Archive for October, 2009

Deflected doubleweave scarf

20091025_deflected5Deflected double weave, differential shrinkage.

This piece combined and extended two earlier class projects.

I wrote a bit about double weave back here – you effectively create two layers of cloth on the loom at once, and can play with which layer shows on top (with 4 shafts), or which part of each layer shows (using 8+ shafts).

Another class topic was collapse weave – deliberately creating a textured (not flat) cloth. First attempts used columns of 3/1 and 1/3 twill with a range of weft yarns. I got mixed results – blogged here and here (the “what not to do” version).

20091025_deflected8You might be able to see the two layers here, in the cloth off the loom and hemed but before wet-finishing.

One layer of the double weave is 20/2 silk, sett quite loose at 12 ends per inch.

The second layer is Ixchel laceweight Cashmerino (70% merino, 30% cashmere) very widely sett at 4 ends per inch. The distribution of yarns isn’t even. In a 10 dent reed I had .i.i.S.S.S.i.i.S.S.S. – where i is one end of ixchel and S is two ends of silk and each pair of “. .” is a dent of the reed.

The two layers are both plain weave and interact in a diagonal progression. The draft is based on an article and photos in Vicki Masterson’s article “Texture with deflected double weave” and published in The best of Weaver’s Fabrics That Go Bump (page 92). The article didn’t include full threading and tieup details, but I think my re-creation is pretty much the same.

20091025_deflected3This is a corner after finishing. Shrinkage was 29% in length and 57% in width.

The ixchel felts and shrinks up very easily. The silk doesn’t shrink much at all, but is caught in with the ixchel in the weaving and has nowhere to go except bubbling up.  (An aside: I’ve done a fair bit of “real” felting in the past, going direct from animal fibre to textile with no spinning or weaving involved. Some felters don’t like the use of the word for finishing a woven article, which I believe is more properly termed “fulling”. Guess I’m not proper).

20091025_deflected1The end result is around 17cm wide and 214 cm long (that’s about 84 inches – on the long side for a scarf, but I’m on the tall side for a woman so it works out). It drapes beautifully.  The undyed fibres are very slightly different creams. It’s just the right weight for a Sydney winter.

20091025_deflected7Here’s another “before wet finishing” shot.  I took care and did some extra fiddling  while weaving, to make sure the ixchel never wrapped around the edges. The silk selvedges give a gentle frill effect. At the bottom I did a couple of picks of ixchel, then 12 picks just silk. Once off the loom I folded it up and quickly tacked down using ixchel and it made a nice bottom edge finish.

The one thing that wasn’t so pleasant about this project was the actual weaving. First was a loom problem, blogged here. Eventually that was solved by a very nice fellow in a fishing tackle shop (similar weight cable is used in fishing for large toothy creatures such as sharks). He didn’t have a crimp-making device in stock to sell me, so very kindly did the job for me. The second problem was user error. I have two back beams on my loom, and for the first time used both so I could beam the ixchel and silk separately. I had twisted bouts in the ixchel and think I had it rolled on the wrong way. Anyway, I couldn’t see how to remedy it and ended manhandling the beam each time I needed to wind on. The loom was not happy and I had to be on guard constantly for missed or wrongly lifted shafts. Still, I persevered and the end result was definitely worth it.

Freestyle scarf

20091024_freestyle1Still in catchup recording mode – I wove this scarf back at the beginning of June.

Cottolin warp in silver-grey and black. Allsorts weft – hand-dyed silk yarns of different weights, torn strips of tissue silk, some early spinning efforts, oddments from the thrums bag and lots more.

20091024_freestyle4Class technique went out the window. This section was so much fun. Wildly varying beat, using a fork to bubble weft up and create loops then dragging up previous areas  forming voids.

I tried to use a fibre or colour or technique a few times along the scarf to get some sense of overall unity.

20091024_freestyle5I included some clasped weft (if you’re not familiar with that, Kaz Madigan has a great video tutorial here.). This shot also shows some twill, a section of plain weave using fabric, and the bottom part has clumps of silk throwsters waste included here and there. Unevn selvedges increase the air of spontaneity.

This was a joy to weave. After stressful workdays I could refocus, narrow my focus, let go, respond to the small section of cloth developing in front of me.

The end result is long (227 cm – about 90 inches) and narrow (14cm), so lots of draping possibilities. It’s almost as much fun to wear as it was to weave 🙂

Although I’m in review mode there is other weaving activity afoot. 20091024_huck2The big loom has a warp almost on, for the first time in months. And what’s that in the background? 20091024_ashford

My new Ashford 8 shaft table loom! Nestled inside is a cone of new-to-me yarn, mulberry silk chenille from Beautiful Silks.  I plan to christen the new loom with a sampler warp to tryout the chenille.

Diversified Plain Weave sampler

This is a class sampler I wove back in May – so if my recap of the theory is wrong, please let me know so I can correct it 🙂

Liz (Calnan – my weaving teacher) explained that diversified plain weave is a development of plain weave. Thick and thin yarns are used in sets of three – thin, thick, thin – in both warp and weft. You need 4 yarns: a thick dark and a thin dark, a thick light and a thin light.

The thin threads provide a stable plain weave ground. The thick threads in warp and weft dominate visually. They can appear to have long floats, but in fact they are held down by the thin threads. You help the visual effect with yarn choice. For example in the warp you could use light thick and dark thin. In the weft choose a dark thick and a light thin.  When the thick dark weft goes under the thin dark warp the warp is hardly visible. The weft is safely held down in the cloth without interrupting the visual design. When the thick light warp goes under the thin light weft – weft not visible. You can get some very graphic designs without having to worry about float length.

diversified1An example. Say I want to weave circles using 6 shafts. I develop a design – it looks OK, but I have floats over 5 threads. If I’m using fine threads that might be OK, depending on the end use of the fabric. If I want to use thick threads for a nice warm scarf the long floats can catch and be impractical.

I can have my pattern and stability by adding extra thin threads and using diversified plain weave.

diversified2From a distance the circle design is still apparent. However the maximum float is now over three threads – one thick and two thin – so the final cloth is much more satisfactory from a structure and wear point of view.

Let’s take a closer look at what I did. (btw, I’ve done these drafts using Fiberworks PCW software. According to my notes the draft is based on the look of #588 in Stricklers A Weavers Book of 8 shaft patterns, but I haven’t noted what I changed and the book is back in the guild library.)


The top right 6 x 6 grid of the tie up looks the same. I’ve used 2 extra shafts to carry thin, dark warp threads. I have groups of threads, threaded on shafts 232 (that is, thin on shaft 2, thick on shaft 3, thin on shaft 2); 141; 252; 161; 272; 181. In the weft I used 2 shuttles – a thin light thread and a thick dark one – in groups of three picks: thin, thick, thin.

Some extra work using the two shuttles, and some extra chunkiness in the design. On the plus side, as long as I maintain the rhythm with the thin threads, I can have the visuals of floats of any length, while the actual floats are totally consistent 3 threads.

diversified4Here’s that design on the sampler/scarf. You can see on the right of the photo that I had a couple of straight runs before the pointed threading, and on the bottom I lifted in a straight run. I didn’t have appropriate thick and thin yarns in my small (developing!) stash, so I decided to treat it as an opportunity for colour experimentation.  I used bendigo mills 2 ply classic wool throughout.  “Thin” equals one thread (in the warp “sweetpea” if you know bendigo yarns – a rich dark pink). “Thick” was 4 threads bundled together (in the warp 1 each of “almond”, “raffia”, “rosebud” and “peony” – light neutrals and pinks). The weft was also all bendigo 2 ply, but lots of combinations of darks bundled, and different lights at different times.

The pattern  is the same on the back, but the negative image (ie lights and darks swapped). I wanted a nice soft draping scarf, so sett at 18 epi (where “end” is the individual threads of 2 ply – effectively 3 sets of “thin, thick, thin” per inch). Liz’s notes suggest denting a full three thread sequence together if possible. I had a 12 dent reed on the table loom, so I used 4 dents per set – a thin on its own, 2 together (half of the “thick”), 2 together (half of the “thick”), a thin on its own.  I think the result is exactly right – very soft and cushiony.

Although you have to fiddle with the 2 shafts, working with the thicker yarns meant the weaving was very quick. It’s effectively plain weave so you don’t have to do anything special for the selvedges, although the thicker yarn did give a rather nice scalloped effect.  After finishing I had shrinkage of 7 % in length and 11% in width.

Another nice thing about diversified plain weave is that every extra shaft you have gives you a bigger grid to design in. Shafts 1 and 2 look after the thin plain weave. If you have 8 shafts, you have a 6 x 6 design area. My floor loom has 24 shafts, so I could have a 22 x 22 grid design area.

Altogether a fast and fun weave, and something I’d like to explore more some time.

On this section the "dark" weft bundle was too great a contrast to the "dark" thin warp - though I still like it!

On this section the "dark" weft bundle was too great a contrast to the "dark" thin warp - though I still like it!

diversified6diversified7Sorry about the very ordinary photos –  a combination of a borrowed camera I’m not familiar with since mine has died (sigh), plus fading afternoon light.

Currently on the loom…

freestylerosepath… freestyle rosepath.

I guess that’s not its proper name, but then it’s not about “proper” weaving. Influenced by what I’ve read about Saori weaving, but on a rosepath threading and a mixture of plain weave and rosepath during weaving, some clasped weft in both. Warp cottolin, weft all sorts – a lot of it silk I’ve dyed in the past both yarns and fabrics torn into strips, plus thrums, some tied together with tufts waving. Intended to become a bag à la Doni’s Delis.

A great project to get back into weaving after a long dry spell with neither time nor headspace for creative pursuits.

It’s good to be back.


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October 2009

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