Friday, September 14, 2018

Baby Wrap in 16-Shaft Echo Weave and Turned Taquete: On My New Computer Loom!

Echo Weave, which is a border at the beginning and the end of the wrap

A detail

Great news! I have a new (to me) computer dobby loom: a 16-shaft Toika Eeva with a 40 cm weaving width. This Scandinavian beauty came to me by way of my friend and fine weaver Hedy Lyles, who enjoyed this loom but was moving up to 24 shafts.

Here's Eeva, getting dressed. 

A view from the back of the loom

I wound a warp of 10/2 Tencel, 1187 ends, 8 yards long, so that -- at 40 epi -- I would have a weaving width just shy of 30" and plenty of length for sampling before I weave up a 5-yard-long wrap. 

Because I've been teaching a lot of workshops on 4-shaft, 8-shaft, and 12-shaft Echo Weave (and other structures you can weave on the same threading, using different tieups and treadlings), I decided to expand my repertoire to 16 shafts. Here's just a section of the Echo Weave structure I designed, based on an advancing point twill in both threading and treadling.

I can't really show you the entire drawdown because it's much too large to reproduce on this page. Anyhow, it gives you the idea: I broke up the pattern line in several spots because I like the abrupt shift, almost giving the impression of stripes.

The wrap will be Echo Weave for just 24" on each end, with Turned Taquete filling up the center. I did this for two reasons: 1) I love the variations between the two structures and 2) the Echo Weave pattern has warp floats of as many as 5 picks while the Turned Taquete, by definition, never has a float of more than 3 picks. So I figured that the fabric woven in Turned Taquete would be just that much stronger and more durable when it comes to supporting an infant.

Here's what the Turned Taquete design looks like (again, only a portion of it, as the entire design wouldn't show up well at all in this narrow space). Because I'm showing you just a portion, the design looks asymmetrical -- but the pattern is symmetrical.
And here's what the Turned Taquete looks like on the loom:

The other side of the fabric (maybe a bit harder to see)

I find that there is a bit of a learning curve with a computer loom. For instance, if I have a misstep on the pedal that controls the treadling, it's hard to instruct the weaving program to go back. At least for me it is: sometimes the computer wants to loop around and I find myself right back where I started, having to unweave. And then you have to tell the computer to unweave. It's a tricky conversation, at least until I get the hang of it.

The upside is that the weaving goes much faster and is less physically taxing. This is especially helpful with a 20/2 cotton weft, which I'm weaving at about 30 picks per inch.

And another advantage: those 16 shafts! There is a lot to learn and a lot of designing to do and I'm looking forward to it.

Back to the wrap itself: One of the things I love about these two structures is the color dynamics. I deliberately chose an unlikely combination of warp colors -- burgundy and turquoise -- because I knew from experience that the weft alters the overall color of the fabric in surprising ways, even producing the iridescence that Marian Stubenitsky covers so well in her book, Weaving with Echo and Iris. For the weft I chose an orange/coral color, sort of a cantaloupe, because it warms up the warp, so to speak. Below is a photo of samples of different colored wefts, with the cantaloupe-colored weft at the very bottom of the photo. 

This is a very special project for a very special new person in our lives: Our first grandchild, Owen, who is now almost 3 months old. I think it will look good on him, don't you?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Deflected Double Weave and Collapse Weave on 4 Shafts: How to Weave a 'Puzzle Scarf'

I call this a "Puzzle Scarf" because the two layers intertwine in a puzzling way. But the scarf is simple to weave, requiring just 4 shafts. 

The intertwining layers you see are one of the distinguishing characteristics of the structure known as "Deflected Double Weave." Unlike Double Weave -- where the layers are each woven (usually in plain weave) and sit one on top of the other -- in Deflected Double Weave, the layers are alternately plain weave and floats, with the floats being "deflected" around the woven sections. And those floats will alternately twine above and below each other, so that the two layers still form a single piece of fabric.

Collapse Weave techniques add more to the puzzle of this scarf, because without shrinking, it would look like a piece of gauze. The texture is achieved by fulling the yarn, so that the floats create woolen cords (I sometimes call them "dreads") that form interesting patterns. I love the effect and I thought I'd share the pattern on my blog -- because it's surprisingly simple.

For so many of my Collapse Weave projects, my go-to yarn is JaggerSpun 18/2 merino. Collapse Weave calls for fine yarns, and this is a lace-weight yarn at 5040 yards per pound. When it's sett loosely (another rule for Collapse Weave), the merino fulls beautifully as it's washed and agitated with hot water and soap.

Here are the instructions:

Warp: Wind a 4-yard warp (or any length you choose) of 240 ends consisting of five stripes alternating in two colors: [48 ends of color A and 48 ends of color B] twice and ending with 48 ends of color A. 
Sett: 16 ends per inch for a 15" width in the reed
Weft yarns: same two yarns as warp
Picks per inch: 16 

Here's the drawdown:

Looks pretty simple, right? Here's what it looks like as you begin weaving:

First you'll weave at least 8 picks of waste yarn as a base for your fabric. Then leave a space of about 3" before you begin weaving the scarf. (I inserted a stick shuttle to help me create a straight fell line as I began the scarf.) The waste yarn will be cut off when you have finished fulling the scarf, leaving a neat line of cords for fringe.

Begin by weaving 8 picks in plain weave. Then start layer A (mine is in burgundy), weaving 48 picks at 16 ppi. The fabric looks like gauze on the loom. But the good news is you don't really have to worry about neat selvages, since the fabric will shrink so much it won't make any difference!

Next weave your second layer (mine is in blue). Note that the selvages on both sides of this layer are 3" inside the selvages for the first layer. That's another characteristic of Deflected Double Weave: the layers don't have the same selvages. You can see in the photo below where the blue weft starts and ends. 

I recommend cutting off as you complete each color -- unless you don't mind the unruly weft yarns that you carry along between layers when they're not weaving. If you DO choose not to cut off, understand that the second layer (the blue layer here) has to start with the shuttle UNDERNEATH the burgundy layer. Otherwise, your blue weft yarn will float on top of your fabric when all the others are floating underneath.

Here's the easy part: Just keep weaving, keeping in mind that you will have about 30% shrinkage length-wise after you've fulled your scarf. That means you'll want to weave 100" for a 70" long scarf. 

When you've woven your desired length, finish as you started: weave 8 picks of plain weave in color A, then leave about 3" of warp unwoven, then weave 8 picks of waste yarn. (Again, you'll cut this off after finishing so that you'll have fulled cords for the fringe and they will be all neat and tidy.)

Now for the fulling, which is really the toughest part of making this scarf.

Wash, agitate and scrub freely in hot water and gentle dish liquid or shampoo. After the first 3 or 4 minutes of this, take it out of the water and rinse it in cold water to make sure that no parts are adhering to other parts of the scarf. (Although you want the unwoven warps and wefts to make cords, you don’t want them to fuse with other parts of the scarf, which happens when you're not paying attention.) The scarf will look messy and stringy at first, but continue to scrub, agitate, rinse and then stretch it out on a flat surface, pulling the two plain-weave sections horizontally so that they lie flat. (Basically, you are coaxing the fabric into the shape you want.)

You need to repeat this process for a while -- at least 5 or 6 times -- to get the cords to become substantial. The goal is that these floats fuse together, becoming thick and solid so that you can no longer see the individual threads.

When it's fulled sufficiently, lay the scarf on a flat surface to dry. After it's dry, cut off the waste yarn so that the fringe (which should be cords at this point) is all the same length and looks even. Iron the scarf on "wool" setting to get a smooth look, where the cords and plain-weave sections lie flat.

Snip off any single yarns that have not been fulled into cords.

There you have it! You've solved the Puzzle Scarf. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What We Wove at Convergence: Echo Weave, Turned Taquete, Shadow Weave, Rep, Double Weave, and Even Collapse Weave

Echo Weave on 8 shafts on a warp of light blue and dark blue 10/2 cotton. 
The weft is 20/2 cotton in golden orange. Woven by Virginia Lee.

You've heard about Echo Weave, which is based on an extended parallel threading that weaves a warp-emphasis fabric with lots of color and strong patterns. But do you know about all the different structures you can weave on the same parallel threading? In addition to Echo, you can weave Turned Taquete, Shadow Weave, Rep Weave, Double Weave and even Collapse Weave, simply by changing your tieups and treadlings.

I taught a workshop on this subject last week at Convergence, the biennial conference for the Handweavers Guild of America, held this year in Reno, Nevada. "One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threading" looked at all the possibilities I mentioned above. To teach this, I designed 9 different patterns -- 3 for 4 shaft looms, 3 for 8 shafts, and 3 for 12 shafts -- and invited students to choose a pattern and wind a warp using two colors of 10/2 pearl cotton. (I also named all of these patterns, using simple descriptions as a mnemonic device -- otherwise I couldn't remember them all!)

Below is a photo essay showing some of the beautiful samples the folks in my workshop created, with brief descriptions for each. It was a visual feast!

Above on left: Echo Weave sample using 8-shaft pattern, "Many Rivers," in light blue and off-white warp yarns. On right: the same pattern, this time in Double Weave, with top layer woven in off-white 10/2 cotton and bottom layer woven in 18/2 merino. The bottom layer fulls with hot water, soap, and agitation, making the top layer collapse and pucker. Woven by Roberta McKinney.

 Echo Weave in the 8-shaft pattern, "Falling Stars," using different colors of weft yarns in 20/2 cotton. 
Note how the the weft color completely changes the color of the fabric. Woven by Teresa Edmisten.

Left to right: Double Weave and Shadow Weave samples woven on 8 shafts in the "Fun House" pattern. 
Woven by Judith Rees.

 Clockwise, starting from top left: Echo Weave,
Double Weave, and Rep Weave on a 4-shaft pattern called "Op Art."  Woven by Diana Abrell.

Rep Weave in the "Fun House" pattern on 8 shafts. Woven by Virginia Lee. 

Shadow Weave on 8 shafts in the "Falling Stars" pattern. I think this was woven 
by Rachelle Weiss -- my apologies for not knowing for certain.

 Above, the 8-shaft "Fun House" pattern on a warp in two shades of blue for warp yarns. 
The red weft creates the impression of 4 different colors in the fabric. Woven by Judith Rees.

The two photos above: front and back of the "Falling Stars" pattern on 8 shafts in Double Weave. 
The warps alternate between a golden yellow and a hand-painted yarn in shades of green and blue. Woven by Sharlet Elms.

The two photos above: front and back of Collapse Weave in the 8-shaft "Falling Stars" pattern, woven as Double Weave. The weft alternates between 10/2 cotton in gold (front) and 18/2 merino in purple (back). With washing, soap, and a lot of agitation, the merino fulls on the back, making the layer on the top collapse into pleats. Woven by Sharlet Elms.

"Many Rivers" design woven on 8 shafts. Pictured from top to bottom: 
Echo Weave, Shadow Weave, and Turned Taquete. Woven by Virginia Glenn.

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: 8-shaft "Falling Stars" pattern in Shadow Weave, 
Double Weave, Rep Weave, and again in Double Weave. Woven by Ruth Ronan.

Blooming Leaf pattern on 4 shafts woven as Turned Taquete. Woven by Sharolene Brunston.

Above, top to bottom: "Fun House" pattern for 8 shafts. The top two samples are woven using a different Echo Weave tieup and treadling from the bottom 4 samples. The bottom 4 samples are all the same tieup and treadling for Echo, but using different colored wefts. The warp yarns are light blue and turquoise. Woven by Carie Kramer.

Thanks for reading! And many thanks to the staff of HGA for putting together another wonderful gathering of the clan!