Handwoven. The fabric is a non-traditional overshot, warp dominant so the half tones don’t show, and a single thread is used for both pattern and plain weave. The cloth in the article looks like “plain hunt”, so I had to give it a try. In the photo is “plain bob minimus”. This is attempt 3. The first was set at 36 epi and too loose. I cut it off and re-sleyed at 48 epi – much better, but I hadn’t mixed up the background colours well. Off that came and I did some judicious swapping. There’s still a way to go, it’s not quite what I want – but I will be coming back to this.

Tagged and launch

Trapunto of The Straight of the Goods and Susan of Thrums tagged me  to show the sixth photo in the sixth photo folder. Sounds easy enough… except only four photos in the sixth folder. Sorted folders by date… Photo I took for the blog so you’ve already seen it. Reversed order… sixth photo is someone else’s sample from a felting workshop – don’t want to use that without permission. Sorted photos in size order… etc. Finally we have (drum roll?)

photo_memeMy son Tad and one of my nieces, taken in 2004 on the deck at the back of the house. We hosted a family dinner for my sister’s birthday in January. It was also a late Christmas gathering for that branch of the family (Rae’s husband is from New Zealand and they go there every second Christmas). My niece is waving the feathery fan which was part of my late Christmas present to her – very moulty, very pink, and not very dye-fast. I was finding little pink stains around the place for days (sorry Rae!).

How things change. This is my latest photo of Tad. tad_formal
All dressed up in his first suit and on his way to his school formal. Bad lighting and peculiar expression because he was that mixture of tolerant / condescending / impatient that 16 year old boys produce when they think their mother is fussing. Although comparing, his expression hasn’t changed much –  though the rest of him has (193 cm last measure and still counting – that’s 6′ 4″ old style).

I won’t pass the tag along – feel free to join in if you’d like!

Talking of clever young people, last night I went to the launch of Texstyle, an annual exhibition which showcases major textile works of students of Textiles and Design in the NSW Higher School Certificate (the culmination of school, to be followed by university / work / travel…). There was some really lovely work although no weaving that I could see. After the formal presentation part they asked students to stand beside their own work. I thought it could be awkward, but they were a very proud, excited and articulate group of young women, very capable of discussing inspiration, techniques, materials, and future plans. I can’t find photos of this year’s exhibits, but here are some from last year.

Doubleweave wrapup and onward to overshot

8s_double_wornThank you for the comment Trapunto – I can’t provide the Aztec princess but I did get some nice remarks at work this week. Although a bit short for a scarf, it worked well as a sort of shawl collar. Peg, it’s 8 shafts – this is one of the second year class weaving projects. Our first year class was too small to continue, so two of us accelerated into second year. It was an effort for our weaving teacher Liz, since she’s been coming early each week to continue first year theory with us. Tatiana and I have both fallen behind on the practical work, but my hopes are high to do some catching up over the summer break.

overshot1First cab off the rank – overshot. The warp and tabby weft are cottolin. The pattern weft is two strands of bendigo woollen mill’s two ply classic wool. The threading is Ancient Rose Design from Marguerite Porter Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book. My original intention was to change pace and try using neutrals, but on checking my shelf it became apparent that my shopping is rather skewed and slightly dusty pink is the closest I had.

I’m having some trouble with getting the beat right. The warp is set at 18 ends per inch, so I’m aiming at just over 16 picks per inch while under tension on the loom. This is only considering the pink tabby weft, which is intended to produce a nice balanced plain weave. It ignores the claret wool pattern weft, which is meant to smoosh down in between. Trying to beat harder didn’t actually do the job, and the little table loom and my shoulders and neck started complaining. Plan B is to put the weft in at a steeper angle – the greater length allows the weft to move up and down around the warp threads more and so pack down better. Sorry, I can’t give proper attribution for this idea – I’ve been reading lots about overshot in the past week and can’t remember the source. However, it is helping. I’ve found it slower since I don’t have a lot of space in front of the beater and have to fiddle about. I only need to do it for the tabby – the pattern weft started looking a bit loose and messy on the floats.

Extra ideas welcome – and to those who aren’t familiar with overshot my apologies. I’ll try to give a bit of an explanation on how it works when the sample’s done and I can review what I’ve learnt.

Double weave = double++ time

My toughest assignment yet is done!!

double weave

double weave

You first saw a glimpse of it here (right at the bottom of the post) at the beginning of the month. Here it is today, not quite in all its glory since I can’t get the colour right despite playing with white balance in the camera, colour levels in gimp, etc. In life it is richer and brighter.  It is soft to the touch – and did I mention done?

2/20s superfine wool from tutor Liz, set at 20epi each layer (for a nice light drape with the double layers – 24 epi would be more usual).

fine wool + 2 layers = x hours weaving, where x is a BIG number.

Double weave on 4 shafts gave two layers of cloth and the flexibility to choose which layer showed on top. This sample was on 8 shafts. Still two layers of cloth, but threaded to give two blocks, so part layers could be brought to the top.

Dark layer – purple through blue and back to purple – block A on shafts 1 and 2, block B on shafts 3 and 4. Lifting (1 + 3) then (2 + 4) gives a purple/blue layer of plain weave.

Light layer – red through oranges to yellow – block A on shafts 5 and 6, block B on shafts 7 and 8. Lifting (5 + 7) then (6 + eight ) gives a red/orange layer of plain weave.

I can have:

block A red on top plus block B red on top (= red layer on top)
block A purple on top plus block B purple on top (=purple layer on top)
block A red and block B purple
block A purple and block B red

Weaving is in sets:
a pick of purple (lift 1+3)
a pick of red (lift 5+7)
a pick of purple (2+4)
a pick of red (6+8 )

But each set I have to decide which colour of each block I want on top. To keep a layer of colour on top, I have to lift it up out of the way when I weave the other colour. For example, if I want block A red and block B purple, then when I weave purple I have to lift Block A red (5+6) out of the way, and when I weave red I have to lift block B purple (3+4) out of the way, giving:
a pick of purple lift (1+3)+(5+6)
a pick of red (5+7)+(3+4)
a pick of purple (2+4)+(5+6)
a pick of red (6+8)+(3+4)

It all sounds complex (did I mention extra time in the weaving?), but I did get into a rhythm of sorts.

There’s extra visual interest because the layers overlap in the middle, but the purple layer extended out to the left, so that always shows, and the red extended out to the right and always shows there. The extra challenge is that you can’t always see the selvedges in the overlapped part.

Do I like it?? Hmm. I love the colours. I was thinking dancing flames when I chose them, when weaving I saw sunsets, parrots, campfires and glowing coals… The patterning is busy. I wanted to experiment with lots of combinations and patterns in which blocks I used. So there are checks and windows of colour and bits that look like keys and so much more happening. Bright colour + busy patterning = visually challenging. It’s a sampler more than a scarf. Still, I’ll definitely wear it as a scarf when cooler weather returns.

Naturally this just scratches the surface of double weave. Each week in class Liz gave us new approaches to the theory, brought in samples, gave slide shows… Weaving reminds me of fractals (as a non-mathematician) – each time you go to a new area there is more detail, more variation, more possibilities, more to learn.

So, what’s next? The double weave was with the second year class. We’re still working through first year theory as well, and in the time I’ve been doing the double weave Liz has taken us through theory on 4 shaft undulating twills, Ms and Os and last week started overshot. I’m going to jump into overshot, and come back to the others during the summer break.

Swedish Lace sampler

Trapunto commented to my last post about how useful a sampler can be – “8-shaft twills, how boring and cluttered a photo from a certain treadling can look in a book … turn out to be very interesting and definite in person”. I can only agree – there are well over 100 different patterns in that twill sampler, all with potential for development, and that’s before you bring colour and yarn choices into play.

swedish_ironing1I don’t have time to dwell on those possibilities just now, it’s on to the next sampler. However I am happy to report that this will bring me almost up to date, after a hectic month focused on activities other than weaving and blog reading/writing. Today’s sampler is fresh from the loom yesterday and the ironing board today. In fact the cover on the ironing board still bears its imprint.

Lace on the loom

Lace on the loom

Off the loom, unwashed

Off loom, unwashed

Swedish lace is mostly plain weave, with areas of floats (warp and/or weft) that move when you wash the cloth to give an open, lacey, textured effect. You can’t see much of this on the loom or before it’s washed. This sampler is probably easier to see than most since I decided to make it a colour experiment (how out of character!), rather than the more traditional cream or white. The yarn is Cottolin – 60% cotton, 40% linen.

After finishing

After finishing

You can see the impact of finishing (a vigorous handwash in hot water ). For the “after” photos I put a black cloth underneath to show up the holes.  There was 9% shrinkage between just off the loom to finished size.

You work with little sets of 5 threads. For example, for weft floats going across 5 warp threads:
weft 1 does plain weave
weft 2 floats over all 5 warps
weft 3 does plain weave
weft 4 floats
weft 5 plain weave.

During washing, the 2 floats sit up a bit and the 3 plain weave threads snuggle together underneath. You get some texture from the floats up top and spaces either side (before weft 1 and after weft 5) because of the snuggling.

A closer look

A closer look

There’s a “normal” thread between each set of 5 to give a bit of structure and hold things together – which gives the little “window pane” cross thing. Plus you can use a similar idea with warp floats instead of weft floats. This photo shows a combination of purple warp floats and turquoise weft floats.

This was a 1st year, 4 shaft project. I decided to make colour experimentation my focus, partly because I’m on a colour jag and partly influenced by the March/April 2008 issue of Handwoven – especially the Beginners Corner section. I kept the actual weaving design simple and (I believe) traditional – a mixture of both warp and weft floats on the face, plus plain weave so that I got all the possible colour mixes. I was interested in areas of pure colour and areas where warp and weft colours combine. I was also keen to try for an iridescent effect by using two very close colours.

Turquoise and green

Turquoise and green

On my monitor this photo is just a fraction brighter than life. Bottom left corner is green warp and weft. Top right is all turquoise. Top left and bottom right are combinations – in my opinion, in real life, more interesting.

The two light greens might be easier to see, and also very attractive “live”. In fact I like most of the combinations, the subtle and the more extreme, so I’ll show a couple more.

Two light greens

Two light greens

Pink and Green

Pink and Green

Purple and green

Purple and green

More detail on this project here.

Twill sampler

Way back when, a twill sampler on four shafts was the second thing we did in weaving class. With the leap to join the second years we started with a twill sampler on eight shafts. It just so happened that I finished the colour and weave out of order, since I put it on my big loom (given it’s easier to use and gives me lots more width and heddles to play with).

8s_twill_1Following standard sampler procedure, the warp was threaded in sections:

* straight – threading on shaft one, then shaft 2, 3, and on to 8 then repeat;

* pointed – changing directions, for example shaft 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 and lots more jiggling about. It can produce some attractive patterns but at the price of some long “floats” in the weft at the turning points (a potential weakness and the chance of getting snagged when using the cloth);

* herringbone – changing directions, but with a little jump each time, for example 1, 2, 3,  7, 6, 5, 4. This avoids the float problems.

* skip – no actual direction changes, but jumps, eg 4,5,6,7, 3,4,5,6

* transposed – swapping in pairs – 2,1, 4,3, 6,5, etc. I like this because it reminds me of bellringing (another interest of mine and I’m always on the lookout for ways to interpret bellringing methods in weaving).

Having set up the warp (all almond-coloured Bendigo Mills 2 ply classic wool), you have to figure which sequence of shafts to raise when weaving. Suddenly the world gets very big and scarey. …imagine a pause here, where I look at my notes and realise there is no way I’m going to explain this…

Say you decide to lift half the shafts each time you place one row of weft. You could lift:

shafts 1, 2, 3, 4

then 2, 3, 4, 5

then 3, 4, 5, 6

etc

Or you might decide to try a different combination, eg

shafts 1, 2, 3, 6

then 2, 3, 4, 7

then 3, 4, 5, 8

Or you might decide to only lift 3 shafts at a time, eg

shaft 1, 2, 4

then 2, 3, 5

then 3, 4, 6

Or… well, Liz’s handout informs me that there are 22 possible 8 shaft combinations of 8 shaft twill lifts.

8s_twill_2The world of weaving possibilities keeps getting bigger. The central part of this photo is really four variants of one thing. All of them are weaving “on opposites” – that is, you weave a pick, say lifting 1, 2, 3, 4, then on the next pick you lift the opposite shafts – 5, 6, 7, 8.

The first bit I used wool for both wefts – one weft of red lifting 1, 2, 3, 6, then one of pink lifting 4, 5, 7, 8, then pink lifiting 2, 3, 4, 7, red lifting 1, 5, 6, 8. I tried to keep the beat similar to the rest of the sample.

Next I used very fine wefts of pink and cream. You can see the same “mountain” pattern at the right, but all squashed up because of the tiny weft.

After that I stayed with the thin wefts, but changed to a 1,2,3,4 lift. Then back to wool, this time beating harder to pack in the rows of weft.

Well, if you’ve got this far you are probably both brave and confused! At least the colour scheme this time is nice and simple – almond and red, with pink to divide up the sections. Just so you don’t think I’m turning sedate, here’s a glimpse of what’s on the loom now:

8s_doubleweave

Colour and weave

cnw8s_fanThe 8 shaft colour and weave sample I showed last post is finished and I find it fascinating. Lots of colour interactions, and even where they repeat the look is different with the different lifts used. Although there is so much happening, for me the cloth works as a whole. Ignoring that it’s too wide for a scarf, too narrow for a wrap, and too short for either, I’ve used it a few times for extra warmth on mixed-up weather days.

cnw8s_2The basic idea is the same as in the four shaft sampler. This time all the warp sections followed a 2 light/2 dark/2 light etc sequence, using a lot more colours. The exercise was meant to include cutting off and rethreading with 4 light/4 dark, but I didn’t put on enough warp for that.  The patterns can look quite different depending on whether the weft colours match that section of warp.  All the wool is Bendigo Mills 2 ply classic wool, and almost all their standard colours (the very last weft pair were overdyed).

cnw8s_1cnw8s_3

Award and colour

My thanks to Susan of Thrums, who has presented me with this blog award. Susan wrote: “This is a relatively new blog having been started in July of 2008 but already has my attention! Judy has a great teaching style and I for one enjoyed the mini lesson on dukagang and finger manipulated weaves. Actually she was doing a working sampler of techniques but it sure worked as a lesson for me!” As a new blogger and weaver this is a real boost – I started to blog as a kind of diary for myself of my weaving journey and it’s great to think I have something to contribute to others.

I really enjoy Susan’s blog. So much beautiful weaving and good information – and I can’t wait to see how she goes with the new looms.

Copied straight from Susan’s blog, here’s what goes along with receiving this award:
1. Post this award on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. Nominate at least 4 other bloggers, and add their links as well.

4. Leave a comment at the new recipients’ blogs, so they can pass it on.

Susan’s personal criterion was to award weaving related blogs. I’ve decided to focus on colour – a major passion of mine and I’m looking forward to learning about how to use it well in weaving.

Knitting on Impulse is written by Ruth in Whistler, British Columbia. Ruth does beautiful work both knitting and jewellery making, but what particularly attracts me is the way she photographs the wonderful landscape and nature around her, analyses it carefully, then dyes yarns in colour-ways based in that inspiration. I love the insight Ruth shares into the creative choices she makes through the process.

Kris’s color stripes is another blog showing how the artist is inspired by the colours in her surroundings. Kris lives in Italy, an artist and fashion designer, and has the ability to really see colour everywhere she looks, in streetscapes, household objects, memorabilia… Again I’m attracted to the creative selection of colours, inspired by her source material but not straight-jacketed by it.

Sandra’s Loom Blog is amazing. Stunning work, incredible generosity of sharing information. Keeping with my colour theme, Sandra’s work is not only inspired by the colours around her (see her hummingbird and fire series), in her wood series she uses yarn dyed from wood chips.

Udaipur - Fiona Wright

Udaipur - Fiona Wright

Of daydreams and memories is packed with colour and feeds into my love of vicarious travel. Fiona doesn’t directly write about her colour inspiration, but her work shows both a joy in colour and her response to the colour around her. I am fortunate to have one of Fiona’s textile pieces in my room – Udaipur, purchased at this exhibiton. I’ve also had the pleasure of taking a few classes with Fiona, a very warm and genuine person. It’s fascinating to follow her adventures.

Reviewing these blogs has led me to reflect on my own colour explorations.

I’ve been dyeing fibres for a few years now and have folders full of samples and colour “receipes”. At the bottom right of the photo is the dye sheet for my Ocean scarf (although I see I called it “Blue Waters” at that stage).

I’ve recently started the exercises in colour – a workshop for artists and designers by David Hornung, working in gouache. I read through the book first, intending to absorb the contents and jump straight to experiments in dyes. I found it so rich in information that I decided it was worth the time and “distraction” to acquire and learn to use the paints and do the exercises as presented. You can see the book here.

Of course it’s a whole new ballgame with the optical colour mixing you get when weaving. As it happens my 8 shaft colour and weave sample is currently on the big loom. The yarn is all classic 2 ply wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills. In the picture of the cones, and using the company’s naming, the colour pairs are:

Top row, left to right: Raven – to divide the samples; Ensign and Aztec (blues) – same hue, different in value; Claret and Guava – complementary hues, different value;

Bottom row, left to right: Peony and Mulga – a pink/purple and a neutral, high contrast in value; Java and Plum – a neutral and a purple, a bit closer in value and intended as a hue light/dark switch from the Peony and Mulga; Tuscan and Burnt Orange – close in hue, close in value.

The sample will end with lots of combinations, since I’ll be using different weft pairs in each lifting plan. With so many colours, some quite strong, the overall result could be a visual mess (a dog’s breakfast or even a technicolour yawn in the Australian vernacular), but I’m hoping the individual squares will yield some interesting possibilities.

Thanks again Susan – for the award and for triggering some useful (to me) reflections. It even led me to learn about customising the white balance on my camera – the photos of the yarns and weaving in progress are the most accurate colour reproduction I’ve managed, on my monitor at least.

Double Weave Sampler

Thank you all for the nice comments about Geoff’s scarf. It’s lovely and soft and luscious to touch. Andrew’s right, it’s mostly silk – 50/50 silk/wool warp and all silk weft.  I still find it amazing to be able to create fabric at all, let alone something I really like – weaving is a wonderful thing! Peg, I will write about the Art Textiles Conference, but am hoping to get some photos from a friend first (I was too distracted to take any).

Earlier this week I finished my class double weave sampler. You can see it as a work in progress here. Double-weave involves weaving two layers of cloth at once. This was done on a four shaft loom. The grey layer was threaded on shafts 1 and 3, the blue layer on shafts 2 and 4.

This explanation is a bit wordy… For a top layer of grey cloth, lift shaft 1 for a pick, then shaft 3 and repeat. You end up with a layer of plain weave grey on top, and the blue warp is sitting underneath, not involved at all. For a bottom layer of blue cloth, lift shafts 1 and 3  to keep the grey out of the way. Then alternate lifting shafts 2 and 4 (with 1 and 3 kept up out of the way all the time) and you end up with a bottom layer of blue plain weave and the grey warp sitting on top, not involved.

Of course what you really want is to weave both layers at once, so alternate. Weave one or two picks of grey (shafts 1 and 3), followed by one or two picks of blue (lift shafts 1 and 3 up out of the way, then weave on shafts 2 and 4), using a separate shuttle of weft for each layer of cloth.  In section 1 of the sampler I did two picks at a time, first two rows of grey cloth, then two rows of blue cloth, being careful not to let the two wefts wrap around each other. In section 2, I did one pick at a time – it’s a bit more fiddly but you get a more even beat. In section 3 at the top of the photo I deliberately wrapped the wefts together at the edge so instead of two separate layers there is a tube of cloth.

It gets a bit more interesting if you swap which layer is top. To get the blue layer on top, just weave on shafts 2 and 4, leaving the grey warp sitting at the bottom. To get the bottom grey layer, lift the blue (2 and 4) up out of the way and weave on 1 and 3. Each time you swap which colour is top, the two layers cross and you get a join across the width. Section 4 is playing with this idea – you get neater joins depending on exactly which pick in the sequence you do the swap on.

Keep swapping and you get pockets – in section 5 of the sampler I stuffed the pockets with polyester batting to get a 3D effect.

Sections 6 and 7 were experimenting with different wefts, changing colours and textures.

Double weave expands your colour options. Usually the warp gives a constant colour (assuming the yarn isn’t variegated), which optically mixes with the weft colour. With double weave you have the option of bringing up the other layer of warp any time, introducing more colour. Section 8 is very basic play with that, using clasped-weft on the top layer (more colours and colour interaction).

Section 10 shows double weave providing support to some Brook’s bouquet on the top layer – extra stability for the cloth, plus using the darker background to showcase the fancy bit.

You can also swap layers along the row, giving areas of pure colour. The lower, blocky part was done using two pick up sticks. I found it very tricky to do and didn’t get anywhere close to a consistent beat. You have to concentrate hard to keep the basic plain weave going as you swap the layers about. The top part was more freeform and in the lower part of it I clearly got into a huge muddle and lost the plain weave structure. I got better by the end – value of practice etc, etc.
Double weave also gives a way to extend the width of your weaving. On the left hand side of this photo, I used one shuttle of blue weft. The sequence was a pick right to left across the grey layer, a pick left to right across the blue layer, a pick right to left across the blue layer, a pick left to right across the grey layer. Using a single weft (and keeping the sequence right) you get a single piece of cloth twice the width.

In the centre of the photo is a section where I kept the top and bottom layers separate, then in the righthand section I wove only half way across the top layer, then used a second shuttle across the left side of the top and all the way across the bottom layer. I didn’t do the whole thing, but the idea is to create a simple shirt from a single piece of cloth, no cutting. The gap on the right is the neck, with a grey yoke below. The grey in the middle becomes the sleeve, the blue underneath folds around to become the front below the yoke. Sorry the explanation is clear as mud.

The final section of warp was resleyed at double the ends per inch to try out warp-faced weaving. I tried a series of different weights of weft – all entirely covered by the warp except at the edges.

All of this was under the guidance of Liz, in our guild weaving class. If you can, get someone to show you how to do this – something not all that hard to show gets hopelessly bogged down when you try to put it in words!

Would I do it again? It was very fiddly in parts, difficult to get good beat and selveges in the bottom layer (since you can’t see it), slow to progress since you’re doing the two layers… At this stage it appears to me a specialist thing, giving options and maybe an elegant solution for particular projects. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it.

Geoff’s scarf

It’s been a busy few weeks. We had ATASDA’s AGM and I’m still national president. ATASDA also presented a one day conference “Art Textiles” which was fabulous, with excellent speakers, venue, no technology hitches (well, a font that was fixed in 60 seconds) and organisationally very smooth on the day (the result of course of frantic work leading up). Still, all of that is mere distraction – back to the focus of the day, which is Geoff’s scarf all done!

I am so pleased with it! Impossibly smug!! I can’t (don’t want to) help it, I’m just so happy with how it turned out!

Before I’m too obnoxious, a little reality check. The beat is uneven, especially if you compare beginning to end. It’s also a bit less than I intended, because I forgot to look at my notes based on the sample and relied on memory. There are skipped threads and spots where a shaft didn’t lift.

Don’t care. I love it. It’s soft and drape-y and the colours work and the selvedges are pretty good.

Best of all Geoff is almost as happy as me. He was involved throughout – his choice of base design, of colour, of dimensions. He’s been taking it around showing it off and pleased as anything with us both.

A detail. The base pattern was from Thrilling Twills. I figured out the little transition bits to change directions. You can see a bit more about the planning here, and a shot of work in progress here.


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