Posts

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

Why Do We Love Complementary Colors?

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Color choices in weaving -- choosing from the untold number of hues in the yarns and dyes available to us -- are among the most valuable decisions we make as weavers. Color can transform a well-known, often repeated weave structure and turn it into something interesting, illuminating, even heartening.  For an example, take a look at the photo above: It's a simple turned twill on 8 shafts, woven with a hand-painted 5/2 Tencel weft on a hand-pained 60/2 silk  warp. To me, the glow of the yarns, combining an electric blue and a coppery orange, makes for a visually appealing fabric. Nothing fancy going on here, really, just a juxtaposition of complementaries. It's amazing to me how complementary colors -- those that lie across from each other on the color wheel -- have such immense appeal to our eyes and spirits. Farbkreis by Johannes Itten, 1961 Nature understands this, of course.  Leaves of green and magenta Blues and rose-golds of a sunset Rose bushes with pink and green Why ar

More Explorations in Extended Parallel Threadings

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Pictured here: a 12-shaft design woven on an Echo threading in 20/2 silk. I call this design "Burano" because it has a lacy look, reminding me of the lace-makers on the island off of Venice.  So let's walk through the steps in creating this design and weaving the different samples in Echo, Jin, Shadow Weave, Rep and Double Weave. (This is exactly what we do in my workshop, "One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threading." I must really like the process, because I keep repeating the format on my own, at home....) First, how to create the design itself? I think I found the original pattern, a twill pattern with elements of a Crackle threading, on Handweaving.net . Can't remember, exactly, because it could also have been on Pinterest . Both are great places to scan weaving drafts for ideas. Here's what the original draft looks like. Intricate, symmetrical, appealing -- reminds me of a butterfly! I starting playing on Fiberworks, ex

Gebrochene, Echo and Jin with Fiberworks: Putting 'The Earl' Through His Paces

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Ah, the old  Weaver's  magazine... such an endless source of inspiration! Recently, I was looking at an issue from 1997 and came upon a story by Marjie Thompson about the source of the above draft, "The Earl's Canvas." (Thanks to Thompson for sharing it with me.) She had given a talk to our guild about this years ago and I never forgot the beautiful silk scarf she wove.  The pattern was discovered in a portrait of John Erskine, second Earl of Mar in Scotland, in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Painted in 1626 by Adam de Colone, it features an Elizabethan noble with a lace ruff and badge of office.  What's interesting to weavers, however, isn't the painting itself, but rather the canvas it's painted on. According to Thompson, a museum curator analyzed the pattern in the 1970s and found that it's actually a 14-shaft Gebrochene design that was probably an old tablecloth.  And what is Gebrochene (pronounced in German "geBROKena")? Lit

Finally... a Design I Like!

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In a way, the design is hard to see, isn't it? That's been the problem. This is a 16-shaft Echo pattern on a 60/2/2 silk/ramie warp that I dyed in two color palettes. (I really love doing this: You paint two warps in complementary colorways and then beam them together on the loom. For this Echo piece, I threaded the warps A/B/A/B, etc., so that the pattern and the colors create a lot of dynamic shifts.) I was really excited as I completed this design, which I call "North Star" in honor of the newspaper edited by Frederick Douglass when he lived here in Rochester, NY, in the mid-19th century. Rochester was a stop on the Underground Railroad and the North Star itself was a beacon for slaves fleeing to the northern states and Canada. It's a beautiful and tragic symbol of hope in dark times. And meaningful, too, at this point in our history. And so, after lots of experimenting on Fiberworks, I settled on a Jin (Turned Taqueté) design. I'm posting it here in black