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Work in Progress: A Future Class on Double Weave for Echo Threadings

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  Above is a detail of a 32-shaft design I'm working on called "Dreaming in Color." It has a 4-color Echo threading and uses 2 additional colors in the weft. I guess that makes it 6-color double weave. Anyhow, that's the beauty of designing for double weave on Echo threadings: With the right tieup, you can create a magical array of shifting colors. And, if you want to take your creation a step further, you can add a weft with a crepe or shrinking yarn to achieve a dimensional weave. In order to achieve texture with these designs, you have to look for "pockets" in the structure. (With some tieups and treadlings, you'll get integrated double weave rather than pockets, meaning that the two layers are interlaced.) To see these pockets and/or interlacements, you have to look at the "structure view" in Fiberworks. Here's what the first design looks like in that simulation. This is kind of a dizzying array of black and white graphics -- but if you

24-Shaft Four-Color Double Weave Sample Extravaganza Scarf

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8 different samples do not a scarf make. Another name for this could be "The Greedy Weaver Scarf." I've tried so many tieup/treadling/weft yarn variations on this 24-shaft threading that I really couldn't settle on just one sample for a scarf. So I wove a scarf using eight of my favorites -- and even that wasn't enough! But I will wear it with pride. Also, I will use it as a resource and a teaching tool. I'm getting more and more immersed in the mysteries of four-color double weave: How the colors shift with the patterns, how the colors change depending on what color they're next to (part of the over-arching theory of simultaneous contrast), how the textures change with active yarns in the weft, how the two sides can be quite different, how much latitude this gives for designing. I could go on! And I will in this blog post ;o) Let's start with the vital statistics: This is a 24-shaft pattern in a two-color extended parallel threading at an interval of

Vive la Différence -- with Differential Shrinkage

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Top photo: handwoven cloth in loom state Bottom photo: detail of cloth after finishing "Loom state" describes fabric that has not yet been finished or dyed. In the textile industry, such fabric is also called "gray" or "griege."  The finishing process is particularly important to weavers because, as I like to say, "It ain't over till it's finished" (with a nod to Yogi Berra). Woven fabric isn't ready to use until it's properly washed. Unfinished or unwashed, it will retain some of the tension that it was under during the weaving process and thus won't feel or behave optimally. Differential shrinkage takes the process one step further, creating a puckered or pleated fabric, using warm water, gentle soap and lots of agitation by hand or machine. With this technique, one block or group of yarns (such as the turquoise 18/2 merino in the photos above) will full and shrink while the other (the 10/2 cotton in gold) doesn't, crea

Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco, Velázquez, Rembrandt, Chagall... and Linen Tablecloths

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Titian, The Supper at Emmaus , circa 1530 Analysis of the pattern of the tablecloth in the painting, courtesy of Helena Loermans A weaving drawdown similar to the tablecloth pattern A few months ago, I wrote a post about a weaving pattern known as "The Earl's Canvas" -- a 14-shaft Gebrochene design that had been discovered in a 17th-century painting of the second Earl of Mar in Scotland. The painting was of less interest to weavers, actually, than the pattern of the canvas itself, which had been a tablecloth, most likely linen. A linen tablecloth! I assumed that the poor artist had no choice but to use a table linen instead of a real canvas. Little did I know.  Recently, through a chance conversation with someone in a workshop I taught, I learned that there are many centuries-old paintings woven on tablecloths in similar patterns -- patterns that are described in weaving terminology as twill diaper design.  My friend pointed me to the writings of Helena Loermans , who re

How Many Samples Does It take to Get It Right?

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Answer: As many as it takes.  Which is kind of discouraging but, as they say, the truth hurts ;o) The sample above is the best one, but it's the final one: it took me five other samples to get there! It's a 6-shaft Deflected Double Weave design that I'm working on. I want to weave what I'm calling a "Puzzle Scarf," just because it looks like a lot of fun. I love the complexity of it and the mystery of how this can be done on 6 shafts. I also love the texture of this piece: It starts out as gauze on the loom, but when you full it with hot water, soap and agitation, it turns into a pretty indestructible piece of cloth. Here's what it looks like on the loom: And here's what it looks like before fulling: The process of fulling for this is fairly detailed, as you have to take the piece out of the water, wring it out and lay it out flat about every half minute in order to make sure that none of the "puzzle parts" stick together. You really want to

Learning Curves

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  Learning curves, plural . For example: In the photo above -- a networked Echo threading on 32 shafts -- can you see two threading errors? I will give you a clue: They're pretty obvious ;o) These are just two of nine, count 'em, nine threading errors in this project so far. I've named it "Learning Curves" because it's the inaugural project for a new-to-me 32-shaft Louet Megado. I am thrilled, to say the least, to have this loom. However -- and this is a big however -- it may be 15 to 20 years old and may have sat unused for the past four years or more. Which means that, not only did I have to up my game to weave on such a complex machine (which meant hours and hours of designing on Fiberworks), but the loom itself had to be reconditioned, basically. (Spouses are useful in this regard, particularly if they are smart and willing to help out.) And learning how to recondition it involved making mistakes, lots of mistakes, in the process of weaving this first desi