Archive for the ‘Twill’ category

Networked Twill Table Runners

May 9, 2016

I wanted to design a networked twill pattern, which is decorative and symmetrical, that would be nice to use for weaving a table runner.  For inspiration and guidance, I browsed through Alice Schlein’s wonderful book, Network Drafting: An Introduction, and came across a few ideas that I wanted to use.  One idea was to use reversing points in the threading and treadling and another was to try different tie-ups.  Using Fiberworks, I designed many pattern lines and generated 8-shaft networked drafts using initial 4, the most used initial because it works well with many twills and other weaves.  Narrowing it down to one pattern and two tie-ups, I was ready to weave a couple of table runners.

The two finished table runners look almost the same when viewed from a distance, but the close-ups look very different.  As a weaver I find it very interesting to look at details, even more so than at the overall design from a distance.  Here is the finished Networked Twill Table Runner with tie-up 1:

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 1), cotton, 2016

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 1), cotton, 2016

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 1), cotton, 2016 (close-up)

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 1), cotton, 2016 (close-up)

You may notice that the twill lines appear to be on a plain weave background, and they are reversing or mirroring in the pattern.  In the drafts below, you can see this more clearly in the partial draft:

Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 1)

Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 1)

Partial Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 1)

Partial Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 1)

Here is the finished Networked Twill Table Runner with tie-up 2:

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 2), cotton, 2016

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 2), cotton, 2016

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 2), cotton, 2016 (close-up)

Networked Twill Table Runner woven on 8 shafts (tie-up 2), cotton, 2016 (close-up)

In the drafts below, the partial draft for tie-up 2 shows a pattern with less discernible twill lines, no plain weave areas, and there’s more contrast between the light and dark areas:

Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 2)

Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 2)

Partial Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 2)

Partial Draft for Networked Twill Table Runner (tie-up 2)

It’s interesting to look at a comparison of the same part of the draft with the two different tie-ups:

Networked Twill - two tie-ups (interlacement view)

Networked Twill – two tie-ups (interlacement view)

I’m happy to share the WIF files for the complete drafts, let me know if you would like them.

Weaving Notes:  I wove both table runners on the same natural colored 20/2 cotton warp at 40 epi (ends per inch).  The weft is also 20/2 cotton for both except for the color – one beige and the other green.  The ppi (picks per inch) are about 34 for the beige runner and about 40 for the green one.  The smaller number of picks produced a more elongated pattern in the beige runner, and the finished cloth feels a little lighter and more delicate.  The longest float in both is 5.  I used a floating selvedge to help keep the selvedges neat.  I washed them by hand, let hang to dry and steam ironed while they were still a little damp, and then hand stitched the hems.  I would like to mention that I always read my treadling drafts from bottom to top and the threading as if I’m facing the front of my Macomber rising shed loom.  This way, as I’m weaving the pattern on the loom, it looks exactly the same as in the draft.

Network drafting can be challenging at first, but as you progress it will keep you captivated with so many possibilities.  On that note, here is a scarf I recently designed and wove using network drafting.  I used a variegated colored Tencel warp and a solid colored weft.  It looks as though the warp may have been painted, but it’s not:

Networked Twill Scarf woven on 16 shafts, Tencel & cotton, 2016

Networked Twill Scarf woven on 16 shafts, Tencel & cotton, 2016

That’s all for now, see you next time!

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Turned Twill Adventures

September 24, 2013

It all began with our new dining room table that needed a functional and pretty runner.  I say functional first and pretty second because this project was going to be designed so that form follows function and not the other way around.  I must confess that sometimes I do weave things out of curiosity without thinking too much about what useful things I can make from them.  The pattern I designed for the table runner turned out to be a traditional turned twill block design woven with lustrous pearl cotton.  I liked the clean lines between the warp-float and weft-float areas in this design and wondered what a design with fuzzy lines would look like, so I tried that too.  Here are photos and drafts of the runner followed by a few more daring adventures:

Turned Twill Woven Table Runner – 4 Blocks

I wove a few samples first, one with a pearl cotton warp and a linen weft that was lovely, but I liked the colors of pearl cotton I had in my stash better.  So I wove the table runner using 5/2 pearl cotton for warp and weft with a sett of 24 epi and about 21 ppi, using a very firm beat.  A wider sett of maybe 20 or 22 epi would have been better for a more balanced weave woven with a lighter beat.  I wove a few inches of plain weave at the two ends with a thin 20/2 cotton so that I could turn and hand stitch a hem for a neat and lasting finish.  I should mention that I used a floating selvedge on each side that was not threaded through a heddle, only sleyed through the reed.  The woven piece was washed in the washer on gentle and ironed while still damp.  The finished runner is 18 inches wide by 60 inches long, perfect for our table:

Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks, pearl cotton, 2013

Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks, pearl cotton, 2013

I weave on a 16-shaft treadle loom, good for a 4-block, 3/1-1/3 turned twill pattern.  I designed a profile draft where Block A is threaded 1,2,3,4; Block B – 5,6,7,8; Block C – 9,10,11,12; and Block D – 13,14,15,16.  The treadling blocks are the same as the threading blocks.  The direction of the twill lines depends on whether you treadle top to bottom or bottom to top.  I chose to weave it so that the warp-float twills go left to right and the weft-float twills go right to left on the side that I wanted to show when I place it on the table, the way you see it in the above photo.  You can repeat the blocks in a profile draft to your liking, easily accomplished with weaving software, and with block substitution you can try it out with different weave structures.  Below are the profile draft followed by the thread-by-thread draft and a close-up of the draft that shows how the warp and weft are interlaced:

PROFILE DRAFT for Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks

PROFILE DRAFT for Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks

Draft for Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks

Draft for Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks

Close-up of Draft for Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks (interlacement view)

Close-up of Draft for Turned Twill Woven Table Runner, 4 blocks (interlacement view)

Without elaborating too much, I would describe turned twill as an uneven twill, and in this project, blocks are made up of 4-end units of 3/1 twill and 1/3 twill.  The contrast between warp-float and weft-float areas on the same side of the fabric can be used to design many kinds of patterns – from stripes to fancy figures.  Sometimes turned twill is referred to as twill damask.  Irene Emery describes it in great detail in her book, The Primary Structures of Fabrics.  To learn more about blocks and profile drafts, I recommend Madelyn van der Hoogt’s book, The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers, Chapter 5: From Blocks to Units.  I think Madelyn also has a video out about block weaves.  I have a few past posts with profile drafts, you can find them if you go to my home page and click on “Profile Drafts” in the Categories cloud.

Networked Twill Woven Fabric – Turned Twill with Fuzzy Borders

After the table runner project, I continued experimenting with turned twill but digressed and kept only the tie-up and instead of blocks I tried networked threadings and treadlings.  I liked the fuzzy borders, very different than the clean cut ones in traditional block turned twill, and the longest float was still only 3.  I also read an article by Alice Schlein in Handwoven magazine in 2001, “Network Drafting – Turned Twills on Eight Shafts,” that inspired me to experiment with this idea.  Below is a photo of some yardage I wove from one of my designs using 20/2 cotton in alternating dark and light colors in the warp and a solid color for the weft, at 42 epi and about 40 ppi.  I washed the yardage by hand and ironed it while it was still damp.  The yardage is a bit narrow in width, about 16 inches, not really functional for my purposes, but hey, it’s kind of interesting and I may use it for next year’s Fine Threads Study Group at Complex Weavers, cut into swatches for members of my group:

Networked Twill Woven Fabric, cotton, 2013

Networked Twill Woven Fabric, cotton, 2013

Below are the drafts for the fabric.  If anyone would like the WIF file with the complete thread-by-thread draft, let me know.

Draft for Networked Twill Woven Fabric

Draft for Networked Twill Woven Fabric

Close-up of Draft for Networked Twill Woven Fabric (interlacement view)

Close-up of Draft for Networked Twill Woven Fabric (interlacement view)

More Turned Twill Drafts – Variations

These are drafts I like but haven’t tried to weave.  This one with a 5-end advancing twill threading and treadling illustrates the fuzzy borders between the warp-float and weft-float areas, and the longest float is 3:

Draft for 5-end Advancing Twill

Draft for 5-end Advancing Twill

Here’s an 8-shaft, traditional 2 block draft and the dramatic change that you see when color-and-weave is used on the same draft – 4 dark and 4 light ends alternating in warp and weft:

Draft for 8-shaft, 2 block, Turned Twill with color-and-weave version

Draft for 8-shaft, 2 block, Turned Twill with color-and-weave version

And here’s the same draft as the previous one, with some fun colors for the color-and-weave effect:

Draft for 8-shaft, 2 block, color-and-weave Turned Twill

Draft for 8-shaft, 2 block, color-and-weave Turned Twill

Hope you enjoyed reading about my Turned Twill adventures.  Just one more thing…

Something Completely Different:

E-Reader Case, Crochet, pearl cotton, 2013

E-Reader Case, Crochet, pearl cotton, 2013

OK, this is not woven, but I just love this little crochet case with the little button that I made for my e-reader.  It’s just simple continuous single crochet with 5/2 pearl cotton going round and round and then back and forth for the flap, finished with a double crochet edging.  It’s sitting on a shadow weave mat so there is some weaving in the picture!

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Ikat-Inspired Twill Studies

April 28, 2013

The Fine Threads Study Group at Complex Weavers has a sample and study exchange each year.  As a member of this group I’m happy to share my study for this year in this post.

As I was browsing through the samples from the 1990 Complex Weavers Swatch Exchange, I came across Verda Elliott’s sample and study, “A Touch of Ikat.”  Verda has passed away in 2009 but her inspiring work lives on.  In her study, Verda combined two tie-up and treadling sequences on the same threading for a combined draft and wove the samples on her 24 shaft compu dobby loom.  I liked the idea of an ikat effect without having to do any dyeing/resist dyeing that is used in true ikat.  I tried her method but had to make a few changes in order to weave a sample on my 16 shaft treadle loom, at times having to step on two treadles at the same time.  I wove a sample using 10/2 cotton, the same size yarn as what Verda had used (see the very last photo and Draft 4 below).  This sample looked fine but when I tried it again with a finer 20/2 cotton the effect was too subtle, barely noticeable unless you were viewing it up close.  So for my Fine Threads Study samples I decided to try a different approach.

I experimented with networked twills and color placement and found that vertical sections of alternating light and dark colors in the warp and a solid color in the weft produced interesting ikat-like patterns.  Here’s the piece in progress on the loom with an interesting air brushed-like quality as well:

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill, rayon & cotton, 2013

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill, rayon & cotton, 2013

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill, rayon & cotton, 2013 (detail)

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill, rayon & cotton, 2013 (detail)

I used 20/2 rayon for the warp and 20/2 cotton for the weft at a sett of 42 epi and 42 ppi.  The piece was washed by hand, air dried and steam ironed with overall shrinkage of about 5%.  Now I have to cut a lot of it up into samples for the group swatch exchange!

The width of the vertical stripes is important, if it’s too wide the effect is less striking, and when the entire warp is a solid color the effect is different as shown in Draft 1:

Draft 1 - Networked Twill, solid colors in warp and weft

Draft 1 – Networked Twill, solid colors in warp and weft

Draft 2 below is what I designed and used to weave my piece.  It has the same threading, treadling and tie-up as Draft 1, but the color interaction in warp and weft give it a very different appearance.  I can email the complete WIF file of this draft to anyone with weaving software who requests it, just let me know.

Draft 2 - Networked Twill, color stripes in warp, solid color weft

Draft 2 – Networked Twill, color stripes in warp, solid color weft

Draft 3 below is a variation on a theme, it’s the same in all respects as Drafts 1 and 2 except for the slight difference in width of the vertical stripes and the various color combinations:

Draft 3 - Networked Twill, various color combinations

Draft 3 – Networked Twill, various color combinations

As I mentioned in my introduction, Verda Elliott’s 1990 study, “A Touch of Ikat,” was my inspiration for further study that led me to design and weave the Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill piece above.  I originally began my study by weaving this sample according to Verda’s method using 10/2 cotton at 28 epi:

Ikat-Inspired Twill woven sample

Ikat-Inspired Twill woven sample

Draft 4 - Advancing repeat threading and two treadling sequences combined

Draft 4 – Advancing repeat threading and two treadling sequences combined

UPDATE November 8, 2013:  Several weavers have asked me to send them the WIF file for the Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill draft.  One weaver, Mahesh Deshmukh, used it to create his own beautiful designs and sent me these images (posted here with permission):

Mahesh's Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Designs

Mahesh’s Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Designs

UPDATE February, 2014:  I rewrote this post as an article that has been published in the February 2014 issue #104 of the Complex Weavers Journal with the same title, “Ikat-Inspired Twill Studies.”   Most of the articles in this amazing issue focus on loom-controlled shibori and ikat and I’m thrilled that my article about twills that look like ikat is included.  Complex Weavers posted images and downloadable WIF files of the drafts from my article as well as images and some drafts from the other articles from this issue that may be viewed at this link.

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“Gebrochene to Echo” (My Article)

November 13, 2012

In this post I’m pleased to share the contents of my article, “Gebrochene to Echo,” that was published in the October, 2012 (the 100th issue!), of the Complex Weavers Journal.  It is about my study for this year’s woven sample exchange of the Fine Threads Study Group at Complex Weavers.  It’s such a thrill each year when the samples arrive in the mail because each weaver’s work is unique and beautiful.

In my article I mention Marjie Thompson, a member of my study group and someone who is knowledgeable about pre-20th century weaving.  I would like to add here that Marjie wrote a fascinating article about Gebrochene twills, “The Earl’s Canvass,” that appeared in Weaver’s Magazine (Winter 1997, issue #38) that is also included in the chapter on plain and fancy twills in Twill Thrills (The Best of Weavers), edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.  She notes that Gebrochene is the German term for what today’s weavers sometimes refer to as M’s and W’s, and that these elaborate twills seen in tablecloths have been found in medieval art and in drafts in manuscripts and books from the early 17th century.

On a personal note, in case I don’t post again before the end of this year, I would like to wish an early Season’s Greetings and a happy and healthy New Year to weavers, followers, and all visitors to my blog!

And now here’s my article.  If anyone would like the WIF file for any of the drafts, let me know and I will email it.

Complex Weavers Journal, October 2012, issue #100

Gebrochene to Echo

by Eva Stossel

Fine Threads Study Group

“Gebrochene to Echo” woven fabric

A few years ago I designed a shadow weave pattern with parallel threading.  Going beyond the mostly plain weave structure of shadow weave, I recently wove my first pattern with a recognizable “echo,” also designed with parallel threading and wanted to learn more.

The woven samples for this year’s Fine Threads study started out as a 16-shaft pattern I designed with a threading of jagged looking M’s/W’s, tromp-as-writ treadling, and solid colors in warp and weft.  The drawdown reminded me of something I have seen before – Gebrochene, but wasn’t sure if that’s what it was.  I consulted Marjie Thompson who is knowledgeable about pre-20th century weaving and happens to be in our study group, and she confirmed that in fact it is Gebrochene of four divisions and that she has seen drafts of four divisions in only one manuscript (see Draft 1).

Draft 1 – Gebrochene of 4 divisions

I really liked the pattern but wanted to experiment with it.  Using Fiberworks PCW, the 1/3/1/1/1/1/1/1/1/3/2 twill tie-up was “cycled” and transformed to 1/1/1/1/3/3/3/1/1/1/.  Then, when the threading was redrawn as an extended parallel repeat with alternating colors, a surprisingly delightful pattern emerged, one with several distinct areas of different colors that still resembled Gebrochene.  I showed it to Bonnie Inouye, and she considers it to be an example of Echo (see Draft 2).

Draft 2 – Gebrochene redrawn as Echo

As expected, after the pattern was redrawn as an extended parallel repeat it was stretched out horizontally.  I chose to compensate for this by varying yarn sizes and sett, keeping in mind that the longest float is five.  Using 20/2 rayon as warp and 2/64 silk/merino as weft, I wove a sample at 42 epi and 42 ppi (two strands of weft yarn together) resulting in a flimsy fabric with an overly stretched-out pattern.  I wove a second sample at 54 epi and 36 ppi (two strands of weft yarn together), an improvement, but not satisfactory.  The third and final sample woven at 72 epi and 42 ppi (only one strand of the 2/64 weft yarn) is the best, structurally as well as the way the colors interact with each other as a result of a close sett, thicker warp and thinner weft.  The yardage woven on my 16-shaft workhorse Macomber was hand washed gently, rolled in a towel to remove excess moisture, air dried and steam ironed while slightly damp, with approximately 6% shrinkage in length and 3% in width.

I’m so inspired to go on exploring this vast, parallel weaving universe!

UPDATE August 2013:  you can now view the photo and download the WIF file from the Complex Weavers website by clicking here.

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Patterned Double Weave Scarf + Twill Version

April 17, 2011

This is my third post about patterned double weave, it’s so fascinating!  Sample 3 of my recent study inspired me to design and weave a scarf with a mixture of colors that remind me of the beauty of corals.

Weaving the scarf was easy because I simply tied the new warp to the old one that was still on the loom from my study.  I removed some warp ends to get the number of repeats of the pattern that I wanted and resleyed the reed to a wider sett.  But after finishing this scarf I decided to tie on yet another warp, change the tie-up to a twill, with the goal of weaving a single layer scarf that is finer, more subtle, and that drapes even better.

Here are images of both scarves, their weaving drafts, and a few additional notes about each:

Double Weave Coral Scarf:

Double Weave Coral Scarf, pearl & slub cotton & linen, 9″x65″, 2011

Double Weave Coral Scarf – work in progress on the loom

Weaving Draft for Double Weave Coral Scarf

Double Weave Coral Scarf – tie-up designed in Photoshop Elements

For the warp I used a light blue/yellow space-dyed 10/2 linen I had in my stash from the days I dyed some of my own yarns and a reddish, variegated, slub cotton of similar thickness, and for the weft an orange and light grey 5/2 pearl cotton, with a sett of 24 e.p.i., sleyed 2 per dent in a 12-dent reed, and about the same p.p.i.  This is looser than I would normally weave the plain weave layers using the same yarns; I was trying to avoid a finished cloth that would be too thick and stiff to wear as a scarf.

After I cut the unfinished scarf off the loom, I twisted the fringes from the 7″ of unwoven warp I left on both ends for this purpose, twisting 3 ends with 3 ends, light colors together and dark colors together rather than mixing them because I thought it looked better this way with the overall design of this scarf.

The next step was washing the scarf by hand, drying it flat but steam ironing while it was still damp.  The overall shrinkage was about 10%, fairly even among the different yarns, and the fringes ended up being about 5″ long.  The looser sett and lighter beating of the weft did help make the finished scarf drape fairly well, it has a lovely sheen and doesn’t feel too thick.  I like how the different yarns combined to create an interesting effect, but I would recommend using silk, Tencel, rayon or a loosely twisted cotton yarn for an even better drape.  How about something like this:

Twill Chocolate Scarf:

When our friend, Janie, saw this scarf while it was still on the loom, the first thing she said was “chocolate” so “chocolate” it is!

Twill Chocolate Scarf, rayon & cotton, 9″ x 65″, 2011

Twill Chocolate Scarf, rayon & cotton, 9″ x 65″, 2011 (detail)

Weaving Draft for Twill Chocolate Scarf

For the warp I used a 2-ply knitting type rayon yarn and for the weft a loosely twisted cotton, similar to embroidery thread with a nice sheen.  Both these yarns worked well at 24 e.p.i.  Wet finishing was the same as for the Coral Scarf.  I machine stitched the two ends and left about 3″ of loose warp for the fringes.

Variation on a theme, that’s what it felt like to weave these two scarves, it was so much fun and a great learning experience.

My related posts about patterned double:  Patterned Double Weave:  Two Projects and Patterned Double Weave:  Samples &  Drafts

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Color-and-Weave Diamond Twill Scarf

May 31, 2010

I recently started to learn how to design and use profile drafts with my weaving software.  My prior experience with this was mostly with a pencil on graph paper or by copying and pasting rows and columns of blocks using Excel, a spreadsheet program.  I’m also learning how to use a feature called “block substitution” in my weaving program that can generate patterns of different weave structures directly from a profile draft.  Amazing!  A profile draft is made up of blocks and is a shorthand notation of a thread-by-thread draft.  To learn more about profile drafts check out Kerstin’s website: Part 1 and Part 2 of her clear and enlightening explanation about this topic.

Starting out with a fairly simple 4-block profile draft, I tried several different weave structures and chose a diamond twill (turned twill).  I liked it but I just had to see what would happen if color-and-weave effects were added.  I liked it even more and wove this scarf:

Diamond Twill Scarf with Color-and-Weave Effects, Pearl Cotton, 11″ x 72″, 2010

Diamond Twill Scarf with Color-and-Weave Effects, Pearl Cotton, 11″ x 72″, 2010 (Detail 1)

Diamond Twill Scarf with Color-and Weave Effects, Pearl Cotton, 11″ x 72″, 2010 (Detail 2)

To weave the Scarf I used 5/2 pearl cotton with a sett of 20 e.p.i., washed the finished piece by hand, air dried it until almost dry and then steam ironed it.  Here are the profile draft and thread-by-thread weaving draft for the Scarf:

4-Block Profile Draft

Draft 1 – Diamond Twill With Color-and-Weave Effects Generated from 4-Block Profile Draft

The colors I chose, blue and red/orange, appear to mix (referred to as optical mixture or visual mix) as the viewing distance increases into a lavender-like color, and the pattern appears subtle with small areas of color next to one another.  Drafts 1, 2, and 3 are identical in threading, treadling and tie-up and the only variable is color.  So, if instead, I would have woven the Scarf with solid colors in the warp and the weft, there would be larger areas of colors next to one another and the pattern would be more striking with less optical mixture and look like this:

Draft 2 – Diamond Twill Generated From 4-Block Profile Draft

The size of the areas of color next to one another and the viewing distance is important in how optically mixed the colors appear.  There are also other important factors: 1)  value – how light or dark the colors are in relation to each other, 2) hue – what color family they belong to such as the warm family of red, orange and yellow or the cool family of green, blue and violet, and 3)  intensity – purity of the color, whether it has black or white mixed in it.  There is more optical mixture if the colors are not only small in area and are viewed from a distance but are similar in value, hue, and intensity with value having more effect than hue or intensity.  So, if I wanted the pattern to be even more striking with even less optical mixture I could have used a lighter blue and a darker red/orange and it would look like this:

Draft 3 – Diamond Twill Generated From 4-Block Profile Draft

I learned about color theory in an art class back in college in the 70’s, and Josef Albers’ book, The Interaction of Color, was the guiding textbook for the course.  We had to go to the Library to be able to see the early version of the book that had all the color plates in it.  What an inspiration that was!

There are a series of incredible articles on color theory in “The Weaver’s Journal” magazines.  Unfortunately, these magazines are probably not easily available but libraries or local weaving guilds might have them.  The articles, “Color Theory for Handweavers” are in four parts written by Pat Boutin Wald:  Part I: The Basics (issue #38, Fall 1985), Part II: Visual Mix (issue #39, Winter 1986), Part III: Visual Illusions with Color (issue #40, Spring 1986), and Part IV: More Visual Illusions with Color (issue #41, summer 1986).

Lastly, here’s an enjoyable way to learn about color theory, from a lecture at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. on color in oriental rugs and textiles.  Thanks to the weavers who recommended it!

Just one more thing – there are links to other posts I did about color-and-weave on my “Weaving Drafts and More” page.

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Indigo Shawl – Twill Tie-Ups

March 19, 2010

If the pattern on my Indigo Shawl looks familiar it’s because I tied on a new warp to the old warp of my previous double weave project so that the threading is the same, the treadling is only slightly different, but the tie-up is now a twill, and what a surprise it turned out to be!

The idea of using indigo-dyed cotton has been lurking in the back of my mind ever since I bought a bunch of cones of it at a closeout years ago.  The labels on the cones indicated that they were from the UK and warned that the indigo color rubs off.  I was curious as to whether it was synthetic or real indigo and why the color rubs off.  When I asked about this on a couple of weaving lists, Ian Bowers, managing director of George Weil & Sons Ltd (a supplier of textile art and crafts materials in the UK), replied (with permission to quote), “There is absolutely NO difference in the chemical composition between synthetic indigo and that from plant material.  There may be different impurities which behave in the same way as indigotin but this would take substantial analytical equipment to differentiate.  The tendency to crock (rub off) is dependent on a number of factors including the finish on the yarn fibres and the skill of the dyer….”  I also got some replies from weavers who dye with natural indigo and some who even grow their own plants, like Dot, and it sounds like a wonderful experience that I would like to try one day.  In any case, I decided to go ahead and use my indigo-dyed yarn for the weft and make sure to wash and rinse very well the woven fabric once it’s off the loom.

I used one white and one very light blue 20/2 cotton together for the warp, keeping the same sett of 30 e.p.i. from the last project, and used the 10/2 indigo-dyed cotton for the weft.  The p.p.i. (picks per inch) turned out to be somewhat less, about 25.  The woven piece was washed by hand in very warm water, rinsed 6-7 times in warm water until the water was clear, rolled in some old towels and placed flat over some more old towels to dry and ironed while it was still slightly damp.  The blue color stayed dark even after all the rinsing and the very light blue color in the warp is not from any “bleeding” from the indigo dye but because I used the very light blue cotton as part of the warp.

Now I have a shawl to wear with my blue jeans:

Indigo Shawl, cotton, 19 x 72, 2010

Indigo Shawl, cotton, 19 x 72, 2010 (detail)

Weaving Draft for Indigo Shawl (14 shafts)

I used 14 shafts for weaving the Shawl and wondered what would happen to the design if I tried to reduce the shafts and treadles to 8.  In Draft 2, I think there is still a little bit of a resemblance to the original pattern:

Draft 2 (8 shafts)(detail)

Draft 2 (8 shafts)

I wanted to see if I could further reduce the shafts and treadles to 4 and still retain some resemblance to the original design but I couldn’t do it.  I came up with Draft 3 which is completely different but still fits in with this post’s theme of twill tie-ups:

Draft 3 (4 shafts)

If you love twills, especially unusual ones, I recommend the book, Twill Thrills (The Best of Weaver’s), edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

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