One year after taking a collapse-weave workshop with Ann Richards at the Handweavers Studio and Gallery in London -- I continue to try new structures, sampling and sampling to learn what works. And what doesn't work.
Deflected double weave has lots of possibilities as a dimensional weave structure when you use two different kinds of yarns -- wool and silk, for example -- so that one layer shrinks and the other doesn't. Cloque (lye shrinkage using cellulose fibers) is another wonderful collapse-weave technique to use with deflected double weave. More on that in the year to come, I hope!
With these samples, I used an 8-harness structure of my own design, derived from other patterns I've seen and lots of reading. My yarns were 18/2 Superfine Merino from JaggerSpun and 20/2 spun silk, both sett at 36 ends per inch. I tried five different treadlings. Pictured above are comparative photos of the first sample: on the top, before washing and agitating with mild soap in warm water, and on the bottom, after washing.
In this case, I definitely like the first sample better! It shows all the patterns clearly. The second photo gives you an idea of how differently the patterns shrink up, with some drawing in more than others. Not a good idea for a handwoven fabric. Also, the silk selvages (in white) were bumpy and uneven and did nothing to enhance the piece.
Still, I learned a lot. So, for the second sample, I tried a technique I had seen other weavers use with differential shrinkage: Add a fairly wide selvage in plain weave using yarns that don't shrink (in this case, silk). For this sample, I used the third treadling on the above samples, the one that creates a "W" shape in the pattern.
The idea is that, when the wool shrinks up, the selvages will pucker and ruffle. I liked these results quite a bit. Again, the first photo shows the sample before washing (shrinking) and the second shows it afterwards.
This sample has lots of potential, I think, as a fulled fabric. The downside is that it's very firm and thick, which would not work well at all for a scarf. Great for a coat or jacket, however, with the ruffled edge used as an accent at the neck, placket, or wrist.
Another try. (Thank goodness for my Leclerc Voyager table loom, which allows for easy adjustments on a short, narrow warp.) For the third sample, I wanted to see what happened when the wool was the selvage, so that you had a much firmer, fulled edge. I also wanted to make sure that the width of the fabric didn't vary with the pattern after shrinking. So I used only two different treadlings, both of which I figured would draw in at pretty much the same percentage. (Top and bottom photos are before and after washing, respectively.)
Another good sample, in my opinion. I particularly like the way the first treadling (the pattern on the bottom part of the sample) shrinks up, so that it looks like vertical rows of beads and chains, to my eye. These are the results I'm looking for, where the appearance of the pattern after washing is unique and eye-catching -- giving you shapes that you wouldn't achieve with "regular" weaving.
I guess that's what we all look for: the surprise, the "aha" moment, the serendipitous results. Those are the invaluable rewards. Thanks for reading!