Posted tagged ‘weaving drafts’

Woven Moiré Samples

May 29, 2018

I read Verda Elliott’s interesting article, “Woven Moiré: a Fabric that is About a Fabric,” when it was first published in Weaver’s magazine issue #20 in 1993.  I have been curious about woven moiré ever since I read this article, and I finally decided to give it a try.  Sadly, Verda passed away in 2009 but her inspiring work lives on.

In this article, Verda describes how one of the ways commercial moiré fabrics are made is by physically pressing a moiré pattern into the face of the fabric with rollers that have a moiré pattern engraved on them using pressure and heat.  But Verda wanted to achieve a moiré effect in a woven structure so she used a divided draft, superposing two twills.  I think she used the word “superpose” rather than “superimpose” because it’s a more scientific term.  I followed Verda’s instructions and wove a few moiré samples using her drafts from the article and then designed my own drafts and wove some more samples.  In this post I’ll be sharing my moiré experience with photos, drafts and notes.

One of Verda’s drafts is for a moiré evening bag that I used to weave Sample #1 below.  The photo shows the mostly weft-faced front and the mostly warp-faced back.  Verda’s draft has a straight and an undulating twill threaded alternately – one twill on odd warp ends and the other one on even warp ends, and it has alternate treadling as well.  To weave the fabric for her evening bag she used shiny rayon yarns that work really well for creating a moiré effect.  I used yarns that are not as shiny as rayon – white 10/2 pearl cotton for the warp at 28 epi and blue and tan 5/2 pearl cotton for the weft.  The finished cloth is fairly stable and somewhat thick with areas of very long floats among areas of firm plain weave.

Woven Moiré Sample #1, pearl cotton, showing front and back, 2018

Sample #2 below is my own design.  This time I used white 20/2 rayon for the warp at 40 epi and purple and orange 5/2 pearl cotton for the weft.  The floats are not as long as in Sample #1, but still long:  9 in the front and 17 in the back.  But surprisingly the finished cloth is very stable.

Woven Moiré Sample #2, pearl cotton, 2018

Below are different views of a partial draft for Sample #2.  I  like using straight and undulating twills, but Verda notes that you can also use other types of twills like point twills.  In this draft each twill uses its own threading, treadling, and tie-up with a total number of 15 shafts and 15 treadles.  Verda recommends an odd number of shafts because it produces a better moiré effect.  Most moiré drafts are very long and this draft is also too long to post a full repeat of it here.  I thought of using Fiberworks’ “interleave” feature to generate the draft, but it doesn’t seem to work with an odd number of shafts and treadles.  So I did it manually with the help of the “copy” and “paste” features.  If you have weaving software and would like the WIF file for the complete draft let me know.

Woven Moiré Partial Draft for Sample #2 (front)

Woven Moiré Partial Draft for Sample #2 (back)

Woven Moiré Partial Draft for Sample #2, (front, interlacement view)

Next are two samples I wove from another one of Verda’s drafts.  Samples #3A and 3B are front and back of the same sample using alternating black and white 20/2 cotton for the warp, and alternating purple and tan 20/2 cotton for the weft.  The sett is 40 epi.  In this sample, I think the mostly weft-faced front and the mostly warp-faced back are both interesting.

Woven Moiré Sample #3A, cotton, 2018

Woven Moiré Sample #3B cotton, 2018

Sample #4 below uses the same threading as Sample #3A/B but the 20/2 cotton warp is all white, the 20/2 cotton weft is all black, and the sett is closer at 54 epi.  There is something very different about this sample – both twills are woven simultaneously by using 2 treadles at the same time rather than alternate treadling.  The photo shows only one side, but both front and back are mostly warp-faced and look similar.

Woven Moiré Sample #4, cotton, 2018

I was curious about the French word moiré, so I looked it up online and found several meanings.  From the ones referring to moiré textiles I really like “watered silk” and “cloth, especially silk, with a pattern on the surface that looks similar to waves on water.”  In general, moiré is more commonly known as “a pattern seen when 2 geometrical patterns such as grids are visually superimposed.”  I have seen photos of such a moiré effect when 2 screens are superimposed and here’s one I captured with my camera:

Moiré Effect – 2 screens superimposed

That’s it for moiré!  See you next time!

UPDATE June 6, 2018:  Marilize van der Merwe sent me photos of her beautiful woven moiré work that she is kindly willing to share with everyone.  Below are a few of the photos, thank you Marilize!

In the photo below Marilize used white mercerized 20/2 cotton for the warp and beige and green Nr. 8 crochet yarn for the weft and the finished fabric is for a slightly puffed head board for her guest room:

Woven Moiré on the loom by Marilize van der Merwe, cotton warp and weft

In the next photo Marilize used white 20/2 mercerized cotton for the warp and white and gold novelty crochet acrylic yarn Nr. 8 for the weft and the finished fabric is for lined evening bags:

Woven Moiré by Marilize van der Merwe, cotton warp and novelty yarn weft

In the last photo below Marilize used white 20/2 mercerized cotton for the warp and 4-ply purple knitting yarn for the weft and the finished fabric is for decorative fashion blanket throws for the bed with a plain chenille lining on the back to cover the long floats in the warp:

Woven Moiré by Marilize van der Merwe, cotton warp and knitting yarn weft

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Lampas!

January 5, 2018

I learned that lampas is a type of double weave with many possible variations.  There are variations that have some areas with “pockets” between layers and variations with “tied” layers that have no pockets, and different yarn sizes can play an important role in lampas.  My experience with this weave comes from studying Alice Schlein’s enlightening e-monograph, Lampas for Shaft Looms.  This monograph is a real treasure, covering just about everything you always wanted to know about lampas including block, straight, and networked threadings, even pick-up lampas, and much more.  I was searching for a new challenge and this was it!

I started out by weaving a few basic “easy” samples of a 2:1 warp ratio of plain weave in both the primary and secondary cloth.  Then I tried something a little more challenging and came up with this:

Lampas Pillow (4 blocks, tied), cotton, 2018

Lampas Pillow (4 blocks, tied), cotton, 2018 (close-up)

My design for this pillow began with a profile draft of 4 threading and treadling blocks:

Profile Draft for Lampas Pillow (4 blocks)

After inspecting all my samples, I decided to use the following specs to weave tied lampas cloth to make the pillow:  warp ratio of 2:1 plain weave for the primary warp and 3-end straight twill for the secondary warp.  There are no pockets at all in the tied version so the cloth is more stable.  I created the draft below (front view for my rising shed treadle loom, using 11 shafts and 9 treadles) that shows two repeats of each threading block (9 units per block) and one repeat of each treadling block (12 units per block).  For this project I repeated each threading block two times and each treadling block also two times, manually substituting the corresponding blocks in the profile draft.  The tie-up shows a skeleton tie-up and 2 treadles have to be pressed at the same time for each weft shot.  I wove it this way and it was actually a lot of fun!  In Fiberworks you can use block substitution to automatically generate a thread-by-thread draft of several types of lampas from a profile draft, and you can choose a normal, skeleton, or liftplan tie-up.  But none of the types of lampas listed was what I wanted so I did the substitutions manually.

Threading and Treadling units (4 blocks, tied) used for Lampas Pillow

A few notes about how I wove the cloth for the pillow:  primary warp – 10/2 light green perle cotton, secondary warp – 40/3 orange quilting cotton, primary weft – 20/2 (2 strands together) beige unmercerized cotton, secondary weft – 5/2 coral pink, purple, and yellow perle cotton; warp ends per inch – 30 (3 per dent in 10-dent reed, 2 primary and 1 secondary per dent).  While the coral pink weft is loom-controlled, the purple and yellow wefts are inlaid by hand.  The cloth was finished by hand washing, air drying, and steam ironing.  The finished cloth is about 26 inches long and 21 inches wide.  The close-up photo of the pillow shows the pattern exactly as it appeared from the front of the loom as I was weaving while the pillow on the sofa is on its side so the pattern is turned.

The photo below is a close-up of a lampas table runner that I designed and wove showing front and back.  I like both sides equally and use it either way.  It’s also 2:1 tied plain weave and 3-end straight twill with the same threading but different tie-up and treadling than the pillow.

Lampas Runner (4 blocks, tied), cotton, 2018 (close-up of front and back)

Next are two photos, front and back of the same sample, illustrating 2:1 plain weave in both the primary and secondary cloth.  The bottom half of each photo shows tied lampas and the top half of each shows untied lampas.  I find the subtle differences very interesting.

Lampas Sample (front and back)

I was delighted when I read in Alice’s monograph that Theo Moorman’s inlay weavings can be considered to be lampas because I explored and wrote a post about the Moorman Inlay Technique some time ago.  Here’s a photo of something I found in my stash of things I wove long ago – a little bag with fabric strips used as the inlay weft:

Moorman Technique – bag woven with fabric strips for inlay pattern weft, 2003

This has been another enjoyable and exhilarating weaving experience!

Happy New Year 2018!

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Networked Double Weave Pillow

September 4, 2017

I find the blurred edges of the patterns in networked double weave subtle and interesting.  I also like the clear, sharp edges of the patterns in traditional patterned double weave.  In this post I’m delighted to share photos, drafts, and notes of a plain weave, networked double weave pillow that I recently designed and wove as well as photos of other double weave projects I worked on this year.

The pillow project started out with pattern lines that I designed and then networked (initial 4) using Fiberworks weaving software.  I then played around with the resulting networked threading and treadling drafts, tried different twill tie-ups in case I decided to weave my yardage as a networked twill, and then tried them with double weave tie-ups in case I decided to weave it as a networked double weave.  Eventually I had to make a decision and the winner was a networked double weave draft that I used to weave this fabric from which I made the pillow:

Networked Double Weave fabric and pillow woven on 16 shafts, cotton, 2017

Networked Double Weave fabric woven on 16 shafts, cotton, 2017 (close-up)

The warp and weft are both 20/2 cotton, 2 strands used together, and the sett is 36 epi and about 37 ppi.  I wet finished the fabric by washing by hand, hanging to dry, and steam ironing while the fabric was still slightly damp.  I sewed the pillow as a one-piece envelope pillow.  I’m not great at sewing so I searched online and found a video on “How to make an envelope pillow cover” by CraftyGemini that was clear and easy to follow.

Here are images of the 16-shaft, networked double weave draft showing one side, the other side, and a close-up of one section of the draft (let me know if you would like the WIF file):

Draft for Networked Double Weave showing one side

Draft for networked double weave showing other side

Partial Draft for Networked Double Weave – close-up of one section (interlacement view)

A few years ago I learned how to design double weave tie-ups using Photoshop Elements, thanks to Alice Schlein’s amazing book, The Liftplan Connection (Designing for Dobby Looms with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements).  I weave on a 16-shaft, 40 inch wide, Macomber treadle loom, and found things in Alice’s book that I can learn and apply even to my treadle loom.  It’s also so much fun!  Here’s the double weave tie-up I used for the pillow that I designed with Photoshop Elements:

Double Weave Tie-Up designed with Photoshop Elements

A more challenging networked double weave project that I designed and wove is this wall hanging that I plan to submit to my weavers guild annual exhibit next year:

Networked Double Weave Wall Hanging woven on 16 shafts, cotton, 2017

Networked Double Weave Wall Hanging woven on 16 shafts, cotton, 2017 (close-up)

Last but not least, I wove a traditional double weave runner as a gift for friends of mine and of my husband’s who are antique dealers of early American folk art.  It’s a 12-shaft, 3-block double weave.  I generated the draft with block substitution from profile draft No. 169 that I found in Mary Meigs Atwater’s classic book, The Shuttle-Craft Book of American Hand-Weaving, first published in 1928.  Below are photos of this runner, notice on the close-up the clear and sharp edges of the pattern as compared to the more subtle, unclear edges in the pillow and wall hanging:

Double Weave Runner, cotton, 2017 (woven from Atwater’s 3-block profile draft No. 169)

Hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you next time!

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Warp Rep: Variations on a Theme

January 26, 2017

While weaving a pair of warp rep (warp-faced rep weave) runners, I was already imagining weaving another one.  So I did try a variation and a different color.  Then I thought it would be interesting to weave another variation for a belt.  That turned out to be a lot of fun.  These are the projects that I will be writing about in this post.

I’m grateful to Rosalie Neilson whose articles about warp rep in Weaver’s magazine have taught me the basics and inspired me to develop my own designs.  I list her articles and other references in a post about warp rep that I did some time ago.  In this post, Rosalie’s article in Weaver’s #11, “Warp Rep: 8 Shafts, 8 Blocks,” is the one I used as a reference for my current projects, especially her warp rep sampler on pages 21-22.

For the pair of runners I used 20/2 cotton (2 strands together) in the warp, alternating purple and ecru, at 60 epi (6 per dent in a 10-dent reed), and for the weft I alternated a thick purple cotton with a thin 20/2 purple cotton:

Warp Rep Purple Runners, cotton, 10 x 24 inches, 2017

Warp Rep Purple Runners, cotton, 10 x 24 inches, 2017

Warp Rep Purple Runner, cotton, 2017 (close-up)

Warp Rep Purple Runner, cotton, 2017 (close-up)

I designed the draft for the purple runners by starting with threading and treadling pattern lines, and with the help of weaving software and what I learned from Rosalie’s article, I came up with this final draft:

Draft for Warp Rep Purple Runner

Draft for Warp Rep Purple Runner

Partial Draft for Warp Rep Purple Runner (interlacement view)

Partial Draft for Warp Rep Purple Runner (interlacement view)

In the above drafts, dark and light colors alternate in the threading (except in the borders which are one color), and thick and thin wefts alternate in the treadling.  A complete thread-by-thread draft would be too lengthy, therefore this draft shows only 2 repeats of each 2-end threading block.  I actually repeated each 2-end threading block 8 times for a total of 16 ends per block (except the borders which have a total of 32 ends on each side), while the 2 repeats of each 2-weft treadling block for a total of 4 weft shots per block worked out fine just as it is in the draft.  I also used floating selvedges.

These are the 8 threading blocks on 8 shafts:  (1,5), (2,6), (3,7), (4,8), (5,1), (6,2), (7,3), (8,4).

These are the 8 treadling blocks on 16 treadles:  (1,2), (3,4), (5,6), (7,8), (9,10), (11,12), (13,14), (15,16).

Happy with the way the purple runners turned out, I was ready to weave another variation.  I kept the same threading and treadling and played around with the tie-up until I came up with another pleasing pattern.  I decided to use beautiful 5/2 pearl cotton, coral and ecru colors for the warp and a thick and thin cotton for the weft of colors similar to the border color.  I resleyed the remaining warp on the loom to 40 epi, 4 per dent in the same 10-dent reed, and tied on my new pearl cotton warp.  Here’s how it turned out:

Warp Rep Coral Runner, pearl cotton, 14 x 25 inches, 2017

Warp Rep Coral Runner, pearl cotton, 14 x 25 inches, 2017

Warp Rep Coral Runner, pearl cotton, 2017 (close-up)

Warp Rep Coral Runner, pearl cotton, 2017 (close-up)

The draft for the Coral Runner is exactly the same as for the Purple Runners except that the tie-up is different.  Also, you may notice in the interlacement view of the draft below that some warp ends are side by side under the same wefts.  In the draft, these dark and light colors appear to be in the right order, but during weaving they can shift positions and then they will appear like a mistake in the woven cloth.  If this happens, you can easily shift them back into place manually as you weave along and they will stay there.

Draft for Warp Rep Coral Runner

Draft for Warp Rep Coral Runner

Partial Draft for Warp Rep Coral Runner (interlacement view)

Partial Draft for Warp Rep Coral Runner (interlacement view)

While still in warp rep mode, I also wove a belt using 5/2 pearl cotton for the warp and a thick and thin cotton for the weft.  For weaving a narrow width, I wound the weft yarns on stick shuttles and beat the weft in with the edge of the shuttle.  The sett for the belt is 48 epi, 8 ends per dent in a 6-dent reed, closer than the 40 epi I used for the Coral Runner.  I finished one end of the belt by machine stitching twice and then blanket stitching by hand with the pearl cotton.  I sewed D-rings into the other end for the buckle.  This is one of the first belts I ever did.  Here it is:

Warp Rep Belt, pearl cotton, 2 x 36 inches, 2017

Warp Rep Belt, pearl cotton, 2 x 36 inches, 2017

The diamond patterns for the belt require fewer treadles than the runners.  I repeated each 2-end threading block 8 times, same as the runners, except that each border has 6 dark ends and 6 light ends.  I followed the treadling exactly as in the draft below:

Draft for Warp Rep Belt, 2017

Draft for Warp Rep Belt, 2017

With a little bit of warp left on the loom from the belt, I couldn’t resist to weave this:

Warp Rep Bookmark, 2017

Warp Rep Bookmark, 2017

My favorite book about weaving narrow belts and bands is Mary Meigs Atwater’s classic, Byways in Handweaving, An Illustrated Guide to Rare Weaving Techniques.  It is a real treasure filled with illustrations and techniques from around the world.

OK, that’s all for warp rep.  If you would like the wif file for any of the drafts in this post, let me know.

See you next time!

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Four-Color Double Weave Samples

September 21, 2016

Learning to design and weave four-color double weave (4cDW) has kept me mesmerized for the past few months.  I studied Chapter 3 on 4cDW in Marian Stubenitsky’s fascinating book, Weaving with Echo and Iris, and tried to sort out which 4cDW methods and variations I can use to design drafts with Fiberworks that I can weave on my 16-shaft, 18-treadle, Macomber loom.  It turns out that my favorite method is the one Marian describes on pages 88-91:  “Eight Pattern Blocks and a Short Tie-Up” using 8 shafts and 16 treadles.  With this method you can design some amazing 4cDW patterns where the plain weave layers are integrated rather than being separate.  After some trials and errors I gained confidence and even tried some variations of my own.

I learned that in 4cDW two alternating colors throughout the warp and two other alternating colors throughout the weft produce four different areas of color whereas in traditional double weave they produce only two areas of color.  Also, in traditional double weave there are distinct layers with pockets between them, while as I mentioned before, in 4cDW it’s possible to have the layers integrated so that there are no pockets.  I experimented with these different methods and following are a few of my samples and drafts.

I designed and wove Sample #1 below on 8 shafts and 10 treadles.  Marian’s “short” tie-up is 16 treadles and her “long” tie-up on page 94 is 32 treadles with eight different color blends!  My simple Sample #1 is an integrated 4cDW.  The longest float is 3.  I used 20/2 cotton (2 strands together) at 36 epi (a little too close perhaps) but with a firm beat got about 34 ppi.  The warp colors are blue and orange/brown and the weft colors are red/pink and green, all four hues are fairly close in value, not too light and not too dark.

Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #1, 8 shafts & 10 treadles, cotton, 2016

Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #1, 8 shafts & 10 treadles, cotton, 2016

Here’s the draft for the above sample with a close-up to help you see that the layers are integrated (let me know if you would like the wif file for this draft):

Draft for Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #1

Draft for Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #1

Draft for Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #1 (close-up, interlacement view)

Draft for Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #1 (close-up, interlacement view)

Below is integrated 4cDW Sample #2 that I designed and wove on 8 shafts and 16 treadles.  The sett and yarn size are the same as for Sample #1, and the longest float is 3.  I wanted more contrast so in this sample the warp colors are dark navy blue and white and the weft colors are a light blue and light brown.

Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #2, 8 shafts & 16 treadles, cotton, 2016

Four-Color Double Weave (integrated) Sample #2, 8 shafts & 16 treadles, cotton, 2016

After experimenting some more, I came up with Sample #3 below, designed and woven on 12 shafts and 16 treadles, and the longest float is 3 here too.  This is 4cDW but it’s not integrated, there are distinct plain weave areas with pockets in between them.  I used 20/2 cotton, single strands this time at 56 epi and about 50 ppi.

Four-Color Double Weave Sample #3, 12 shafts & 16 treadles, cotton, 2016

Four-Color Double Weave Sample #3, 12 shafts & 16 treadles, cotton, 2016

I think I learned a few things about 4cDW, but I’m still curious so I searched online to see what else I can find.  I came across a very pretty and lively sample on Weaverly that Alice designed with Photoshop and wove on 24 shafts.  There are also photos of a few very interesting and also very pretty pieces on Marian’s gallery page.  More photos and downloadable wif files are available from Complex Weavers (June 2015 Journal gallery) that are great too, you will find them near the bottom of the page.  Edna, a member of the Complex Weavers Fine Threads Study Group that I’m also a member of, did her study this year on 4cDW using only 4 shafts, and I’m fortunate to have her lovely woven sample.  Edna shares photos and downloadable wif and pdf files of her sample at this link:  “Fun with Four Color Doubleweave.”

See you next time, when the weaving muse visits again!

UPDATE 2018:  Ditte Lokon sent me this photo of a bath mat and towels she wove using 8/4 unmercerized cotton at 24 epi,  it’s a lovely interpretation of my Four-Color Double Weave Sample #1:

Ditte Lokon’s Four-Color Double Weave Mat and Towels, 2018

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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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Warp Painting: Turned Taqueté & Plain Weave

December 5, 2015

A painted warp is beautiful even before you weave anything with it!  I tried warp painting with Turned Taqueté since I already explored this weave and variations of it this year.  As an afterthought I also tried it with plain weave and the awesome result turned out to be anything but plain.

My first experience with fabric and yarn dyeing and painting comes from a surface design course I took many years ago at Parsons in NYC taught by Jason Pollen.  It was then that I learned about fiber reactive dyes and the different ways that they can be used.  I later did a lot of immersion dyeing (dip dyeing) of yarns and dabbled a bit in warp painting too.  It’s only recently when I started working with Turned Taqueté that I was inclined to try warp painting again.

I use Pro (Procion) MX fiber reactive dyes that are good for cotton, Tencel and other plant based fibers as well as for silk.  They can also be used for wool but that requires a different procedure.  For my warp painting projects I basically follow the directions on Pro Chemical & Dye company’s instruction sheet, “Warp Painting on Cotton and Silk.”  I follow all the recommended safety guidelines including using a dust respirator when I’m handling powdered dyes.  In deciding which basic colors to get that can be mixed to create my own palette, I consulted Paula Birch’s superb website, “All About Hand Dyeing,” where you can find a wealth of dyeing information.

Following are photos, a draft, and notes about the two painted warp projects that I designed and wove.  One is a 12-shaft Tencel, Turned Taqueté scarf and the other one is a cotton, plain weave scarf.

Painted Warp Turned Taqueté Scarf

The finished scarf:

Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf, 12 shafts, Tencel, 2015

Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf, 12 shafts, Tencel, 2015

Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf, 12 shafts, Tencel, 2015 (close-up)

Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf, 12 shafts, Tencel, 2015 (close-up)

The scarf in progress on the loom with insets showing the painted warp in the plastic bin I used to paint it in covered with plastic wrap, and on the drying rack:

Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf, 12 shafts, Tencel, 2015 (work in progress)

Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf, 12 shafts, Tencel, 2015 (work in progress)

In many of the articles that I read about warp painting with fiber reactive dyes, it’s recommended that the warp be laid down on a table lined with plastic wrap, painting it, rolling it up in the plastic wrap and letting it “cure” or set for about 24 hours in a closed container.  Melissa’s Tangible Daydreams blog post, “Tutorial: Warp Painting,” is excellent in describing this process especially for long warps and has other very helpful information.  As you can see in the photo above, I did it a little differently – because my warp was not very long I painted it inside a long plastic bin, covered it with plastic wrap, closed the bin and let it set for 24 hours, washed it afterwards many times as recommended in the instruction sheet, and then let it hang to dry on a rack.  If you want a more precise pattern painted on the warp then you will need to stretch out the warp and use a dye thickener to prevent the colors from running into each other.  If you want the opposite effect so that the colors flow and run into each other you can dip dye sections of the warp.  I think what I did is somewhere in between these two methods.

I designed the Turned Taqueté draft shown below on 12 shafts for this scarf.  If you use weaving software and would like me to email the WIF file to you for your personal use, I’m happy to do so, just let me know.  I shared this draft with a fellow weaver and you can read her humorous take on it at this link.

Draft for 12-shaft Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf

Draft for 12-shaft Painted Warp Turned Taquete Scarf

A few notes about how I wove this scarf:  I wound two warps of 8/2 white Tencel, one painted with several colors that I mixed as I went along and dip dyed the other warp in a light grey color.  I also dip dyed a skein of 20/2 white Tencel in the same light grey to be used as the weft.  The sett is 40 epi and about 30 ppi woven with a firm beat.  The scarf was wet finished by washing by hand, air dried completely, and then steam ironed.

UPDATE March 2016:  I am fortunate to have received the Complex Weavers award for this painted warp Turned Taqueté scarf at the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers “Celebration of Fibers” annual member exhibit, March 11 – March 20, 2016.  The photos of the scarf are posted on the Complex Weavers website gallery awards page and the wif file can be downloaded from there.

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf

I had some leftover dye solutions and thought that I may as well use them up so I wound a warp using some white cotton slub yarn from my stash, washed it well to remove any sizing that would hinder the dyes from reacting with the yarn, and wove it up in plain weave using a thin, mauve colored rayon bouclé yarn (I think) for the weft.  The sett for this scarf is 18 epi and about 16 ppi, woven with a light beat.  After wet finishing the same way as the other scarf, I was amazed at how well it draped as plain weave can be a little stiff, but I think that the combination of these yarns and the open weave helped make it drape nicely after wet finishing.

The finished scarf:

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf, cotton & rayon, 2015

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf, cotton & rayon, 2015

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf, cotton & rayon, 2015 (close-up)

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf, cotton & rayon, 2015 (close-up)

Here’s how it looked as I was weaving it on the loom, notice how open the weave is before wet finishing:

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf, cotton & rayon, 2015 (work in progress on the loom)

Painted Warp Plain Weave Scarf, cotton & rayon, 2015 (work in progress on the loom)

And here’s the lovely painted warp for this scarf as it’s drying on the rack (I painted the colors more randomly than I did for the other scarf):

Painted Warp for Plain Weave Scarf, (drying on the rack)

Painted Warp for Plain Weave Scarf, (drying on the rack)

The inspiration for the colors I chose to use for both of these scarves came from the natural beauty in our backyard this past autumn:

Inspiring autumn colors - purple Beautyberry, red Burning Bush, yellow Pawpaw, green Pine, brown earth & blue sky

Inspiring autumn colors – purple Beautyberry, red Burning Bush, yellow Pawpaw, green Pine, brown earth & blue sky

Best wishes to all my readers for a safe and joyful holiday season and for a happy and healthy New Year.

UPDATE December 13, 2015:  This year I had the privilege of once again showing my work at the Jill Beech open studio.  Jill is a ceramic artist and sculptor whose beautiful and inspiring work I greatly admire.  There’s an article about Jill and her work in the December 9, 2015 Unionville Times where my name is also mentioned, “Art Watch: Jill Beech’s natural curiosities.” heart

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