Archive for the '8 shafts' Category

2 questions + P2P2 round 2 update

First a couple of questions.

Do you know anything about the Open College of the Arts BA Textiles degree? A friend has been researching textile courses for a while and we’ve both got excited about this one. I’ve looked through OCA website, plus found quite a few “learning log” blogs of current students – http://ocacreativeartsjourney.wordpress.com/ is a good place to start since she has links to other students in addition to her own work. I’d love to learn more about the course and peoples’ experiences with OCA, so please leave a comment.

The second question was left in a comment from Isa Vogle: “Please, I am wondering if you or anyone else knows how to put short z-spun singles on a sectional loom not using a tension box. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Isa” I don’t know the background of the various constraints Isa is facing (other equipment available, width of warp etc) and have never tried anything like this, but it sounds like a potential world of pain to me. I think you’d need a nice long leader to attach to, or maybe tie onto a ghost warp? Plus there could be challenges relating to the amount of twist/energy in the singles, avoiding tangles and/or the yarn simply falling apart. Any other ideas for Isa?

Finally a brief update on P2P2. I’ve started a sample using some of the ideas from here. I came up with a threading on 8 shafts which I thought would give me the plain weave background and some options in the positioning of the floats that allow movement. It was immediately obvious that I had no idea what I was doing and the threading was rubbish (well, the plain weave base worked)! Fortunately my good friend the pickup stick has helped enormously and I think I have the hang of it, with the bonus of lots of flexibility. The proof will be in the wet finishing.

Fake ikat scarf

Last week’s ?? warp is now a not quite finished scarf (slightly damp, fringes to twist) and I’m very happy with the result.

With such stretchy yarn I took the standard weight off the back beam tensioning lever (thingy – too lazy to look up the correct name) and used a much lighter fishing weight. Using the avl warping wheel to get an ikat-ish effect in the warp worked well enough for me. There’s a lot of shifting around (I suspect I didn’t identify the repeat plus there was variability through the skein of hand-dyed yarn), but enough blocks of colour to give the desired result overall.

After washing my sample of 9 potential wefts I was surprised by my final choice – “sweet pea”, which I would describe as a fuschia. The purple which was my favourite on the loom drabbed down the shifting colour stripes and didn’t add anything to the purple stripes. The brighter colour gave a spark and warmth to both. The texture given by the twill also suits my taste. It’s more visible at a medium distance than I anticipated – I thought it would be a kind of extra as you got close – but I like that colour isn’t the whole thing. The twill also gives a wobbly edge to the stripes and the whole scarf, which appeals to me.

Overall a good result, lots of lessons learnt and lots of leads for future exploration.

On a related note, this week my copy of A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color with Laura Bryant arrived. I’ve watched it all once and will be watching again. I always like reading and learning more about colour, and to have a weaver’s presentation is a real bonus. Her own work is amazing – complex double weave with very complex colour.

Sampling supplementary warp

This title brings an unrelated-to-weaving smile. I had years of elocution lessons – “six silly swans swimming in the snow” and my husband can still judge my tiredness by the amount of lisp…

Focus. Yes. (now everything has an ess, and this was not deliberate).

Ahem. (OK. better.)

I’ve spent some time the last few days seeing if my bus inspiration actually holds water – will the design be readable and will the cloth drape for a scarf?

Here’s version 1 on the loom. Base warp is 20/2 silk. Supplementary warp a silk merino 2 ply, 650m/100g (the supplier closed her small dyeing business a while back). Sett 40 ends per inch (20 of each warp type), except in the selvedge area and breaks between pattern areas. The threading is pretty much the original idea seen at the bottom here, but with variations on the number of supplementary threads per block. From left to right I tried 3, 4, 5 and 1 threads. Weft was 20/2 silk. I didn’t pay much attention to picks per inch – just standard comfortable not light or heavy. As I was weaving I tried a few different numbers of repeats/length of warp floats.

Version 2 had warp unchanged, but 60/2 silk for weft.

Here are versions 3 (at bottom) and 4 on the loom. I resleyed to 30 ends per inch – 15 background warp plus 15 supplementary. I also added some undyed merino-silk to the selvedge/pattern break areas, so they would feel more consistent with the rest of the cloth and cope better with the more open sett. I made a major hash of this, threading the new warp ends in with the same heddles as the base cloth. Plus the back of the loom became a rats nest as my supplementary warp got short (I was using thrums from Geoff’s scarf). Not a pretty sight (the camera seems to agree – the colour went very odd).

I kept to the 20/2 silk for weft, but tried both my default beat (which worked out around 17 picks per inch) and a deliberately light beat towards the end (around 11 picks per inch on the loom).

The washed and pressed samples together – left to right samples, 1, 2, then 4 above 3.

All have good definition of the design, with the brown float/white background/mixed plain weave areas clear, even in the unpleasantly sleazy sample 4.

The big issue was getting a nice scarf drape. I really like the final sample 1 cloth, but it’s too firm for the purpose. I’d like to return to it another time, maybe as part of a light jacket (the patterning could be a bit strong all over).

Sample 2 draped a little better, but not enough plus I think the finer silk brings a slight harshness.

Jumping to sample 4, this actually feels nice but is crazy-sleazy.

So, we have a winner. Cue close up of sample 3. Overlook the fact that end-of -warp issues have introduced a few oddities. The drape and hand are nice, and (I hope!) suitable if not perfect for a scarf. The floats cover the background quite well. There is some deflection of the warp and weft around the background areas. I rather like the irregularities – not sure how much will be in the final, given a better tensioned warp. In any case the pattern is quite distinct (it’s not any actual bellringing method, just playing around).

Colours are chosen, so the next step is calculations of lengths and weights for dyeing.

Colour gamp shawl finished!

It’s done – 66 x 252 cm finished and hemmed (around 26 x 99 inches)! That’s one big piece of cloth to call a “shawl”, so it’s lucky I’m on the tall side.

Seen flat it doesn’t work for me – it looks like a picnic table cloth!. In a jumble or draped on a person it looks more interesting. That’s basically because I was focusing on its future use as a referencing and design tool, at the expense of the design of the particular piece itself.

Of the 63 colours dyed, seen here, 62 are used in the shawl (oops!!). There are 30 warp colours and 45 weft colours, including 13 colours in both warp and weft. That’s 1,350 colour combinations (possibly 1,194 after subtracting the duplicates if I’ve got the sum right) from the original 3 dye colours used.

At the detail level I find it fascinating. My original goal was to explore the different effects available by mixing colours in the dye versus optical colour mixing in the cloth. I think it’s going to take a long time to explore the answer(s), plus how far they can be generalised. For example, I find myself drawn to the chromatic neutrals (subdued almost greys, the result of including all 3 dye colours). I think they are beautiful in themselves plus work very well as a unifying and enhancing element as weft across a wide range of warp colours – which could probably be predicted, given the shared dye colour “parentage”. I wonder how far I can take that with a different range of original dye colours.

Some detail shots to finish. Regard the colour on your monitor as indicative only. I haven’t played with the colour in the software at all, but I’m seeing the photos on 2 screens at once (laptop plus a separate screen), and the colours displayed are quite different – rather a jarring effect.

Related posts:

Work in progress 2: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/inching-forward/

Work in progress 1: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/sweaty-palms/

colours and sample: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/first-things-first/

draft: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/progress-on-the-plan/

Inching forward

Progress on the huck texture shawl feels slow and fast at the same time. The picture shows a few reasons:

* changing weft colour every 45 picks. This is s-l-o-o-o-w;

* my “temple/stretcher” setup. I don’t have a temple big enough for the width (73 cm / 28.75 inches in the reed). I came up with a variant of an idea I first saw on Sandra Rude’s blog (sorry, can’t find the particular post just now), but instead of alligator clips I used some silk stretching claws I got from Batik Oetoro when I was doing silk painting. The result is effective, uses materials I had at hand, didn’t require any modification to the loom (hooks etc) … but slow to move on.

* stick shuttle. Super slow. This one is cringe-worthy, but I simply don’t have the throwing skills with my boat shuttles to get across the width. Yes, I need to develop the skills, and no, this is not the project to learn on. A positive point is that I can count the number of turns while I wind onto the shuttle and minimise wastage .

The fast part is that the weaving progresses smoothly, I enjoy handling the silk, and it is endlessly interesting to see all the colour combinations coming up. The second photo was taken at the same time, but a bit to the left. Same wefts showing, but a different effect with every warp stripe. I put the camera away and moments later was thinking how lovely the wefts looked on the left hand side (the bordeaux/violet mixes) and that I should get a shot of them. Then the next weft started – even more beautiful!

Fast or slow, I’ve given myself a deadline on this. One of my brothers is Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths (a bellringing group established in 1637, I just saw on their website)  – not relevant to me and my textile world except that he’s in Australia on a tour with them and we have a big family get-together next weekend. Obviously I need a lovely new textile to show off and maintain at least some balance in the sibling rivalry stakes!

[edited to add – brother Phil was enormously keen about the conversion to metric measures which took place in Australia while we were kids at home. He put up signs all around the house such as one next to the heater where my sister’s cat camped all winter: “Sooty weighs 5 kilograms”. Even overlooking this post’s title, I can’t figure if he would disapprove or be amused by the mixed up weaving world where I change from using inches to centimetres depending on whether I’m measuring width or length of a piece.]

Sweaty palms

Charming title, eh? I’ll get to that in a moment.

The huck silk warp is on the loom. I’ve found one sleying error (which was an easy fix) and everything else is looking OK. I had some trouble with the warp twisting and am a bit worried about how the tension will hold up, but not worried enough to feel the need to do something about it. (famous last words??)

I used 30 colours in the warp, in a variety of depths of shade. Going from right to left:

section 1 moves from pure violet to pure yellow;

section 2 moves from pure yellow to pure bordeaux;

section 3 goes through the “inner triangle” with varying proportions of all 3 dyes;

section 4 is the steps between bordeaux to violet without actually including the pure colours (since they’re already in the warp).

The weft plan is to go through the same sequence twice, with a few repeats but mostly different depths of shade. The end piece should have all 63 colours included.

The sweaty palms are both literal and metaphorical. Literal because it’s hot – I just checked a weather site and it’s currently 40.5 degrees celsius (104.9 F). I have a ceiling fan but no air-conditioning. The computer driving my loom is being a bit skittish with random reboots and I’m keeping to short bursts so as not to overheat the control box (or the controller – me!). The metaphorical sweat is nerves – this is the widest warp I’ve ever attempted and I’ve invested a fair bit of time in the dyeing and preparation; so far my throwing of the boat shuttle is just not doing the job so I’ve resorted to a stick shuttle – effective but not efficient or a good way forward. I can’t find the source, but I’m sure it was Syne Mitchell who wrote about learning outcomes being a weaver, not a piece of cloth – and after all the original question/concept was learning about colour interactions, not wanting a particular fabric. It also helps in my head if I call it “fear of learning” – much more scarey and unacceptable than “fear of failure”.

So the plan is one small step at a time, keep my cool, enjoy learning and improving.

Related posts:

colours and sample: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/first-things-first/

draft: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/progress-on-the-plan/

Imagery in Woven Fabric – Kay Faulkner

What a fabulous week at the Textile Fibre Forum in Orange! I’m finding it hard to write without excited, incoherent and somewhat embarrassing burbling.  I enjoyed Kay Faulkner’s teaching – she encouraged, led and supported, but made us think for ourselves – and the interaction with the other 9 students was great. The actual material covered… at one moment on Thursday morning (I think) I felt like a doorway had opened in my mind and there was a dazzling blaze of light and possibilities ahead that will take a long, long time to explore. Since then there’s been a series of flashbulbs going off in my head as I begin integrating the new information with the solid foundation of theory and structure that I’ve gained from the weekly guild classes with Liz Calnan. (an aside – hearing the experience of others in the Forum class who work and learn in isolation, I have a new appreciation of how lucky I am to have easy access to the Guild, Liz’s teaching and the camaraderie of my weaving class.) (second aside – yes, I am jotting down notes in the hope of coming back to some of these ideas in the future).

Each morning Kay presented us with some theory and design exercises. Afternoons were spent weaving, using a variety of weave structures and pick up techniques to produce images in cloth. We worked on the elements of design (point, line, shape, space, texture and colour), design development and refinement, design principles (unity, balance, rhythm, emphasis, proportion and scale), design units, building blocks and working to a theme. We wove on a straight or “universal” threading, and also looked at how to blend drafts to combine two independent weave structures.

Since getting home I’ve wet-finished my 14 samples and put together pages in my workbook. Here’s a selection of pages.

This page shows the progression of the first design exercise. Kay asked us to use our initial(s) to as a starting point in a design. Constraints were that it should result in a 4 inch /10 cm, not too complex design.

We were asked to work quickly, building and developing from one possibility to the next. That photo on the top right was actually an A3 page.

The end result was transferred to graph paper at the required dimensions, then transferred onto woven interfacing. The interfacing was pinned under the warp as we wove samples, acting as a template. The various lines help keep distortion under control.

This sample used the structure of summer and winter to render the design. (You can click on the photos to see a larger version). As I mentioned above we used a “universal” straight threading that could produce a range of weave structures. This post on waffle weave gives the idea.

In summer and winter you weave tabby pick, then pattern pick, tabby then pattern. Two threads in each repeat of threading are used to tie down the pattern weft.

In the summer and winter towels I wove last year (blogged here) the areas of pattern were controlled by the loom, with multiple blocks threaded – and the effect was, indeed, very blocky. Kay taught us to select the areas to show pattern using a pickup stick. Once you get into the rhythm it goes fairly easily, and it certainly opens up all sorts of possibilities for producing imagery without wanting more and more shafts. I think I’m right in saying this design and much more complicated could be produced on 3 shafts, if you were prepared to invest the time.

Unfortunately the weaving in this sample is ordinary at best, but I found the idea behind this amazing. It’s Tejido Holandes – dutch inlay – and is a combination of plain weave and twill. Click on the photo, and hopefully you’ll be able to read the description of how it’s done.

The sequence of samples Kay gave us was so helpful in seeing structural connections. Summer and winter uses two tie down threads and a tabby. Taquete uses two tie downs, no tabby and a kind of weaving on opposites. Half satin uses three tie down threads and a tabby. Samitum uses three tie down threads, no tabby and weaving on opposites. Quigley uses four tie down threads… How logical is that? (apart from the naming, which seems pretty random!)

A final selection. We were asked to develop a pattern that would repeat with smooth joins horizontally and vertically. We made then made a stencil and tried it out in various combinations. We took one print from the stencil and used it for a lift plan. The possibilities went on and on. It was really interesting to see the different results everyone in the class got as they worked through the exercise.

There was lots more – 5 days of class and months to come completing and re-doing exercises, experimenting with the structures… I’ve got some wild ideas about combining Theo Morman and double weave, which may or may not see the light of day.

Many, many thanks to Kay and everyone in the class. Forum is always a stimulating week, but this went way beyond. I wish everyone could have such an experience! (I’m pretty sure Kay could be persuaded to travel… 😉 )


Instagram

Germination II
In Basketry NSW Transformation exhibition Sunday 2 July. More info fibresofbeing.wordpress.com

Calendar of Posts

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Archives

Categories