8-Shaft Woven Scarves: Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling

My imagination was piqued whenever I browsed through weaving books and magazines and read about advancing twills, parallel threadings, networking, and the mysterious “echo” weave.  A few years ago, when I was fairly new to using weaving software, I experimented with advancing twills and networking but it wasn’t so easy.  After a little more study and practice I felt ready to try more challenging projects.

The preliminary drafts for the two scarves I write about in this post had the same advancing point twill threading but different networked treadlings.  The patterns were nice but not exciting enough so I tried an extended parallel repeat of the threading and liked what I saw.  Following are images of the scarves, their drafts, and details of how I designed and wove them.  There’s also a photo of my first attempt at “echo” weave.

Blue Ridge Scarf

Blue Ridge Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling), pearl cotton, 9″ x 75″, 2012

Blue Ridge Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling, pearl cotton, 9″ x 75″, 2012 (detail)

There are two views of Draft 1 below.  The first view is a close-up that shows only part of one repeat.  The second view shows one full repeat of the threading and the treadling with an inset image showing more than one repeat.  Click on this second view for a large and clear view of the draft.

Draft 1 – Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling (detail)

Draft 1 – Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling (click on image for a better view)

With the aid of my weaving software (Fiberworks PCW, Silver version), I modified my preliminary draft by redrawing the advancing point twill threading to the extended parallel one in Draft 1, alternating black and white warp ends.  The networked treadling was easily designed using the network drawing tool that has a default of an initial of 4.  I sometimes design networked drafts another way, by redrawing a pattern line on network with options for choosing different initials.  The tie-up is a 3/1/1/3 twill.  The longest float is 3.

I used alternating black and white 10/2 pearl cotton for the warp and dark turquoise for the weft at a sett of 30 e.p.i. and about the same p.p.i.  Tencel or silk would work well too and give a lighter hand and better drape.  The fringes were twisted.  The scarf was wet finished by hand washing, spin dried in the washer, hung to dry and ironed while still damp.  Shrinkage was about 10% overall.

This scarf received the J. Willard Lord Memorial Award for technical excellence at the 2012 “Celebration of Fibers” annual member’s exhibit of the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers.

Mauve Diamonds Scarf

Mauve Diamonds Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling), pearl cotton, 9″x75″, 2012

Mauve Diamonds Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling), pearl cotton, 9″x75″, 2012 (detail)

There are two views of the draft for this scarf as well and when you click on the second view the draft will appear large and easy to read.

Draft 2 – Parallel Threading “Reshuffled” & Networked Treadling (detail)

Draft 2 – Parallel Threading “Reshuffled” & Networked Treadling (click on image for a better view)

You may notice that the threading and tie-up in Draft 2 appear to be different than in Draft 1, but you can use the threading in either draft and get the same results.  I used the shaft “shuffler” in my program to reshuffle the parallel threading so it’s easier to thread on the loom.  By doing this, the tie-up was also reshuffled automatically.  However, I designed a different networked treadling for this scarf and so the pattern looks different.

I used 10/2 pearl cotton for this scarf too but alternated dark turquoise and fuchsia in the warp and used black for the weft.  From a distance the colors appear to blend into a mauve color.  All else is the same as for the Blue Scarf.

The Challenge of “Echo” Weave

As I continue to experiment with parallel threading, it’s not as mysterious as it seems to be, but the threading and treadling can be more complicated and variables such as the sett can make a big difference in the final result.  I wove my first “echo” weave fabric, designed with a parallel threading, on 16 shafts using 20/2 cotton at 54 e.p.i. and about 40 p.p.i. (see photo below).  In my research I learned that echo weave is not a weave structure, but a method, and you recognize it when you see it.

“Echo” Weave Fabric, cotton, 2012

Inspiring sources for studying “echo” weave:  Alice Schlein’s article in Weaver’s magazine #32 (Summer 1996), “Echo Weave: Something Old and Something New.”  It’s also available as a monograph on Alice’s website.  Sandra Rude’s articles, “Adventures in Parallel Threading, Part 1” and “Adventures in Not-So-Parallel Threading, Part II,” appeared in the Complex Weavers Journal in 2005 and 2006 and are available online including photos of Sandra’s gorgeous fabrics at Three Springs Handworks.  Also, Bonnie Inouye mentioned on a weaving forum that she teaches a workshop that covers “echo” weave.

Update:  More on echo weave in my new post, “Echo Weave Scarf in Pastel Colors.”

These parallel threading projects were so much fun!

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7 Comments on “8-Shaft Woven Scarves: Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling”

  1. These are just lovely!

  2. Helga Says:

    Thank you for this GREAT article!!!
    Your scarves are lovely!

  3. Laritza Says:

    This is so beautiful!

  4. Nice work, Eva!
    My article on Echo appeared in the U.K. Journal for weavers in December, 2008. I have enjoyed hearing from weavers who learned from that article with some 8-shaft examples. Also I wove two 8-shaft scarves on a parallel threading for Handwoven (echo and turned taquete). That article gives 4-shaft drafts, too.

    After the first few warps, I have found it quite easy to follow a parallel threading at the loom. I prefer it now. I can see where a blue warp thread belongs! Treadling network drafted twills is fun- see my article on WeaveZine for tips.
    Bonnie Inouye

    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you all for your comments!

      Bonnie, the first time I followed a parallel threading at the loom it was easier to keep track of the colors, but I made more mistakes in threading the heddles on the correct shafts. I think that’s because many of us are used to a mostly straight or point threading but with practice we can improve. Thank you also for answering weavers’ questions on weaving forums and sharing your expert knowledge.

  5. Lovely scarves! Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  6. Barb Says:

    Yikes! Fantastic!

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