I designed and wove an echo weave scarf using an extended parallel threading, but having read Alice Schlein’s 1996 article and a few others in Handwoven, I didn’t quite understand how an interleaved threading was related to an extended parallel one. So I posed a question on one of the weaving forums asking for clarification and Bonnie Inouye kindly gave a detailed and enlightening explanation. With Bonnie’s permission to cite from what she wrote, here’s part of her reply: “Back in 1996, few if any weaving programs included a tool for making parallel threading or treadlings. Instead, we used ‘interleave’ to get the same results. I use both tools now and am happy to have them both…. Echo is a method and not a true weave structure. There are few rules and few promises!”
Being a newbie at weaving echo, I found the extended parallel way fairly easy with the aid of weaving software. There is also an ‘interleave paste’ in Fiberworks PCW that can be used to combine two threadings to make a new one, something I haven’t as yet explored much.
Following are images, drafts, and notes of my echo weave scarf. I included a list of sources for studying echo weave at the end. I read these articles with great interest, but I don’t understand all of it yet!
As you can see in the drafts below, I started with preliminary threading and treadling drafts that were redrawn using some of the tools in Fiberworks PCW to arrive at the final draft. I also tried different twill tie-ups before choosing one I really liked. I weave on a 16-shaft treadle Macomber loom so I show the treadling in tie-up mode rather than lift plan mode, but they can easily be converted from one to the other. Because the treadling is very long it’s hard to see it clearly in the image so if anyone who has weaving software would like the WIF file of the draft let me know and I’ll be happy to email it to you.
I have seen photos of beautiful, iridescent echo weavings of fine silk and Tencel where yarn size is probably larger and sett is closer for warp than for weft. I read in most of the articles that sett plays a very important role. My first try of echo weave was with 20/2 cotton with a sett of 54 epi and 40 ppi that turned out interesting with a matte finish. This time I thought of trying something different with lustrous yarns. I have lots of 5/2 pearl cotton in many colors in my stash so I decided to use alternating colors of purple and orange at 24 epi for the warp and 2 strands together of a pale green 20/2 rayon for the weft. I tried different yarns as weft but the 20/2 rayon doubled up looked good at about 22 ppi and the longest float at 5. I was amazed at how these three colors blended to produce subtle variations. If I had used something finer like 20/2 silk or Tencel, adjusting the sett accordingly, it would have a lighter hand than the thicker 5/2 pearl cotton I used, but the drape is nice this way too. I like the way the pastel colors appear to be luminescent and changing as the light plays off the surface as you move the scarf around.
The scarf was finished by twisting the fringes and then washed by hand, rolled in a towel to remove excess moisture, air dried and steam ironed while slightly damp.
Here are some inspiring sources for studying echo weave (in order of date of publication):
- Bonnie Inouye’s article in the UK publication, The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, December 2008 issue #228, “Echo Weave.” Bonnie also teaches a workshop, “Opposites Attract” in which the second day is about echo weave.
- Another article by Bonnie in Handwoven (Jan/Feb 2008), “Two Patterns for Two Scarves On One Warp.” (turned taqueté and echo weave)
- Barbara Elkins’ article in Handwoven (Sept/Oct 2007), “Peacock Scarf in Networked Echo Weave.”
- Sandra Rude’s articles in Complex Weavers Journal, 2005 and 2006, “Adventures in Parallel Threading, Part I” and “Adventures in Not-So-Parallel Threading, Part II.” Also available online at Three Springs Handworks.
- Alice Schlein’s article in Weaver’s #32 (Summer 1996), “Echo Weave: Something Old and Something New.” Also available as a monograph from Alice’s website.
UPDATE March 23, 2013: This scarf won the Complex Weavers Award at the 2013 “Celebration of Fibers” annual members exhibit of the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers! There’s also an article about this exhibit at NewsWorks that mentions this scarf.
UPDATE April, 2013: I wove a few more echo weave scarves using pearl cotton and Tencel. The design was inspired by Sandra Rude’s article, “Adventures in Not-So-Parallel Threading, Part II” and so I interleaved two threadings that are not parallel to each other. Here’s one scarf where I used red and green 5/2 pearl cotton for the warp and 8/2 orange/brown Tencel for the weft:
Here’s a detail of another echo scarf similar to the previous one except this time I used 10/2 fuchsia pearl cotton and 8/2 green Tencel for the warp and 8/2 orange/brown Tencel for the weft, resulting in a finer weave and a scarf with a lighter hand. These scarves are iridescent, I’m not always able to capture that quality in a photo.
And one more example of echo weave where I interleaved two threadings, here is a sample woven in cotton:
UPDATE July, 2014: There is a beautiful and inspiring new book published recently by Marian Stubenitsky, Weaving with Echo and Iris, the English version translated from Dutch. I just received my copy in the mail today and I’m mesmerized by its beauty and all the new information that I know I’ll be spending many hours studying. There’s a great preview of the book on Marian’s website with ordering information.
UPDATE September 2014: My new post, “Interleaved Echo Weave…” is about my experience with non-parallel interleaved threadings including a photo of a scarf with the same design as the one above except woven with Tencel.