Archive for November 9th, 2008

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.


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