Archive for the 'Rosepath' Category

Rosepath revisited

A friend recently asked for some info on the “freestyle rosepath” I’ve done. (Hi Fliss!) Which has spurred me on to document some weaving I actually finished back in the summer holidays.

This is intended to become a bag, a gift for someone who suggested “hydrangeas” as a colour reference. I missed Christmas (oops), then thought that maybe the simple shoulder bag style might not work well for the recipient. So the length is still waiting patiently for plan whatever-letter-I’m-up-to (subject of the next post, maybe).

Threading: What I know as “Rosepath”, though there may be other names (or other things with the same name!). This snapshot from fiberworks PCW shows the draft. I think a floating selvedge helps.

Warp: 2/22 cottolin (60% cotton, 40% linen), sett 18 ends per inch. In other projects I’ve used stripes, but this time I wanted to suggest light and shadow flickering in a spring garden so I did a lot of swapping colours in and out.

Weft: This time I used a tabby (that is, a plain weave pick between every pattern pick), a very fine cotton, with the idea of increasing durability slightly. Most other times I’ve done this I haven’t bothered. The bag I made in November 2009 has been used almost daily and while it needs a wash and a few repairs it hasn’t done badly.
Pattern weft: This is where you can go to town. I gather a pile of “stuff” that fits the colour scheme, then pick and choose as the whim takes me. There are yarns – some silk (fancy spun, a thin ribbon yarn, a boucle…), wools, maybe cottolin. If they are fine I tend to wind a few yarns together (I use a stick shuttle for this) so the pattern isn’t too small. Thrums (leftover warp) from other projects are good. I also tear fabric into strips and use that. I like the raw and shaggy look, but I suppose you could cut on the bias if you want. I also deliberately play with which side is showing to get colour variation and texture – for example in the red/pink/white mass about third section down in the photo on the right. The fabric is mostly silk, plus some cotton and probably a couple of synthetics. I have various bits and pieces from old dye experiments, plus bits of old kimonos etc. It just needs to be pliable enough to sit happily. I’ve used habutai, tissue and organza silks. I deliberately tear stripes of different lengths and widths, to keep up the randomisation factor. I also try to repeat things a few times as I’m weaving – you can only see a few centimetres of recent weaving, so I tend to have two piles. I select a piece of cloth from one, tear a strip, throw the remainder into the second pile. When I’ve finished the first pile I start with the second and repeat the process. Or cheat and pick something that catches my fancy out of whichever pile.

To make the strip I use scissors to nick the edge of the fabric and tear almost to the other side. Then I cut a nick on that side and tear back. This gives you a longer strip of fabric weft, with little extra tags of fabric at each turnaround point (which I quite like as extra texture).

Lift plan: I’ve shown the few simple ones that I use in the draft above. Mostly the “as drawn in” bit, but not entirely.

The other major technique I use is clasped weft. Kaz has a brilliant tutorial here.

A couple more photos you can click on for details if you like.

Previous projects using these ideas (clicking the photos takes you to the relevant blog entries:
Bag CardsTable runner Wall hangingDetail

None of this is new or original to me. Among lots of influences two blogs stand out – Susan at Avalanche Looms and Terri at Saori Salt Spring.


Cacophony. Part of The Maharajah's Garden exhibition

Many travellers to the Indian subcontinent talk of being overwhelmed and left disoriented by the colours, sounds, smells when they first arrive.

I imagine a Garden full of exotic flowers and birds, fountains, gazebos and sunshine – so many wonders, so bright and beautiful, that all I can perceive is a blur of colour and light. Slowly my eyes refocus until I can see a single bloom.


ATASDA (The Australian Textile Arts and Surface Design Association) is launching a new exhibition soon – The Maharajah’s Garden. It’s a suitcase exhibition – a collection of textile art pieces, banners to decorate the venue, techniques boards, publicity material, white gloves for handling work etc, all fitting into one large suitcase (actually two suitcases, due to the amount of work submitted). Each suitcase will travel independently around Australia for the next two years, visiting schools and communities. Anyone can ask to host the exhibition – the only cost is postage to the next venue.

Banner section

ATASDA has had a couple of suitcase exhibitions in the past which were very successful. This is my first chance to participate and I was keen to make sure weaving was included – ATASDA members use a huge range of textile and surface design techniques. We were asked to respond to the theme The Maharajah’s Garden with rich, brilliantly coloured artworks.

Banner detail

Each suitcase will include 20 – 30 banner sections, each with ribbon ties so they can be used flexibly to decorate the different venues. I used an offcut from my main piece on my banner, with a flower shape based on the sequinned bloom on the hanging.

Some specifics:

Handwoven wallhanging, unlined, 47 x 40 cm.

Warp: 22/2 cottolin sett at 18 ends per inch.  I put out all the cones I had in “garden” colours and wound with 4 threads at a time. Each trip round the warping board I changed 1, sometimes 2, colours. When threading I chose fairly much at random from each group of 4 threads. I wanted a not-too-stripey “sunlight dappled” effect.

Threading and liftplan: rosepath (slightly more detailed explanation here).

Weft: mainly torn and cut strips of fabrics – organza, chiffon, lamé, silks and synthetics. I created big piles of torn pieces, then knotted them together in a semi-random order (that is, I picked up a piece at random and threw it back in the pile if I didn’t want it at that point).

I have some big cones of metallic thread (from a knitting machine supplier), and two colours of metallic were wound onto the shuttle together with the knotted fabric strips.

There are also sections using some of my mother’s embroidery threads. Plus there is a fine cotton thread used as a tabby (plain weave pick between each “fancy” pick). The hanging will do a lot of travelling over the next two years, and the tabby gives some needed stability and strength.

Weaving: I used the clasped weft technique throughout. Kaz of curiousweaver has a great video tutorial here. Most of the time I used a weft from each side, but here and there I used three at once – a shuttle from each side and a third yarn source in the middle (in the photo some of mum’s embroidery thread). Also in the photo you can see the shuttle of fine cotton for the tabby weft. Although the weft was knotted randomly I could juggle placement by seeing what was coming up and choosing my clasping points.

I don’t know the age of the sequinned and chain-stitch flower. It’s worked on a fine purple silk chiffon and was given to me a few years ago (by another ATASDA member).

A major part of the exhibition’s purpose is to enthuse viewers (school students and others) to go home and try a new technique using textiles and fibres. We were all asked to include an A3 techniques board, giving basic instructions in a technical skill. It would be great if someone decided to give weaving a go after seeing the exhibition, but there will be such variety and such strong work from others that cacophony could get lost in the general blaze of colour!

If you’re in Australia and would like one of the suitcases to visit your area, check the ATASDA website for contact information. They are already taking bookings and have venues pencilled in for every state.

Runner in rosepath

The first un-Christmas gift is done!

This is a table runner – more a centre-piece since it’s quite short – requested by my mother. Mum liked my autumn bag (blogged here) and asked for something similar. The colour cues are shown in the photo – on the left, a snap of the turkish rug mum picked up on her travels, on the right an offcut of her upholstery fabric.

I think this is the first time I’ve used yarn wrapping to help decide on warp colours and placement. In the end I thought the more formal, symmetrical style better reflected the formal layout of the rug.

This is the warp seen here, lying all smooth and ready to go onto the Robinson loom on New Year’s day. It was finally tied on and ready to start weaving 11 days later. The warp was short – just 1.25 metres since I only needed 62 cm finished length including fringe. I didn’t consciously take short cuts, but I kept finding myself doing stupid things and getting into a mess.  I kept thinking of it as a small warp, but it was 290 ends which is on the high side for me. Anyway, I fumbled through winding it on, then made multiple errors (and, I think, an equal number of corrections) while threading the heddles and sleying the reed.

Another shot, just because I like it!

With this type of weaving not everything is planned before you start – there’s of lot of decision-making on the spot as you see how colours work together. At first I found it really difficult, trying to second-guess what mum would like. One fabric in particular I really liked but she wasn’t keen on – it has orange and turquoise in it and is visible about half way up this shot, so you can tell that in the end I decided the only possibility was to do what looked right to me, and hope mum likes the final result.

Some project details: Warp is cottolin, sett at 18 ends per inch. Threading rosepath (thread 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 and repeat). Weft – varied, includes torn fabric strips (mostly light silk), some fancy silk yarns, some of mum’s old embroidery yarns, odd and bobs. Woven on Robinson 4 shaft table loom. Lift sequence 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1, 3-4, 2-3, 1-2, 1-4 and repeat. A few bits of clasped weft. Final size 62×39 cm.

Started 31/12/2009, finally finished 28/1/2010 (it was off the loom much earlier, but the finishing and fringes have been done in work pauses on the next project, which has a deadline I’m going to miss).

The one outstanding thing is mum’s reaction. I’ll see that next week.

More freestyle rosepath

The recent flurry of posts is nearing an end, as I approach my self-imposed deadline and also bring my weaving story right up to date.  This was on the loom a couple of weeks ago, and reached its final form earlier today.

20091108_bag2The card fronts (blogged yesterday) were fun –  I wanted more. This bag is the same idea of cottolin warp threaded in rosepath, all sorts of yarns and torn silks as weft. I deliberately left loose ends and created even more by tying small bits and pieces together, to get lots of texture.

20091108_bag3I used the fabric to make a bag in the  Doni’s Delis style. I decided to go all the way with lining, pockets and zip closure (complete with pull tag of some of the weft yarn, knotted with crown sinnets using instructions from 200 braids to twist, knot, loop or weave by Jacqui Carey. I really like this book – great photos, lots of options and clear instructions). I also tacked together the selvedges in the part that goes over the shoulder, to help the bag sit nicely (the cloth is a bit stiff to drape or bunch well).

20091108_bag4One of the things I like about “allsorts” wefts is the changes in scale using the same liftplan. Another favourite is using clasped weft with the rosepath lift. You can get a really interesting broken line effect.

I tried to use every weft at least 2 or 3 times and also kept to just plain weave and a single rosepath pattern, to get some coherence over the fabric as a whole. However I did try to keep varying the combinations. 20091108_bag5

The colour theme was “autumn” – although for me that encompasses a lot! I couldn’t capture the richness of the colours in these photos.

Freestyle Rosepath Cards

20091107card4In September I stood down after two years as president of ATASDA, resulting in time to weave plus a need for more thankyou cards.

Happily I could combine both in a really fun project. I put on a long, narrow warp in cottolin. I wanted to continue the experimentation of the freestyle scarf, but increase the possibilities by using a rosepath threading (4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 1, 2, 3 repeat). I didn’t use the traditional binder between pattern wefts (for that see my class sampler here). Instead I dug through various drawers and boxes and created a huge, messy, colourful pile of yarns and fabrics – and just went for it.

20091107card3There’s a mixture of plain weave and the simplest rosepath lifting; clasped weft, inclusions; various silk yarns I’ve dyed, plus thrums from past projects; ripped strips of fabric, mostly silk tissue, organza and habutai, but a few satins and synthetics. Basically nothing was safe!

I had a size in mind for the card fronts, hemstitched at beginning and end of each … and just wove. Sometimes I’d think a few changes ahead, sometimes just the whim of the moment.

I ended with 20+ cards – and am finding it a little difficult to part from them 🙂



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.

Backtrack to Rosepath

The one class sample I haven’t blogged about yet was Rosepath. I really enjoyed doing it. It was just after the unmentionable, and I had a different loom from the Guild which behaved beautifully. I used cottolin for the warp and found that very nice to use, and a whole range of threads and yarns for the pattern weft. Rosepath uses a traditional threading. It has a background of plain weave, with extra pattern wefts added in. Generally there is a “binder” weft of the background plain weave between each pattern weft, which means if you want you can build up blocks of pattern while still having a firm well-structured cloth. The finished, washed sampler is 1.4 metres long (around 55 inches) with 26 different experiments, so I’ve picked out some of my favourite parts to show.
This section was worked from right to left and each stripe used the same pattern with the same number of picks or rows of pattern weft. Going from the right:
1. The basic pattern. Pattern weft is silk/merino yarn (leftover from the Ocean scarf – the lighter of the two yarns). Binder weft is the same cottolin as the warp and general background.

2. Design and pattern weft the same as 1, but binder was a black machine sewing thread.

3. Design and pattern weft the same as 1 and 2, but this time I didn’t use a binder at all. See how the stripe is much thinner and the colour denser, even though it’s exactly the same picks of pattern.

4. I used a doubled thread for the pattern weft and cottolin as the binder. This gave a very similar width to the stripe (compared to sample 1), but denser colour.

5. This was basically the same as 4, but instead of doubling the light Ocean scarf thread I used one thread of light and one of dark. I thought this might give a richer colour.

6. This one used the light merino-silk thread for the pattern weft and the dark merino-silk thread for the binder weft. This is my favourite – it has a lovely sheen and silky feel in person.

The second photo has two sets of experiments. The yellow towards the right is the same pattern, but with the shafts lifted the opposite way. The effect is that what is on the back for one stripe is on the front for the other.

The rest is playing with colour shading. On the right a single pattern weft was used – 4 ply fingering sock weight, 60% merino 20% cashmere 20% nylon from the knittery and handpainted by Daphne (the socks I knitted with this are just about my favourites, lovely to wear).

The three stripes on the left all use a series of solid-coloured yarns. In two the only difference is light or dark in the picks just around the middle.

Finally, from right to left:

1. For the binder I used a cotton thread of similar weight to the cottolin but a colour related to the pattern weft.

2. The pattern weft is a whole bundle of embroidery cottons held together. This didn’t photograph well but has a lovely rich appearance in real life.

3. Don’t do this! I had little bobbins of different embroidery silks, and used them as pattern inlay wefts to get a starry sky effect. A lot of fuss and bother and it would make more sense to weave the base cloth then embroider it later.

4. Weaving “on opposites”. Two shuttles of pattern weft were used. First a pick of pink was woven then I reversed the shafts so that was was up was now down and vice versa and wove a pick of blue. I didn’t use a binder weft at all.

5. The pattern weft is rayon machine embroidery thread, much finer than the cottolin binder. Very pretty.

Overall a lot of fun, and I definitely want to try some of these ideas as highlights in future weaving projects.


No Instagram images were found.

Calendar of Posts

February 2023

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.