Margaret Windeknecht studied color-and-weave and wrote about it in her books, Color-and-Weave and Color-and-Weave II. Her article, “What Is Color-and-Weave?” in Weaver’s magazine #20 (1993) is the best concise explanation I have come across about this topic. Her work has inspired me so much, and I’m sad she passed away in March, 2009.
Briefly, color-and-weave refers to a pattern effect that you perceive as a result of the combination of a weave structure (the way the warp and weft interlace, as in plain weave, twill, etc.) and the sequence of light and dark or contrasting colored warp and weft threads. For example, shadow weave falls under this category and is described as a color-and-weave effect with a mostly plain weave structure. I find that the pattern is most prominent viewed close-up when using fine threads and at a distance when using thicker threads.
I have explored shadow weave and wrote about it in some of my earlier posts as well as in my article. With inspiration from Margaret’s books and Marian Powell’s book, 1,000(+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8 Harness Shadow Weaves, I recently designed an alpaca scarf and a few samples with my weaving software. Below are images of the woven pieces with their drafts. I tried to capture with my camera the softness and lightness of the alpaca scarf, the springiness and surprisingly nice feel of the acrylic/wool sample, and the sturdy and flat feel of the cotton sample.
After a bit of research, I learned that alpaca is often woven as plain weave or twill with a proper sett and the finished cloth is sometimes brushed well for a stable and soft cloth. But my curiosity led me to try something I always wanted to do: weave an alpaca scarf so the yarn remains lofty and to do that I decided to weave it looser than I normally would. I used 4-ply alpaca (1600 yds./lb.), 12 e.p.i. sett, a broken twill (I think that’s what it is) threading with color-and-weave effects. I hand washed the finished piece, lay flat to dry (shrinkage was negligible), and lightly brushed both sides. It turned out super soft, stable enough so the yarns don’t shift even though it’s loosely woven, the brushing probably helps to keep the yarns together. Here it is:
I wove the acrylic/wool sample using a type of wool-ease knitting yarn that’s 80% acrylic and 20% wool, machine washable and dryable. I used a 10 e.p.i. sett, again a broken twill threading with color-and-weave effects, hand washed the sample and machine dried it, shrinkage was negligible. I was surprised at how the pattern resembles overshot. This could work well for an easy-care, soft scarf. Here’s this sample with its draft:
The final images are of the cotton shadow weave sample and its draft. I was having fun with the draft and just had to see how it would look woven. I used a 20/2 cotton doubled up and a sett of 24 e.p.i., washed it by hand, ironed while still damp and shrinkage was about 10%. A table runner might work well with this yarn and pattern.
If you like looking at color-and-weave drafts, there are 475 of them at handweaving.net!