Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Midwinter Night's Dream: How to Design 4-Color Echo

From this...

To this...

And this...

And this...

And this!

Four-color Echo seems to be at the top of every weavers "To Do" list these days -- chiefly because of the flowing lines and delightful iridescence. There are lots of drafts out there, certainly, and many gifted weavers creating patterns.

But how do they do it? And, more important, how can you do it on your own?

It's all through the magic of weaving software -- in my case, Fiberworks Silver for Mac. Here are some basic steps I've learned in preparing to teach a workshop for the New Hampshire Weavers Guild in April. 

Step 1:
Choose your yarn in 4 colors for your warp. This is not as easy as it sounds! I recommend starting with 10/2 cotton (or something similar in grist). To keep it simple, start with two colors that are analogous (next to each other) on the color wheel or close to it -- in my case, that was orange and yellow. Then move across the color wheel and choose two more analogous (or close to it) colors -- in my case, purple and blue. You'll want four colors that give you a broad chromatic range.

Step 2:
Calculate your sett, width in reed, and number of warp ends. For Echo, choose a sett that is denser than twill but less dense than double weave. So for 10/2 cotton I chose a sett of 36 epi. My warp was 400 ends, giving me a weaving width of about 11 1/6" in the reed.

Step 3:
Now for the designing. Let's work on 8 shafts, which is what I did for my samples. As always with the curves of Echo, you start with a design line, using the Freehand tool on Fiberworks. Here is a sample design line. (I am showing you a different design from the one I wove for the samples, because I don't want to give away my drafts before the workshop.)

Step 4:
Create a parallel threading. On the Warp dropdown menu, click on "Parallel Repeat." Then click on "Extended Parallel," then enter the number 4 in the box that says "Shafts Shift By." Make sure all the other boxes are unchecked, and then click "Apply." You'll get something like this.

Each warp end in the original design line now has a parallel that is four shafts above it. (Sometimes the parallel appears to bounce around. The reason: For a warp end on shaft 8, the parallel thread that is 4 shafts "above" it is on shaft 1. Because we have only 8 shafts, we have to treat shaft 1 as the "9th" shaft, just as we would with a corkscrew twill.)

Step 5: 
Create a 4-end parallel threading. Fiberworks has instructions on how to do this (which you'll find if you hover your cursor over the "Interleave" command in the drop-down menu under "Warp"). Essentially, it involves opening a second draft and cutting and pasting (really, interleaving) between two drafts. I found that a bit complicated, so I tried to do it another way. And it worked! How I did this: Starting with the parallel threading I created in the image above, I clicked once again on the "Parallel Repeat" option in the Warp dropdown menu. Like before, I clicked on "Extended Parallel" -- BUT this time I entered the number "2" in the box marked "Shafts Shift By." (And of course I made sure the other boxes were unchecked.)

Makes sense, doesn't it? For a 4-end parallel threading on 8 shafts, you'll want an interval of 2 between each warp end (interval of 2 x 4-end parallel = 8). So this is how our 4-end parallel threading looks.

Step 6:
Add your colors. For the PC version, you have to add your colors by hand. For the Mac version, you follow these steps: On the Warp dropdown menu, click on "Fill Warp Colors," then scroll all the way down in the box at the top right to select "ABCD." Four colors will appear in the boxes and, for our demonstration purposes, just click "Replace." (You can play with colors to your heart's content once you've read this tutorial.) Here's how our threading draft looks now.

Step 7:
But what does the full drawdown look like? That, dear reader, is for you to determine. From this point on, you can follow the instructions for Echo tieups and treadlings that I laid out in my blog post here (on February 17, 2018), giving you steps to begin designing your own extended parallel threading drafts. But just to give you an idea of how our demonstration drawdown might look, here's one version. (I'm using a blue weft -- and don't forget, if you're working with 10/2 cotton for your warp, you'll want to use a 20/2 cotton -- about half the grist -- for your weft. And also don't forget that your weft colors will have a big impact on the overall look of your fabric.)

It could use some tweaking for sure -- but not bad for starters. The design possibilities are endless! Thanks for reading. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Sett and Re-Sett: Weaving Circles with Echo and Jin

This post is dedicated to Ingrid Boesel, master weaver and, together with her husband, creator of Fiberworks. Ingrid passed away last Friday and weavers around the world will sorely miss her generosity and creativity.

It seems that the more I weave, the more I go back to basics: sett, beat, yarn choices. I think it's important to ask questions all the time, taking nothing for granted.

That's what I've been doing over the past few weeks, weaving up samples for a workshop I'm teaching in April at the New Hampshire Weavers Guild: "Echo and Turned Taqueté for 4 Shafts and More."

Because Echo and Turned Taqueté (now better known as Jin) are warp-emphasis structures, they call for a dense sett: typically more than a twill but less than for double weave. BUT, many folks are weaving 4-color Echo and using a looser sett, even a plain weave sett, because they want to maximize the color effects, creating iridescence by using the same grist yarns in both warp and weft.

For the samples in the photos above, I used 20/2 pearl cotton in the weft and in the warp, which was sett at 36 epi, normally used for plain weave.* I also tried out a variety of weft yarns, all in 20/2 cotton, but using different combinations.

Here's what the pattern looks like woven as Jin, adding a tabby treadling.

Same threading, same sett, different treadling. And the circles are ovals. (Jin, because you're inserting tabby, always stretches out the pattern.)

Here's the drawdown for the Echo design at the top of this post. (Let me know if you want me to share the WIF with you.) I cropped the image, because it's way too big to show any details otherwise. I've used an advancing point twill in the threading and treadling both, so that the circles change in subtle ways across the design.

But back to sett. I really loved the way this fabric turned out, surprisingly, as the sett is way more open than I've ever used for Echo. So, out of curiosity, I decided to re-sley the warp at 48 epi, which is a twill sett for 20/2 cotton. I changed the tieup and treadlings as well because I still wanted rounded shapes.

So here's a different tieup and treading, sett at 48 epi.

Four colors total in warp and weft, and I'm still getting those rounded shapes, although I don't like this design as well.

Next I wanted to see what happened at 60 epi, which is a traditional sett for Echo (denser than twill at 48 epi, but more open than double weave at 72 epi). And I had to rework the treadling again to compensate for the denser sett.

This time I used a 12-weight embroidery thread for the weft (about 10,000 yards per pound), because I wanted a finer yarn. It's a variegated thread in shades of green, which adds a kind of sparkle to the fabric.

Here's what the same design looks like with a weft of 60/2 silk (a sort of coral color, which you see in the middle section of this sample).

So much more to do -- and to show you! I started playing with the treadling, like so:

Which resulted in a completely different look that I like very much -- except I should have tried different colors for the weft (I used gold and red in 20/2 cotton for this sample).

I also tried a networked treadling (achieved by clicking on the treadling dropdown menu in Fiberworks, selecting "Fill Treadling" and choosing the "Redraw on Network" command). It's similar to the circles design in the photo at the top of this post, yet slightly different in that the blocks seem to show more.

And then there's this variation in the treadling:

Which results in this pattern:

I got here very easily, thanks to Fiberworks, again by clicking on the "Treadling" dropdown menu and then clicking on "Fill Treadling" and choosing a 13-thread Extended Twill. (Remember that I'm using the Mac version, so it might be different in the PC version.)

Lots of ways to weave in circles. Please try this at home! And thanks for reading.

*For those who aren't familiar with the Master Yarn Chart, a free PDF download from Interweave, it's a great resource. In it, you'll find the grist and three recommended setts (for lace, plain weave, and double weave) for every yarn that has been used in projects for Handwoven magazine since 2000. When I'm weaving with a new yarn, I use the Master Yarn Chart as a guide and adjust my sett if necessary after that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Teaching Echo -- and Playing with Echo -- at the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center

This is the playing part: for more on this draft, read on.

Let me start by boasting about my home guild, the Weavers' Guild of Rochester. Mind you, Rochester, New York, is not a big city, with maybe one million people in the entire seven-county region. Nevertheless, we have a large and dynamic weaving community. This includes our guild, with nearly 200 members, and our Weaving and Fiber Arts Center, featuring dozens of classes each year in weaving, knitting, felting, dyeing, lace-making, kumihimo, shibori, and lots of other fiber-art techniques.

The Center, as it's known, began in a small one-room studio in January 2002 and now includes two spacious rooms, one for dozens of looms and one for off-loom classes and meetings. Here are a couple of photos, to give you an idea.

More important are the scores of talented fiber artists who come to learn, create, and share. Give them some tools and some yarn and these folks are good to go!

Case in point: Just this past weekend, I taught a workshop there, "One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threading." And sure enough, everybody produced skillful, beautiful samples. Here are some photos.

This above is a 12-shaft Echo design woven by Mary Ann Proia on 10/2 cotton with two colors in the warp, terra cotta and sage green, and three different weft colors. My favorite is the blue on the bottom. This photo shows the sample after it had been washed, which added texture to the pattern.

This is an 8-shaft Echo design woven by Marianne Antczak on a warp of gold and beige. The weft colors changed the appearance of the fabric dramatically: a green weft appears on the top and a soft purple weft is on the bottom.

Above is the same 8-shaft design in Echo (top of the photo) and in Double Weave (bottom) woven by Lee Donely. Her warp yarns were also in brown and tan 10/2 cotton.

Judy Fox wove a 4-shaft Echo design using fuchsia and black 10/2 Tencel as warp yarns. The bottom section uses a turquoise weft and the middle a yellow weft. The top portion, seen only slightly, features a Turned Taquete version of the same threading, woven with a green weft.

The workshop is designed so that you can weave five structures on the same threading: Echo, Turned Taquete, Shadow Weave, Rep Weave, and Double Weave. In the photo above, Nancy Kanniainen has woven Rep Weave on a warp of 10/2 cotton. The center section has warps of olive and teal and the outer borders have warps of teal and sage green.

Above, Amy Parker chose three different color sets for her 8-shaft warp: from left to right, green and navy, beige and purple, and salmon and cranberry. The bottom part of the sample is Rep and the top section is Double Weave.

And then we got to playing, looking at Marian Stubenitsky's book, Weaving with Echo and Iris. Specifically, we wanted to design a pattern of circles, as she shows on page 96, that called for no more than 10 treadles (the design in the book requires 32 treadles because it's Double Weave).

So, this is what we came up with, working together (this is the draft that appears at the beginning of this post, but I've enlarged it). It's not Double Weave, so you need just 8 treadles. (I call this draft "Circles Designed by Amy," because Amy Parker was so good at pointing out just what we needed to do, step by step, as we designed this as a group.)

We started with a profile draft.

Then, using FiberWorks PC, we created an "Advancing Repeat" that repeated 5 times, advancing one shaft up each time, in the "Warp" dropdown menu that listed "Repeat in Threading." It looked like this:

Very cool, yes? Next step, we completed the profile design by adding a straight draw for a tieup and "tromp as writ" (weave as drawn in) for the treadling, but inverted. Using FiberWorks, you can simply draw in (using your mouse) the first curve of the treadling profile, making sure it's exactly like the first curve of the threading profile, but inverted. Now you click on "Repeat in Treadling" under the "Treadling" dropdown menu and in that box, click on "Advancing Repeat" and insert the number 5 in the box that asks for the number of repeats. Here's what we got:

You see the different circle motifs? That's because of the advancing repeat, which shifts the threading patterns up.

Then we decided to do a simple block substitution using FiberWorks. Under the "Tools" menu, we clicked on "Block Substitution." We chose "Classic Weaves" and then "Crackle -- Twill Form." And with that one click, this is what we got.

After changing the warp colors to alternating blue and green (threaded ABABAB, etc.) and then changing the weft color to coral, we had with the colorful design shown at the beginning of this post. Most excellent! We were all very happy!

Except for one problem, immediately noted by Debbie Fister: The motifs are HUGE. Each one is about 170 ends wide. Even if you were threading your loom at 40 epi (not unheard of for 10/2 cotton in an Echo threading), that's more than 4" wide per motif. Something to think about. 

I went home and went back to the drawing board (in this case, the weaving software program) and came up with another, similar design with motifs that were just shy of 120 ends each. So that's 3" wide at 40 epi. And I could show you all the steps in how I got there....

But that's another story for another time ;o) Thanks for reading!