Sunday, December 17, 2017

Looking Ahead to Convergence 2018: Blooming Leaf on 4 Shafts as Echo Weave

Let's start with the Blooming Leaf pattern -- a classic Overshot pattern we all know and love. I hope to use this structure in an Echo Weave workshop I'll teach next summer. 

It's a 2 1/2-day workshop called "One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threading," taking place at Convergence July 6-12 in Reno, Nevada. (Some background: Every two years, the Handweavers' Guild of America sponsors Convergence, a week-long conference that draws weavers and fiber artists from North America and beyond. Go if you can!)

We'll be working on 4 and 8 shafts -- and more, if people wish. For this blog post, I'm focusing on a 4-shaft extended parallel threading, just to give you a taste of what the workshop involves. (Extended Parallel Threading is "weaver-speak" for Echo Weave.)

Here's the basic drawdown we're starting with, based on the Blooming Leaf pattern from Marguerite Porter Davison.

I left out the tabby because we are not weaving Overshot -- but otherwise the 2/2 twill treadling remains the same.

To create Echo Weave you have to double the number of warp ends by using an extended parallel threading. (In Fiberworks Silver, which is the program I use, you click on the heading that says "Warp" and then "Parallel Repeat" in the drop-down menu. Then you click on "Extended Parallel," shafts shift by 2, and "Apply.") This way, the threading for 4, 3, 2, 1 becomes 4, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4, 1, 3 -- that is, every thread has its "parallel" in a pattern that is 2 shafts above it. (The secret is that, on just 4 shafts, the parallel for shaft 3 is shaft 1 -- because there is no shaft 5. Because there is no shaft 5, the next shaft "up" after shaft 4 is shaft 1, and so on.)

This is what you get with a parallel threading for Blooming Leaf, with the shafts shifting by 2.

You can still see the Blooming Leaf -- but there are long warp floats and the pattern looks squished vertically. That's because we are using the original treadling from Davison. To design a treadling for Echo Weave, I look at the original treadling as a design line -- really, as a profile for the treadling we want to use in our weaving. For each pick, I substituted a 4-pick Crackle block. So the first pick -- treadle 4 on our drawdown -- becomes 4 picks: 4, 3, 2, 3. The next pick -- treadle 3 on the drawdown -- becomes 3, 2, 1, 2. Treadle 2 becomes 2, 1, 4, 1. And so on. Here's the result, which I describe as the Blooming Leaf pattern in Echo Weave treadled as Crackle.

Really, this is where the workshop begins! I just wanted to show you how you get there. (Please rest assured that, at least for me, these designs do not come easily. I spend way too much time, it seems, clicking and changing and correcting errors in Fiberworks before I can begin to wrap my head around what is going on and how to come up with a good design.)

There is lots more to the workshop, because everyone will start with an Echo Weave drawdown and then weave Turned Taquete, rep, Shadow Weave and Double Weave -- all on the same threading. That's the beauty of extended parallel threadings: you can use two colors (or more) in the warp for a stunning interplay of color and form and structure.

So here's what the Blooming Leaf pattern looks like in Turned Taquete. There are no floats longer than 3 ends (while there are 4-end-long floats in the Echo Weave) and you get a very tidy, drapey fabric, which is why I like this structure.

And here it is in Shadow Weave. Pretty subtle, but you see the leaf as kind of embossed pattern.

There will be lots more designs to come, as I begin sampling what we will weave in the workshop. Thanks for reading, and see you in Reno!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Designing with Echo Weave: An Advancing Point Twill Makes It Easy

Pictured above: a drawdown for Echo Weave on 8 shafts. While the design appears to have four colors, there are just two colors in the warp and one in the weft. The design is based on a draft of mine that I call "Fun House" because the swirls and swoops remind me of images in a fun-house mirror.

How do you design something like this? Let's start at the very beginning -- which, with computer drafting, means a design line. Here's the one I started with.
Simple enough, right? Concave and convex curves and then curving lines. Based on this, I created an advancing point twill threading, substituting a point-twill block of four or five ends for each square on the design line. Here's what that looked like when finished.

If you look at the first square in the upper-right-hand corner of the design line, this corresponds to the first five ends of the point-twill in the threading (threaded on shafts 8, 7, 6, 5, and 6). The second square in the upper-right-hand corner of the design line becomes the next five ends on the threading (shafts 7, 6, 5, 4, and 5). So every square in the design line represents a block of point twill threading.

Next, I created a parallel threading, so that I could weave Echo Weave. (A parallel threading on eight shafts usually means that every thread in the original single threading will now have a parallel thread -- usually 4 ends above it.) Here's what the advancing point twill threading above looks like when woven as Echo Weave.

You see the parallel lines? That's what gives you Echo Weave. And here's what the entire draft looks like when woven using the pattern of the original point-twill threading, with a twill tie-up of 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2.

There is a long threading pattern, which is hard to see, so here's a detail.

I like it -- and you may too, if you're still reading this! How did I create a parallel threading -- for Echo Weave -- so that there are now two lines of point twill? This is easily done on Fiberworks by going to the drop-down menu under "Warp," clicking "Parallel Repeat," and then clicking "Extended Parallel," shafts shift by 4, and "Apply."

The original point-twill draft looks great on its own, tromp as writ. So why go to all this computer-drafting trouble? 

If you're interested in learning more about Echo threading and color interaction, Marian Stubenitsky's book, Weaving with Echo and Iris, is an invaluable resource. Many of her designs use four parallel threadings in four different colors to achieve what she calls "iridescence." (Add the additional color of the weft, and the results are truly beautiful.) Although my design uses just two colors in the warp and one in the weft, the result is a four-color fabric -- and it's just a one-shuttle weave!

Echo Weave and extended parallel threadings are the subject of my 2 1/2-day workshop at Convergence 2018 in Reno. The official title is "One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threadings." The workshop begins on July 10.

Here's another variation of this drawdown, just to pique your interest.
And here is the same draft, this time treadled as Turned Taquete.

If you've read this far, you need to sign up for the workshop! General registration begins December 6. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Weavers' Guild of Rochester Holiday Sale Starts Tomorrow!

This hand-dyed cotton dress (pattern courtesy of Marcy Tilton) is just one of the items I will have for sale at the Weavers' Guild of Rochester Holiday Sale -- starting tomorrow, Friday, November 3. There will be hundreds of one-of-a-kind items created by our talented group of 170 weavers and fiber artists. The results are truly awesome and it's the biggest fundraiser of the year for our guild.

Come by and come buy! Free parking, free admission. Buy local, buy handmade and avoid the crowds. Below are all the details.

Oh and by the way -- the dress DOES have pockets ;o)