Inspiration strikes on the bus?

Time to be working on a new project, and I’ve had a half baked something in my head for a while. I wanted:

* a pattern based on bellringing

* 12 “bells” – so 12 blocks plus edge treatment

* able to show the path of one “working” bell, plus if possible the “hunt” bell. The picture on the right gives the idea (this pattern is part of “Bristol Surprise Maximus”, and the diagram was created using The red “hunt” bell line follows a very regular pattern, jagging from left to right and back. The blue “working” bell is irregular.

* a nicely draping scarf, based on 20/2 silk.

* as few shafts as possible – limited to 24, since that’s what I have.

* preferably a one shuttle weave.

I’ve woven “bellringing” in a number of structures before. Huck gave me lace for the working bell, plain weave for the hunt bell and huck texture for the rest, but would need 26 shafts for 12 bells. Summer and winter in cottolin with two pattern wefts worked well with towels, but I wasn’t keen on the 3 shuttles and wondering about drape-ability. I’ve also woven with a variant of overshot (blogged at the end of this post) – maybe, but I’m not feeling it.

I’ve been playing in fibreworks PCW and reading The Best of Weaver’s: Summer & Winter Plus and a whole lot of other reference, playing with multishaft overshot, summer and winter, turned drafts… Ringing methods have a very predictable pattern in the sense of moving from block to block, which I thought could give me some flexibility, maybe stretch or break a few normal structural rules…

This explanation is so long!! And the idea was so fast and I think may work. If I have a base weave (say blue 20/2 silk plain weave and supplementary warps (say a nice plump merino/silk in red), then I can have 3 colours in an area.

This is a quick trial in fibreworks – 6 bells so I can sample on my 8 shaft loom. This is “Cambridge Minor” (I now realise a confusing change of colours to blue for hunt bell and red for working bell).

* floated supplementary warps on top (red)

* floated supplementary wefts on bottom (so background blue on top)

* supplementary warp woven in – call it purple.

I’d need 2 shafts for the plain weave plus 1 for each bell position. In the trial I mirrored the method across the warp, just for a better visual balance.

Next step is sampling yarns and sett to get enough differentiation of colour and a nice drape. I’ll have to consider different takeup of the warps – both the supplementary and the base at the edges. There are also float length and block width decisions………


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February 2011

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