Monday, March 16, 2020

Weaving in a Time of COVID-19: How About an Online Show and Tell?

My show and tell piece: a 16-shaft Echo design using a 4-color parallel repeat. 
10/2 cotton warp sett at 36 epi. 20/2 cotton weft.

Well, here we are: Confined to our homes for the most part, working online, washing our hands, even avoiding friends and family during this crazy time. Others are working in health care or serving the public or daily taking health risks in order to keep food on the table and because they are good people who believe in what they do. Hardship and worry. Toilet-paper shortages, even!

And yet... So many of us have much to be thankful for. I, for one, am able to wind warps and plan projects that I had no time for just last week. I'm communicating with weaving friends online rather than face to face, but it's better than no communication at all. Weaving matters to me and so do my weaving friends wherever they are!

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Because of social distancing, those of us in the weaving community aren't able to share and talk about what we do, as guild meetings and classes and workshops and gatherings at friends' homes have been shuttered. I miss that already!

So, how about an online show and tell? If you're game, please send me a photo of what's on your loom or what yarns you're planning to use -- or just send me an email about what you're working on or what you're planning. It doesn't have to be weaving: It could also be knitting or spinning or dyeing or sewing or felting or beading or crocheting or any other wonderful technique that falls under the loose heading, "Fiber Art."

My email is under my "Contact" page just under the heading of this blog. Thanks in advance for sharing!

So, to begin, I will do an online show and tell on what I just finished. Looking ahead to Convergence 2020 -- and even that may not take place -- I am teaching an advanced course on Echo and Jin for 8, 12 and 16 shafts. As always, I'm weaving up a lot of samples.

The photo at the top of this post shows one of my favorite samples to date. I've named it "Perfect" because it's symmetrical and, quite honestly, because I created so many poor designs before I came up with this one -- so finally one was perfect!

Here's the drawdown.

Let me know if you're interested and I will send it to you! Here's how it looked woven up.

This is my first sample, treadled as Echo. 

Believe it or not, the colors of the warp are turquoise, red, lime green, and purple. The weft color makes all the difference, even though is a light 20/2 cotton. The weft in the above sample is a teal blue. 

I'll spare you all of the variations among my samples -- unless someone really wants to see them and lets me know -- but I will share two of my favorites.

This one is the same threading, but treadled as Jin. 
Bonus: I was able to name this "Perfect Jin." Get it? Perfection? 

And this version is treadled as Double Weave. I had to re-sley it to 48 epi, 
but it was surprisingly easy to weave.

So there you have it: My online show and tell in this time of social distancing. I hope to hear from you -- but if not, I do understand! Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Jin Is a Tonic

Actually, you can't weave true tabby when you're weaving Jin on an Echo threading. It's more of a half-basket weave, but anyhow....

This post talks about the rewards of Jin, also known as Turned Taqueté, and why it's such a popular structure to weave with, especially when it's woven on an Echo threading.

[First, however, a few credits to share. Kathi Grupp, advertising and marketing manager for the Handweavers Guild of America, deserves applause for starting the meme above, because she was the one who came up with it during a workshop I taught in Atlanta. Thank you, Kathi!

And, since we're talking about Echo and Jin, let's extend thanks also to Marian Stubenitsky, Bonnie Inouye and Margaret Coe, all of whom have made enormous contributions to the storehouse of knowledge in this area -- ever since Alice Schlein first introduced and named the design known as Echo in Weaver's magazine back in the 1990s. To be clear, Jin is an ancient structure, dating back thousands of years, as discussed by Becker in his seminal book, Pattern and Loom. But right now I'm focusing on the gorgeous waving multicolored designs that weavers are creating today.]

So, in Atlanta with Kathi Grupp and members of the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild, we were discussing the popular weave structure known as Jin and how it solves all kinds of float problems when you want to design a viable fabric on an Echo threading.

Let's start with Echo, because that's the threading many folks use in designing Jin. Working with weaving software to design an Echo pattern, often you'll "test" your design with an ascending twill tieup, where half of the shafts are down and half are raised (meaning that when any warp thread in the design is up, its parallel will be down). Your pattern will show on either side, but in different colors. Brilliant! So many weavers love Echo designs, because they offer lots of freedom in creating curves.

Sometimes the test tieup for Echo works beautifully, depending on the threading. But, more often than not, it creates lots of long floats. Like this:

Bonnie Inouye's rule of thumb is that, when you're weaving Echo, you don't want warp floats that are longer than 5 picks (or weft floats that are wider than 5 warp ends). So this design fails by that standard.

What to do? Keep calm and add tabby -- to weave Jin -- which, by definition, will never give you warp floats of more than 3 picks. For that reason alone, Jin is a tonic. Plus, with two or three or four colors in the warp (using an extended parallel threading) and with the right color in the weft, you'll often get iridescence and, sometimes, new and unpredictable colors that are created by combinations of your basic colors in the warp and weft.

Further, I like to say that Jin is a very tidy structure, because of the uniformity of the 3-pick-long warp floats.

Another way to deal with the warp floats in an Echo design, rather than weaving Jin, is to break up the tieup. (I sometimes jokingly say that we are "tabbifying" the tieup, which is another way to "Keep Calm and Add Tabby.")

With this tieup, you're still weaving Echo, but you are limiting your warp floats to no more than 3 picks (and limiting your weft floats to no more than 3 warp ends). I like the way the advancing point twill treadling works to create strong black and purple zig-zagging lines in the design. The colors really dance on the screen, which tells me that it would be worth trying to weave, maybe using similar colors.

Talking about tabby: To repeat, you can't weave true tabby with Jin on an Echo threading. As I mentioned, you wind up with something like a half-basket weave, where one weft floats over two warps. 

Jin is described by John Becker in his book Pattern and Loom as "warp-faced compound tabby." It's warp-faced because of the 3-pick-long warp floats on both sides of the fabric. And it's a compound structure (as is Overshot, for example) because if you remove the pattern wefts, you will still have some kind of ground cloth (made up of the tabby weft shots). A compound weave structure has two things going on at once, as I understand it.

Terminology is a challenge in weaving, almost like another language. That's one of the reasons I write these blog posts: They help me to understand the language of weaving.

Hope this helps you, too. Thanks for reading!

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!