Monday, September 19, 2016

Just Off the Loom: 12-Shaft Double Weave from Stubenitsky's Echo and Iris

A while back, I wrote about how to re-work a 12-harness double weave pattern that had a LONG lift plan. What to do when you have just 14 treadles and the drawdown calls for 24? Basically, I shortened the treadling -- using the same twill pattern but ending it at treadle 14 -- and it worked just fine. The photo above shows the piece on the loom.

To back up: the pattern was from Marian Stubenitsky's book, Weaving with Echo and Iris. On page 163, she shows a multi-color double weave pattern with four colors in the warp and two in the weft. Since I had a lot of 18/2 superfine merino in my stash, I wound a warp and beamed it on, mainly because I had never woven anything like this before and I was excited to try.

There were problems, of course. (Need I say this? I think of every warp as a journey and I always have to work the kinks out at first, even when I have woven the same pattern before.) For instance, the treadling was on a curve, ascending and descending to create the diamond shape you see above. Trouble is, when you're weaving double weave, you have to "skip" a treadle as you reach the point where you reverse order -- otherwise, you repeat a pick and it looks like an error. So, where you would normally weave 6-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6, for instance, you can't do that with double weave. The reason being that the odd-numbered treadles are weaving one side of the pattern and even numbered treadles are weaving the opposite side -- and that means the even-numbered side would have a repeat: 6-4-2-2-4-6 with nothing in between the 2's. So you have to skip a pick on that side, weaving 6-4-2-4-6.

If you don't follow me on this, suffice it to say that I had to adjust the treadling a bit. And then there were the selvages.... It took me maybe 12 inches of weaving before I got those right. Not easy.

And finally, there was the problem of not being able to see the underside of the fabric as I wove. This isn't a problem unless you're weaving double weave, where the bottom layer is different from the top. Many weavers recommend using a mirror attached to the breast beam so that you can see the bottom layer as you weave. Which I should have done. It's a lot easier to correct a treadling error on the loom instead of stitching in a new weft with a tapestry needle once the piece is off the loom.

Enough complaining. Here's how it turned out, after plying the fringe and washing (and fulling it slightly).
The blue side

A closeup

The black side, with an iridescence 
that reminds me of oil in a puddle

Thank you, Marian!

1 comment:

Carla said...

That is really stunning.

Notes from CNCH, the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

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