Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Work in Progress: A Future Class on Double Weave for Echo Threadings


Above is a detail of a 32-shaft design I'm working on called "Dreaming in Color." It has a 4-color Echo threading and uses 2 additional colors in the weft. I guess that makes it 6-color double weave.

Anyhow, that's the beauty of designing for double weave on Echo threadings: With the right tieup, you can create a magical array of shifting colors. And, if you want to take your creation a step further, you can add a weft with a crepe or shrinking yarn to achieve a dimensional weave.

In order to achieve texture with these designs, you have to look for "pockets" in the structure. (With some tieups and treadlings, you'll get integrated double weave rather than pockets, meaning that the two layers are interlaced.) To see these pockets and/or interlacements, you have to look at the "structure view" in Fiberworks. Here's what the first design looks like in that simulation.

This is kind of a dizzying array of black and white graphics -- but if you look at it closely, you'll see stair-like lines in two sections. These indicate "pockets" in your cloth, meaning that in these sections you'll be weaving two layers of double weave. Also, the sections of both upside down and rightside up "T" shapes indicate pockets as well. (These patterns are discussed on page 170 of Marian Stubenitsky's book, Echo and Iris. As far as I'm concerned, this book has a lifetime's worth of learning in it, not to mention the beauty of the patterns themselves.)

And what about that unusual tieup?

This is the same tieup, in reverse, that Stubenitsky uses on page 175 of Echo and Iris

To understand what is happening, it's helpful to divide it into upper and lower layers, like this:

Top layer at left, bottom layer at right

Remember that, with double-weave tieups, the bottom layer has to be a photo negative of a "normal" tieup -- because in order to weave on the bottom layer, which is weaving upside down, the treadles that are lowered work like treadles that would normally be lifted. Likewise, the treadles that are raised perform as if they are lowered. 

As I say when I'm teaching, for the bottom layer in double weave, what's down is up and what's up is down. 

Anyhow, you can see that the tieups have changing "ratios," to use Stubenitsky's term, with sections of each layer all up or all down in an ascending pattern. On shafts where the top layer weaves plain weave, the treadling for the bottom layer is "lifting" (lowering) all of the same shafts -- and vice versa. The rectangles of lifted and lowered shafts create interacting designs in the cloth.

As far as good designs are concerned: I'm not sure I'm there yet, wherever that may be, but I think I'm moving in the right direction.

Detail of another design

All of this is in preparation for a new workshop I'm developing, "Echo on the Double," that will focus solely on 4-color and 6-color double-weave designs on Echo threadings. For people who love to play with color, as I do, these techniques have great possibilities.

Putting it all together is a challenge, of course: combining a strong design line with an interesting tieup and treadling, learning how colors blend and play out, taking care to get the right sett and beat and, ultimately, winding up with a good hand for the cloth. 

I hesitate to admit how many designs I create before achieving one that really works! Here's one, below, that I'm on the fence about. It uses the same design line for the treadling as for the threading -- not quite tromp as writ, because the threading is a 4-end parallel while the treadling is a 2-end parallel.

I kind of like the eccentricity of this pattern. The quirky, linear motifs kind of remind me of cave columns, where stalactites and stalagmites meet. Can you detect them?

Photo: Alex Demas, USGS, public domain

Unlike many of my blog posts, this one is more just thinking out loud or, as I call this design I'm working on, "Dreaming in Color." There will be many variations and probably many more patterns before anything goes on the loom....

Thanks for reading!


Linda said...

Really interesting and lovely effects, especially when you superimpose a secondary pattern into the "block" design in the tie-up. I suspect there will be a lot more trial-and-error to the patterning because of that (that has been my experience, anyways), but it looks like the rewards can be worth it!

Just a technical point...the name "four-colour-double-weave" is a bit of a misnomer. "Four-colour" doesn't refer to the total number of colours used in the weave. It refers to the number of colour interactions. That is, it refers to the number of different combinations of a warp colour crossed with a weft colour. Each weft colour in traditional double weave only interacts with one of the warp colours, so there are only two colour interactions (warp A and weft A, warp B and weft B). Once you add an extended threading and/or treadling, then each weft colour interacts with both of the warp colours, for a total of four colour interactions (warp A and weft A, warp A and weft B, warp B and weft A, warp B and weft B).

And even that is a bit of a misnomer, because it isn't even really about warp or weft colours, but warp or weft "lines" in these parallel threadings/treadlings. Think of some of your collapse weaves, where you might use the same colour on all the warp and weft threads, but use alternating weft threads with two different characteristics (e.g. one elastic and one not). You will still get the same kind of patterning you would see in a coloured weave, but the pattern will show up as texture instead of colour.

Very long-winded way of clarifying that four warp colours on four parallel lines, paired with two weft colours, is "eight-colour-double-weave".

Denise Kovnat said...

Linda, thank you! I am glad to hear from you -- because I so admire your work and your grasp of these questions.

Then eight-color double weave it is. The name itself appeals to me, because it represents the potential for mixing six different colors using these designs.

A question for you: Have you spent any time looking into color theory? The reason I ask is that often with these six-yarn techniques you can achieve MORE than eight colors. I know it's basically color blending, but I believe that simultaneous contrast is at work, where our perception of a color involves the color next to it.

That's another avenue for study, I know.

Linda said...

Denise, I have studied a fair bit of colour theory, and that's a very interesting question. I have been working with the assumption that some of these "more than eight colors" effects come about because we are getting mixtures of three of these colours (one warp and two weft), in some cases. I was working on some samples (inspired by your last blog post) to look at this, but it turned out I chose a poor parallel threading to test it (I was trying to reuse one I already had threaded) - good learning experience about what kind of design lines work with your eight colour effects, though.

I have a new threading to test, but you raise a very interesting possibility, so I may have to change my design before I put it on the loom. Coincidentally, we just started a colour study group here (titled "Unanticipated Color Results and the Bezold Effect"), and one of the things I've been trying to puzzle out has been how to differentiate between optical mixing and simultaneous contrast effects in weaving. You've given me good incentive to pursue this!

Denise Kovnat said...

Linda, this group sounds very interesting! I have yet to find any clear dividing line between the Bezold Effect and simultaneous contrrast — although it seems that the Bezold Effect refers to the changes in color perception that happen with smaller points of color, rather than larger blocks of color. But the illusion of color change remains basically the same. What do you think?

Virginia Glenn said...

I can't wait till these trials and samples become a real class.

Ruth Henriquez said...

I am in awe and feeling a little bit intimidated. This certainly seems a better way to maintain my aging cognitive function than doing crossword puzzles.

As a relative beginner in this sort of weave structure, I wonder what sort of loom would be good if one wanted to move on from just eight shafts.

Thank you for this, Denise. As always, you have inspired me to keep pushing forward into parts unknown.

Denise Kovnat said...

Thanks, Ruth, for your comments. No need to be intimidated, because it's sort of like learning a new language. I send a longer reply to your email at Paloma Textiles because I wanted to make sure you saw my reply. We are all beginners at some point. I remember, when I started to weave, looking at a drawdown and thinking to myself, "Someday I will be able to understand that!"

Ruth Henriquez said...

Thanks Denise. . .I'll read your email. And I don't generally let being intimidated dissuade me from trying something new, although sometimes I need a preparatory period of procrastination. I just have to take a big breath and jump in. Your blog helps!

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