Archive for the '24 shafts' Category

Bristol Maximus in Supplementary Warp

This has been a long time coming.

Back in February inspiration struck – could I represent complex bellringing methods using supplementary warp floats?

I did some sampling – the idea held some promise if only I could get the right sett. Advice from Liz and the weaving group was very welcome.

In March I was dyeing yarn, then redyeing!

Next step was warping using my new AVL warping wheel. It went very smoothly, onto the sectional beam for the ground warp and the plain beam for the supplementary. Tension held nice and even throughout weaving 🙂

However the weaving didn’t go well. The first few centimetres looked streaky, obscuring the patterning.

Weeks passed, some pleasant (Forum in Orange), some less so (virus in tummy). Finally I bit the bullet, and on Monday unwove all that had been done and resleyed.

Weaving restarted, all looked well – until I realised I had mucked up the ringing pattern.

Deep breaths.




There is still some streakiness, but the patterning is clear and readable  (I tested it on the other ringers this morning). The hand and drape of the cloth is good and with finished measurements 184 by 19.5 cm plus fringe it’s a great weight and size to wrap around the neck in Sydney’s autumn.

I was able to include 4 leads of Bristol Maximus – a ringing pattern with 12 bells. The brown ground cloth squares show the path of the treble (highest note) – it follows a path ringing first, then 2nd, then first, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th etc, forming a jagged but regular line going from 1st to 12th and back 4 times. The blue supplementary warp float blocks show the path of one other bell – it could be any of the other 11 bells since they all follow the same Bristol Maximus pattern, just starting at different points (it’s a bit like 4 people singing “row row row your boat” in rounds). If you’re a ringer and the photo doesn’t quite look right, the pattern is mirrored and doesn’t start exactly at a lead end.

After all the palaver it was pleasant to weave. I did some experiments at the end of the warp to see if I could further reduce the streakiness and did manage to get improvements, but only with a lot of fuss lifting and manually clearing sheds that I didn’t actually weave in order to keep the ground and supplementary warps in proper alignment. Given I like the final scarf, the cost/benefit of the extra fussing isn’t worth it. Maybe playing around with reed size and denting would be useful if I revisit this.

Denting issues

I got the warp on – all seemed to go well. Wove a few test centimetres to check threading. It looked OK, but somehow a bit streaky. The pattern definition wasn’t as good as in my samples. Perhaps it was the closer values of the foreground and background colours. Obviously the sett had changed – the samples were 40 and 30 epi, with the new reed I had changed to 36 epi.

The photo shows where I stopped, while partway through hemstitching. Clicking will get the larger version, and I’ve arrowed the two single blue ends which outline the edges at the pattern reversal. The one one the right shows clearly. The one on the left is almost completely obscured. Plus there’s a general streaky and lumpy effect going on.

I’m using a 12 dent per inch reed and each of my warps (ground and supplementary) is 18 ends per inch. The ground is plain weave on shafts 1 and 2. The supplementary is on shafts 3 to 15, but in the area arrowed they are all on shaft 3. All the supplementary ends lift with shaft 1, unless they are involved in one of the float areas.

Sometimes figuring things out in weaving does my head in, and after stomping around the house a while I decided to post about it – partly for advice, partly because just sorting out the question can help find answers (I tend to see this blog as my work diary, which happens to be public and occasionally of interest to others – though I’d be surprised if anyone gets this far!).  The incomprehensible sketch (playing with yet another new toy, a wacom bamboo tablet) helped me see the problem. The ground warp is 18 epi in a 12 dent reed, so 2 ends in one dent, 1 in the next etc. The supplementary warp is 18 epi, so 2 ends in one dent, 1 in the next. The way I’d done the two warps I ended with a total of 4 ends in one dent, 2 in the next. So there’s some lumpiness!

So I could redent to even it out with 3 ends per dent – 2 ground + 1 supplementary in one dent, 1 ground + 2 supplementary in the next. I suspect this will help, but not solve my problem. The threading has ground ends alternating with supplementary ends – eg 1 3 2 3 1 3 2 3 1 3 2 3 (1 and 2 ground, 3 supplementary). That is, the supplementary ends sit either side of the ends on shaft 1, rise and fall with it, and are sometimes dented with it. So I think it’s in the nature of things that they won’t necessarily sit nicely side by side. The current craming isn’t helping.

If I had an 18 epi reed I could dent: 1 in one dent, 3-2-3 in the next etc, and overall maintain my 18 epi per warp (the ground warp 1 end per dent, the supplementary 2 ends every second dent). But I don’t. And I’m now in frugal mode (all those new toys to pay for), even if such a fine reed is available and such spacing didn’t give me warp abrasion problems.


The post that got away

Last week’s post didn’t happen. It was a distraction from the weaving that wasn’t happening, but I was waiting for some brighter weather to take (distracting!) photos. Being in a frugal phase I now offer last week…

Here’s some impressive weaving I noticed recently – a building facade, part of the revamped Centrepoint Tower building in Sydney. The artwork is by Dani Marti, who created a woven rope sculpture which was then cast in glass-reinforced concrete. There are some more photos and information here (click on “Construction” at the bottom to see the original work) and here. I haven’t been able to find out anything about the patterned glass canopy, but to me it looks a bit like a weaving drawdown. (photo to come??? – in the meantime check the links – I think they’re worth it.)

On the home front, there’s nothing going on with the supplementary warp project – the new reed is still on its way, the new warp is still damp. While waiting I’ve been doing some dabbling.

First up was braiding or kumihimo, using a beginner’s marudai I got secondhand from the guild shop. I’m happily improvising the rest of the equipment while I try out this craft.

Photo shows marudai (the stand that holds the braid while you are working), the improvised tama (weighted bobbins) and my first two braids. For more photos and info see wikipedia. The teal warp-faced weave is my backstrap attempt.

I’ve also been played with backstrap weaving, following Laverne Waddington‘s brilliant instructions. So far I’m only partway through step one – backstrap basics on WeaveZine, but at least I have the satisfaction that despite significant tension issues the second half of my first weaving was much better than the first (which does set the bar very low indeed!).

Now fast-forwarding to today’s exciting episode…

In the last few days the sun has come out, the dyed warp has dried, the new reed has arrived (I’m very happy with the service from Luke at Independent Reed Co – no website but email indreed at bigpond dot com dot au.)

Yesterday I wound the dry silk/merino supplementary warp, using the AVL warping wheel and chaining off the sections so I could put it on the second back beam. The winding went well, the beaming got ugly at times – but it’s done.

The photo on the left shows the two warps, the silk for the ground cloth on the sectional beam, the silk/merino on the plain warp beam which is a bit lower. I’ve only used the second beam once before, for the deflected double weave scarf, when I made a total hash of it – hopefully this will weave up more easily.

I’m currently threading and so far it is going better than I expected. I’ve put the two warps on separate lease sticks, one set hung high, one low behind the heddles.

Working from the front, it is not too bad to reach both warps and select the alternating ends I need. With recent projects I’ve become much more careful of counting out the heddles I’ll need, moving un-needed ones out of the way, and pulling out sets of threads and heddles to work with. It seems to keep me more accurate, giving additional check points along the way. Just hope writing this doesn’t jinx me!

Oatmeal, dice and texture

I had an extra week off work after the workshop with Kay Faulkner, so caught up on some year 2 classwork from Liz Calnan – oatmeal and dice weaves.

Oatmeal weaves have a small overall pattern giving a textured, uniform effect without any stand-out features. It is also called crepe  (not the kind that uses highly twisted yarns). I used the end of my waffle warp, a straight threading on 24 shafts in cottolin, for my samples.

I experimented with lots of different colours for weft, so it looks a bit muddled. I’m also working on ways to keep track of what is on a sampler – so each section has a little hangtag with a printout of the liftplan (which look repeated since they are basically 8 shaft weaves, but I used a 24 shaft threading).

This detail of the first section shows that it is a combination of warp and weft faced twills. 3/1 and 1/3 twills are combined in a grid. There is a “cut” between each of the quarters, horizontally and vertically – warp and weft swap face of the fabric going from one quarter to the next.

Sorry about the dubious quality / colour of some photos – I have a new camera, and yet another learning curve!

Given I had 24 shafts to play with, I tried combining a couple of dice weaves. The purple section just above centre has 3 dice weaves side by side, progressing to the right in each repeat. It creates a general busyness with a subdued diagonal which I find interesting. Below that in a reddish weft is two dice weaves with a fiddled bit between to make them fit.

Towards the bottom in purple weft is a dice weave. In theory it should be a checker board of squares, but I wasn’t paying attention to my beat or picks per inch. In a dice weave there are warp and weft faced blocks of equal size. A similar idea in structure to the oatmeal, but at a different scale.

The dice weaves I tried just didn’t thrill. I don’t know if it was the scale or that I couldn’t get an image of how I might use them, but after a little play around and with an eye on the amount of warp left I moved on.

When working on waffle weave the class had got interested in texture weaves generally. We all spent some time looking through books for examples, and Liz in particular turned up a goldmine in a book by Doramay Keasbey. The photo above has some initial samples – only drafts that I could map to a straight 24 threading.

Arriving at the end of the warp I decided to tie a short warp onto just shafts 1 to 16. After resleying this gave me a lot more possibilities. A bonus was that I moved to simpler wide stripes of blue with the idea that the colour variations could suit texture weaves. Actually, this colour choice was both challenging and exciting. My school’s colours were “blue and blue” – roughly navy and sky blue. I almost never use straight blues. Add in some turquoise or a dash of purple and I’m there, maybe. Just blue – so flat and dull!

I’m so proud of myself 😉 ! The weaving was fun and I really like the results. I think this post has gone on long enough, so I’ll finish with some images (warp running horizontally). This nicely gets around the question of when and how I will use any of oatmeal, dice or texture again. The samplers will join the pile of future possibilities – we’re already on to the next topic in class.


These beautiful, wriggly, squishy waffles are around 1.75 cm or 0.6 inches across. The cloth is just as thick!

When the first row was woven, on the loom and under tension, you could see the 3D starting to happen. After machine washing and tumble dry – amazing, beautiful, totally impractical. One day I will find the right yarn and the right purpose to make this work.

So, this is my week 2 report for virtual weaving class. I wrote about planning the waffle weave sampler last week. Obviously the first section has been woven, cut off and wet finished.

As I described earlier, having a straight threading on 24 shafts gave me lots of options. This first section has waffles on the equivalents of 4, 5, 7, 9 and 13 shaft pointed threadings. Hopefully you can see the increasing texture, increasing cloth thickness and decreasing cloth width as the waffles get larger.

In the end I didn’t do much colour play with the weft. A lot of my attention was on the loom itself. I’ve had trouble in the past with incorrect lifts or shafts dropping, so it was a calculated risk to use all 24 shafts. As it turned out, some sections of design were really helpful in showing the pattern of problems. I found a number of ways to do finetuning and I think it’s just about there. By the end I was very happy with the loom’s performance.

Another big waffle photo 🙂

This has a plastic bobbin for scale (maybe the 1 inch grid on the cutting mat is more helpful). At the top is a “fancier” waffle. It’s the top section from this draft I showed last week. It’s an effective 13 shaft pointed threading, the same as the deep waffles below it. The addition of areas of plain weave  make a huge difference.

Here’s another mixture combining plain and waffle weave. This was inspired by weave #519 in A Weaver’s book of 8-shaft patterns edited by Carol Strickler. I wasn’t able to map the threading directly, so had some fun playing in the software to get a result along the same lines. My final version is the 3rd from the top in the section of draft above. I’m pretty chuffed with the result.

The front and back can look quite different. This is the bottom section in the draft shown above. I started using the same colour weft, but quickly changed to a contrast colour to allow the pattern to show. I’m not sure about this pattern. The top/front has a strong horizontal element which doesn’t appeal the me. The bottom/back I like better, but probably not enough to use any time soon.

A final photo, this time of a section I think does have potential.

In our last class meeting we speculated about the use of bands of waffle and plain weave, especially given the different amounts of dimensional change when the cloth is finished. I like the scalloped edges, perhaps at the ends of a scarf. Verticle stripes of waffle with plain or basket weave could also work. (right at the top of the sample is a bit of basket weave).

I won’t have a virtual class posting next week – I’ll be in a week-long class at a Tafta ForumImagery in Cloth with Kay Faulkner!

Virtual class

Term 1 of weaving class at the Guild has finished and we have a few weeks holiday. We decided to keep in touch with a weekly “virtual class” in the hopes we’ll all be weaving at least a little throughout. Classmate Martin has already blogged about his waffle weave plans here (I don’t think any of the others keep blogs).

My holiday project is a “super sampler” which I can use to play with waffle, oatmeal and dice weaves. I’m using 22/2 Cottolin, 26 epi, straight threading on 24 shafts so I’ll also get practise with design and shaft substitution. The right hand side is stripes that I’m hoping will work well with at least some sizes of waffle. On the left the colours are pretty much random, and the centre is plain. You can see progress is limited to date – I managed to injure my ankle slightly somehow over the weekend and am waiting for the swelling to subside.

This has the benefit of more design time. Our teacher, Liz Calnan, often highlights ways to improve efficiency – one tip being that if you have a loom with lots of shafts you can reduce time and errors getting a warp on and maximise flexibility  by tieing on to a straight threading. By chance yesterday Fern posted here about the benefits of going the other way!

For example, on a straight 24 threading I can weave a design for a 5 shaft pointed threading. A down side is more (heavier) lifting. If the tieup/lift includes shaft 1, I need to lift all the shafts in columns with a 1 – so 1, 9, 17. If it includes shaft 2, I need to lift 2, 8, 10, 16, 18, 24. You can see why I’m waiting for my ankle to heal!

The plus side is that a single threading allows weaving designs on straight threadings for 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 24 shafts, plus pointed threadings on 4, 5, 7 and 24 shafts. If something doesn’t fit neatly I can play around and try to get the “flavour” of it, or combine 2 designs or…

The 23 thread float in the “basic” 24 shaft waffle may be a little impractical at 26 epi – but it’s one of the possibilities and I may give it a go just for a sense of completeness.

I’ve got quite a bit more prepared – some from Liz’s notes and various weaving books, some from sitting and playing in the software. I sure hope I can spend time at the loom over the long weekend.


The “tangle waiting to happen” in my post here never eventuated. The cottolin behaved beautifully and my first attempt at tieing on a warp went smoothly – the sort of thing you hope for, but rather a surprise if it actually happens!

The plan was another bellringing huck lace scarf. The last one used two very similar colours for warp and weft (same link) so this time I decided to try for a bit more contrast with a golden-green weft.  Green and gold are Australia’s national colours, so I stuck to the theme and did some research to find “Wattle Surprise Major” – wattle being our national flower, and of course green and gold. I was a bit worried the final result would be a bit too “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” (I feel enormously proud and lucky to be Australian, but don’t see the need for overt patriotism or saccarine sentimentality).

I love the result, and there’s not a whiff of Oi! or syrup about it.

Having colours with more contrast leads to a much more pronounced difference in colour front and back. Add in the variations of plain weave, spots and full lace and the fabric has a lot of visual interest when worn. (Unfortunately summer has definitely arrived, and the scarf won’t be getting any wear for a while.)

The actual weaving was a real pleasure. I’m still using the “double treadle” workaround, but my footwork continues to improve and I had very few clatters of half-lifted shafts. The key is to lift my foot off the treadle, not let the foot ride up.

Another improvement I’m pleased about was in weave file preparation. I was finding it very fiddley to edit the weave draft in fiberworks. Instead I took the wif file from the Killamarsh scarf, and used an excel spreadsheet and a series of lookups and if statements to generate a new Wattle wif. I don’t think there’s a lot of demand in the world for a “huck lace bellringing method weave draft generator” – but if there is they’ll be beating a path to my door!


The 3 brothers afterwards.

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