Posted tagged ‘Complex Weavers’

Ikat-Inspired Twills Revisited

January 30, 2020

Several years ago I explored “faux” or “false” ikat by designing network drafted twills.  I shared what I learned in a blog post and also in more detail in an article I wrote, “Ikat-Inspired Twill Studies,” published in the Complex Weavers Journal, issue #104 (February 2014).  I decided to come back to this interesting topic and experiment some more.  Here is how it turned out:

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Scarf, cotton, 2020

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Scarf, cotton, 2020 (close-up)

Below is a partial close-up of the draft I designed for this scarf.  I often start with pattern or design lines and then network them.  In this case I also interleaved the networked treadling, and the longest float is 4.  I used a white warp (20/2 cotton, 2 strands together, at 28 epi) and alternating black and blue weft (20/2 cotton, 2 strands together).  The gradual blending of these three solid colors works well, and the overall design reminds me of a waterfall.

Networked Twill – Interleaved Treadling (partial draft for scarf)

Next is another scarf I designed that I tied on to the same warp as the previous one.

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Scarf, Tencel and pearl cotton, 2020

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Scarf, Tencel and pearl cotton, 2020 (close-up)

Below is a partial close-up of the draft I designed for this scarf.  The treadling is networked with no interleaving, and the longest float is 3.  I used lustrous yarns:  8/2 Tencel for the warp, mostly blue with randomly placed green and purple at 28 epi, and 10/2 red pearl cotton weft, all are solid colors.  This scarf is iridescent – the colors appear to change as the angle from which it is viewed changes.  I often see iridescence in nature, such as when the humming birds come in the summer to drink nectar from their favorite red, tubular flowers of the Cardinal Climber vine in my garden.  At times the hummers appear to have a dull, lusterless color, but as they whiz around in the light they keep on transforming into brilliant colors.  If you are interested to learn more about iridescence especially as it relates to weaving, I recommend an informative and inspiring book by Bobbie Irwin, Weaving Iridescence – Color Play for the Handweaver.

Networked Twill (partial draft for Tencel scarf)

I designed many drafts and wove samples before weaving these scarves.  Here’s one of the samples showing both sides of the cloth:

Ikat-Inspired Networked Twill Sample showing both sides, 2020

Below is a partial close-up of the draft for this sample.

Networked Twill (partial draft for sample)

Lastly, below is a draft of an 8-shaft version that I designed, but the ikat effect is too subtle.  I think it’s a nice draft anyway.  Click on it to see it enlarged.

Networked Twill – 8 shafts (draft showing 2 repeats)

I hope you enjoyed this post and are inspired to experiment with faux/false ikat.  Perhaps you might be inspired to design and weave true ikat using dyeing techniques…maybe I should try it someday!

See you next time!

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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.

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.

UPDATE January, 2020:  I wrote another blog post about my new adventures with this interesting topic:  Ikat-Inspired Twills Revisited.

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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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“Fun With Advancing Twills” (My Article)

August 31, 2010

Members of study groups at Complex Weavers are often invited to submit articles to the Complex Weavers Journal.  As a member of the Fine Threads Study Group, I submitted an article about my study from last year and it was accepted!

Here are the contents of my article, hope you enjoy it:

Complex Weavers Journal, June 2010, issue #93

Fun With Advancing Twills

by Eva Stossel

Fine Threads Study Group

My fascination with advancing twills led to some interesting experiments using my weaving software, but I realized that it was necessary to narrow down the variables because the possibilities became overwhelming.  I decided to design different patterns by varying the tie-up only and keeping the threading and treadling constant.  Using an eight-end advancing point draw on 16 shafts and tromp-as-writ treadling, I was thrilled with the intricate and beautiful designs that were produced by different tie-ups.

To weave the samples for the Fine Threads Study Group, I used a tie-up that is a fancy twill pattern (#548 in Oelsner’s book).  Looking at the drawdown I thought this design would be great to use for weaving a fabric with an interesting and playful pattern when viewed close-up as well as at a distance.

I used cotton sewing thread doubled up for the warp and 20/2 cotton for the weft with a sett of 42 epi and approximately 45 ppi.  The longest float is five ends.  The piece was handwashed, steam ironed while still damp with an overall shrinkage of about 4%.

Looking at the finished fabric, I just love the way all those little squares and diamonds grow in and out of each other and that so many of them are unique in their appearance.

“Fun With Advancing Twills” Fabric

“Fun With Advancing Twills” Fabric (detail)

“Fun With Advancing Twills”  Draft


Inouye, Bonnie. Exploring Multishaft Design. Weavingdance Press. 2000.

Oelsner, G.H.  A Handbook of Weaves.  Dover Publications (republication of the original edition published by The Macmillan Company in 1915).  [this classic book is also available online for download in its entirety at]

van der Hoogt, Madelyn.  The Best of Weaver’s: Twill Thrills. XRX Inc. 2004.

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