Friday, January 17, 2020

Sampling with Deflected Double Weave -- and Loving It!

Above is a 12-shaft Deflected Double Weave pattern using 10/2 pearl cotton in three colors in both warp and weft: blue, purple, and sage green. An unlikely combination, yes, but that's what I had in my stash -- and I tend to like unlikely combinations.

I've been weaving away on my 16-shaft Toika Eeva, which is a joy to work on because it's a compudobby and I can change the tieup and treadling with a click of a button for every sample I want to weave. This is all in preparation for a workshop for the Teleraña Fiber Arts Guild -- and boy did they do me a favor! I'm not just talking about inviting me. It's really about the request they made: I tend to use wool with Deflected Double Weave and the program chairs gently asked me not to do that. Fact is, they don't have much use for wool in Arizona, other than for rugs ;o)

So I had to wrap my head around designing Deflected Double Weave patterns that could be woven with cellulose fibers and silk, with a lot of pizazz in the design and the option to weave as collapse fabrics. I decided to substitute Colcolastic (a combination of cotton and Lycra that shrinks up immediately in water), woven ribbon (which compresses and moves about when used as weft), wool/stainless steel yarn (all right, it's wool, but just a teeny bit) and gold gimp, which crinkles up and draws fabric in, creating some interesting textures.

Here's the drawdown I used for the sample above.

As I went about sampling, I changed the tieup and the treadling as well as the weft yarns, because the name of the workshop is "Designing with Deflected Double Weave." It's all about experimenting and seeing what happens. Here are some of the samples I wove up.

This is one of my favorites, using this drawdown.

The photo shows you the back side of the draft, which I like better. The collapse effect comes from using a sage-green-colored Colcolastic yarn in the weft for the portion that has the green and black stripes. 

Here's another design sample:

The magenta horizontal stripes are four picks of hand-dyed rayon ribbon, which compresses vertically. Here's what the same sample looks like without the ribbon weft.

As you can see, the rayon ribbon makes a big difference, adding both color and texture. Here's the drawdown for that sample.

Note that the tieup is the same as for the first drawdown in this post. The only variation is the treadling and the use of just two colors in the weft (rather than 4).

So yes, Eeva and I had a lot of fun with these samples! We wove this, using another variation in the tieup and treadling:

And this, using wool/stainless steel yarn as one of the wefts...

And this, using gold gimp as one of the wefts. My theory for why this yarn collapses: because it has a polymer core wound up in a shiny material that includes metal (for the gold color), the polymer curls up a bit when you wash the sample in hot water, while the gold wrapping gets clunky and bends. That's my theory, anyway.

And just because I had so much fun with this pattern, I want to share with you some of the color variations I came up with as I created the original design in Fiberworks. No accompanying text, just lots of color! Remember that these are all the same draft -- demonstrating that Deflected Double Weave is a color-and-effect weave (meaning that the pattern you see is formed by the colors and is quite different from the weave structure itself). There is much fun to be had in choosing colors.

I'm thinking I would like to weave up yardage incorporating all of these colorways across the warp, as almost a color gamp. Which one is your favorite? 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Designing Deflected Double Weave on 8 Shafts

Woven by Amy Parker, the sample above is an 8-shaft design I call "Quilt Squares" because the motifs reminded me of traditional quilt designs. Amy wove this sample for a recent workshop I taught at the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center -- and I love the colors she chose! She even blended some of her green and pink yarns, using two slightly different hues of 20/2 cotton together. This way, the yarns weave as 10/2 cotton but the colors have greater depth and interest.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. This blog post is about designing with Deflected Double Weave. So I'll walk you through how I went about designing the Quilt Squares pattern on Fiberworks.

First, here's the drawdown.

Looking closer, you see that the threading for the big motifs looks like this. (I'm assigning the letters A, B, C and D to these blocks, which correlate with the diagram below this one.)


     A              B         C           D       

Translating the threading above to a block diagram -- better known as a profile draft -- would look like this, using the same letters for the blocks (A, B, C and D). 


      A             B        C          D       

A profile draft is a silhouette or a summary of a threading or treadling, giving you a basic shape that can be translated any number of ways. (As an English Literature major, I can't help but think of synonyms for the words "profile draft" -- such as code, key, shorthand, you get the idea.) Looking at the profile draft above, each square on the grid represents two ends -- one threading unit -- in the threading draft. So starting from the right-hand side of the profile draft, the first square represents shafts 1 and 2, as does the second and the third square. That means the first three squares -- block A -- are threaded 1-2-1-2-1-2, as you see in the threading diagram. The second block in the profile draft, block B, would be threaded on shafts 3 and 4. There are only two squares -- again, two units -- in block B, so the threading there becomes 3-4-3-4.

Deflected Double Weave is a block weave, making it very easy to design based on a profile draft. Once you know what each square in the profile represents, you're good to fill in your threading. 

The next step for me was to assign different colors to the different blocks in the threading, like so:

Blocks A and C are both a melon color, blocks B and D are orange, and then, in the middle of the motif, I added purple in the three blocks of A. 

Next, I went to the "Treadling" drop-down menu in Fiberworks, selected "Weave as Drawn In," made sure that all of the boxes were checked for "Draft," "Colors" and "Thickness," and clicked on "Copy Exactly As Drawn." So now I had my treadling and my weft colors.

Of course, because I had no tieup, the results looked like this, entirely unweavable:

Which brings us to perhaps the hardest part of designing Deflected Double Weave: deciding on the tieup. One way is to use the most minimal tieup there is for Deflected Double Weave, a kind of framework in which every treadle lifts one shaft for every four shafts in the threading. (For 8 shafts, it's a 1-3-1-3 twill tieup.) Here's what that looks like.

And here's what the drawdown becomes using this tieup. It will certainly weave up as Deflected Double Weave, but we still don't have the motifs we want.

I have to confess that at this point I can't quite remember how I decided on the tieup, because sometimes I just play with the blocks one by one to see what works and other times I just plug in a familiar Deflected Double Weave tieup. 

Suffice it to say that there are clear rules for Deflected Double Weave tieups. To begin with, you are always working with just one block in your tieup, which means four squares. (Right? Go back to the threading diagram above and recall that each block weaves plain weave, which is the basis for Deflected Double Weave. And with plain weave, there are four possibilities for the two shafts in each block: shaft 1 up, shaft 1 down, shaft 2 up, shaft 2 down.)

Below, I've outlined one of the tieup sections in blue:

In this case, shafts 7 and 8 will always be down on treadles 1 and 2. That's one option. Another option would be to lift both shafts on both treadles, as you see here outlined in red for shafts 3 and 4.

A third option is to weave plain weave, which looks like this, outlined in orange for shafts 7 and 8.

There are 4 more options, used less often, which look like this:

These are useful when you want warp or weft threads to alternate in floating over or under a block, in that way embracing or containing floats. 

Anyhow, I played with my tieup and came up a very classic Deflected Double Weave plan (the tieup that appears in full above). I'm happy with the results. What's more, I plan on using my "Quilt Squares" draft as one of the options in the next workshop I'm teaching: "Designing with Deflected Double Weave" at the Teleraña Fiber Arts Guild in Phoenix, AZ, February 15-17. I'm looking forward to it! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

No Weaving Software, Just Pencil and Paper: A Primer on Network Drafting

This post is for folks who wonder what network drafting means -- people who hear the term and have only a vague idea of curves and circles -- and want to know more.

(For those who understand the concept and want to dig further, I suggest you buy a copy of Network Drafting: An Introduction, the definitive work on the subject written by Alice Schlein and available by clicking here on Amazon. Schlein is the brilliant weaver and designer who introduced network drafting to the weaving community back in the 1990s through a series of articles in Weaver's magazine.)

Fundamentally, computers and weaving software have brought the world of network drafting to the weaving community at large. Still, the best way to learn how it works, according to Schlein, is to begin with a pencil and graph paper. This way you will understand the basics of network drafting -- instead of not knowing what happens when you tell your computer software to "Redraw on network" after you've created a design line. Also, the pencil and paper method gives you a lot more control if you want to create your own designs.

Moving on: For this blog post, I created a downloadable design grid based on an initial of 4, which is the most commonly used initial. Just click on this link:

Network drafting grid

Here's what it looks like.

If you look closely, you'll notice that there are three empty squares between every gray square, both horizontally and vertically. That means this network is based an initial of 4.

The "initial" can be defined as the foundation or scaffold for your threading. An initial of 4 means that every possible threading on your network is always on the gray squares above, each of which is 4 squares away from the next one, both horizontally and vertically. In essence you have a twill-based threading plan.

(You'll notice that the grid looks something like a twill fabric. I think of it as the twill lines you see on your blue jeans: one warp end up, three weft ends across -- that's how it weaves. Cut the fabric up in a wavy, curving ribbon and thread only the warp pattern on that ribbon and you have the idea of a networked threading.)

Please remember, this tutorial is really just a first step -- a baby step at that. There are so many options and variations, but let's assume you're working with 8 shafts. (Schlein offers many options with 8 shafts alone, but again, this is just a basic tutorial.)

So take your pencil, turn your grid horizontally, and draw a horizontal line across the page. Now draw a second line, this one 8 squares on the grid above the first.

Now draw a curving line across the 8-square-high space you've created on the grid. The line should travel the grid from top to bottom continuously, as with the break you see, which ends at the top and continues at the bottom, as if it were wrapped around the space we're working in. (This is much like an advancing twill line on 8 shafts, which can only go as far as shaft 8, so the next thread can't go on shaft 9 and therefore begins again on shaft 1.)

Now create a second line that is 4 squares above the blue line on your grid. When you can't go above any further, return to square 1 and begin there.

This defines your threading ribbon, which uses an initial of 4 squares for its height. (Remember the ribbon we've cut from our jeans, as mentioned above?) Remember that whenever you reach the top of the black horizontal line, you need to circle around to the first square again. 

Now you want to fill in your ribbon, like so.

At this point I will admit, I'm not much of a graphic artist. But I'm hoping you get the idea.

Finally we create our networked threading, by marking every gray-shaded square that falls within our ribbon. Here's what our example looks like.

Here's what the threading looks like when entered into weaving software. (Keep in mind that I've tweaked our practice ribbon a bit here and there. It's just for the sake of demonstration.)

And here's what our threading looks like when woven as Jin on a 5-thread advancing-point twill.

Not a home run, perhaps, but a good beginning. Remember that networked designs -- as with most weaving designs -- take a good bit of trial and error, lots of playing with the computer, and lots of sampling, before we achieve loom-worthy results.

Thanks for reading!