Advancing Twill silk bookmarks

“Advancing twills are another name for “skip” twills… they are wonderful design tools for creating large patterns.” (class notes from Liz Calnan).

Earlier this year the weaving class worked on advancing twills. Liz took us through a series of exercises on paper.

20091103_draftLooking at this threading example (right to left), there is a run of 5 threads using shafts 1 to 5, then another run of 5 starting 1 shaft up, 2 to 6, then another run and so on until it repeats. So that’s a 5 end block, left twill, advance 1. We tried varying the number of ends per block, left or right twill, and advance. Some combinations don’t work – a simple example being a 4 end block, advance 4. You’d never use the other 4 shafts. Liz also advised us to choose a combination that works for plain weave for more colour combinations when weaving – warp dominant, weft dominant or mixed.

20091103_tieupNext design choice is tieup. Liz’s tip here is to restrict the length of the float to one less than the number in the run, to avoid huge floats in the weaving. She also suggested we try part of the tieup upturned, giving areas of left hand twill and right hand twill for more interest in the cloth.

Treadling can be as drawn in, or straight or … well, best to try things out and see (preferably on the computer!). Just remember to check regularly for floats on front and back.

I went into more detail in drafts 1 and 2 of this post – both eaten by the technology in different ways (and different levels of user clumsy fingers). So if you want something on expanding the threading and transition ends, leave a comment and I can try again another day.

20091103_bookmarks1Faced with all these design possibilities … I opened a book! The best of Weaver’s Twill Thrills which has Doramay Keasbey’s article frost crystals in twill. I used one repeat of her threading, with just a little sateen threading at the sides. Silk bookmarks in 20/2 silk, the weft various colours I’ve dyed in the past.

I really didn’t enjoy this weave. Liz had kindly lent me a Padget 8 shaft table loom which had recently been refurbished – it and I just didn’t get on.

20091103_bookmarks2Another shot of the bookmarks (sorry about the dull and inaccurate colour) shows the results of problem 1. The cloth beam is varnished and my ties kept slipping when I tried to put any tension on the loom. The bookmark on the right was the first woven. It has an extra repeat and is still very short (and thick and ridged). I cut it off and used some rug grip around the cloth beam which solved the slippage, but still found I was unable to get into a comfortable rhythm. I think partly it was the arrangement of the levers to lift the shafts (not what I was used to), partly I was unhappy with the sett I’d chosen especially at the selvedges, my variable beat, and just lots of other little niggles.

20091103_bookmarks3

Closeup of bookmark #1, in all its ridge-y glory!

I’d planned a dozen bookmarks as gifts and a couple went quickly, before I took the photos. These ones are “resting” in a folder – I’m not at the stage I could give them away without fussy apologies. I think I could do better. The last few were never woven – life is too short and weaving time too precious to stick with something that just isn’t working. There are lots more possibilities out there!

4 Responses to “Advancing Twill silk bookmarks”


  1. 1 trapunto November 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    These are darling. I don’t think anyone but weavers see selvedge! Or variable beats for that matter. The advancing twill patterns look really pretty in a narrow widths.

    • 2 fibresofbeing November 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks Trapunto.
      Sometimes it can be hard to know when one is being precious or pernickety. I guess I was distracted and hurried and know I wasn’t working at my best. … I suppose that’s the difference – if I did the best I could at the time it might be OK. I’d like to think I can do better 🙂

  2. 3 Life Looms Large November 11, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for the good explanation of advancing twill.

    Bookmarks are a great idea. I’m hoping to make some to give at Christmas…but hoping hasn’t turned into designing yet. (Other projects are ahead of them in the queue.)

    From here, the bookmarks look good. My friends would be happy if I wove them something like that!

    Weaving a complicated treadling on a table loom – I don’t know if I’d have it in me!!! I just can’t get into a good rhythm on a table loom.

    Sue


  1. 1 Shimmering surfaces « Fibres of Being Trackback on November 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm

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