Tuesday, August 18, 2015

More Shafts, More Possibilities

There is absolutely nothing like a multi- shaft loom to make weaving magical.  Recently, I bought a used 40 shaft loom from a friend.  I already had a 24 shaft loom which was and is perfectly fine, but the 40 was on my bucket list and available, so I bought it.  It had to be torn down to be transported and after a few days of anguish thinking that my husband and I might never get it back together, it started to come to life again.
My first warp was on a straight draw threading and some so-so cotton.  I looked in the Handweaving.net and found some liftplans and wove off napkins - each in a different design.  All the while, I'm thinking to myself - I don't know how to design for this many shafts!  Then, another warp for scarves.  This time I played around with designs and  used 32 shafts and a four shaft basketweave selvedge.  Fun - yes, but I was still not making my new loom sing. 
Finally, I got out my copy of Marian Stubenitsky's Echo and IrisHer designs only go up to 32 shafts so I knew that I  was going to have to absorb a lot of the information in her book and make it my own for 40 shafts.  My first task was to do a skeleton double weave tie up for 40 shafts.  Trying to keep everything correct for 40 shafts and 80 treadles, proved to be an eye-boggling task.  I finally discovered that I needed to make a straight draw threading and then convert it to a parallel threading, use my skeleton tie up and a straight treadling sequence and look at the draw down.  Errors in my tie up stood out in the draw down and I was able to fix them and then go to the next step.  Turned taqueté and turned samitum were easy design work.  The four color double weave was a bit more challenging. 
I warped the loom, using my tension box and spool rack in four colors.  The sequence was red, blue,  green and yellow.  My designs had three echoes in the threading.
As I watched what was happening on the loom, I was totally enthralled.  The four colors moved around in the pattern and interacted with the weft color or colors.  I finally felt that I was starting to utilize the power behind all those shafts.
Since this warp, I've been designing for the next one.  This time I'll use just one echo  with two colors in the warp and a variety of double weave tie ups.  I'm feeling back in the swing of things and have more ideas than time.  40 shafts are lovely indeed!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Turned Taqueté - Four Block Profile into an 8 Shaft Draft

Turning a four block profile into an 8 shaft turned taqueté draft isn't as easy or straight forward as the two block, four shaft procedure.  First of all, when you turn a draft you are using the same number of shafts as treadles in the unturned draft.  With many four block profiles, your new turned draft will end up needed 12 or 16 shafts so you need to follow some restrictions in order to get a draft that you can weave on your eight shaft loom.

First of all, keeping your new draft to only 8 shafts only seems to work if your tie up is a 2/2 twill as in the profile below.   There may be other tie ups that work, but I  certainly didn't find any.

4 block profile

 Here is the draft translated to turned taqueté.
Threading for turned taquete eight shafts with a 2/2 twill tie up in profile
Block A 1-2-3-4
Block B 5-6-7-8
Block C 2-1-4-3
Block D 6-5-8-7

Tie up treadle (1) 1-2 5-6
treadle (2) 3-4 7-8
Blocks AB 1-3-6-8
Blocks BC 1-3-5-7
Blocks CD 2-4-5-7
Blocks AD 2-4-6-8

Alternate treadle 1 and 2 with pattern treadle.

I made numermous attempts to do color changes in the warp and use a combination of straight threadings on eight shafts.  I could get a few to look OK, but they all had color lines that looked like errors, so I'm sticking with the plan I laid out above.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Turning a Two Block Profile into Turned Taqueté (4 Shafts)

My guild (Reno Fiber Guild) is having a year long study of profile drafts and block weaves.  We kicked the subject off at our October meeting and broke into a variety of groups that will study specific block weave structures ending in April with weaving off designs on a variety of four and eight shaft looms.  Several guild members had woven four shaft turned taqueté and wanted to do more in the way of designing using that structure.  I could certainly convert a profile to taqueté and then turn the draft, but decided that it should be feasible to convert a profile to turned taqueté without going through the intermediary step.

I started with the weaving software, WeavePoint, converting profiles to taqueté, turning the drafts and analyzing the results.  I had in mind presenting something similar to Madelyn van der Hooght's diagrams that have a numerical threading, tie up configurations and treadling sequences for various block weave structures.  What I found is that once you have gone past a two block profile and given that you are turning the draft, things aren't so straight forward as they are when you are designing with taqueté.   What follows is what I have learned so far.

One of the interesting things about taqueté and its turned version is that without alternating colors (in the weft for taqueté or in the warp for turned taqueté) the draft in two colors has no apparent design.  Once you put in the alternating color sequence, the block pattern magically appears.

Along my journey, I found a couple of ways to thread the four shaft  version of turned taqueté (aka warp-faced compound tabby).  I thought I would present both of them because I can see advantages to both.

Here goes.  If you use two colors in the warp and alternate them all across the warp the threading is as follows                         

                                           Block A 1-2-3-4 
                                           Block B 2-1-4-3
If you change the color sequence at every block change you can thread
                                          Blocks A & B 1-2-3-4
The secret is that you must change the color sequence at the beginning of a new block. In other words if you have been threading red -blue,  at the beginning of a new block you will thread blue - red,until you reach the end of that block and switch back to red- blue.

Now for the Tie Up and treadling.  Since we are only dealing with two blocks and with four shafts, we must alternate the two blocks in a profile draft and the tie up that works is this.

The treadling for Block A is 1-3-2-3 and the treadling for Block B is 1-4-2-4.  That's all there is to it.
Here are two drawdowns using first  a two block threading sequence and the second using only color change on a straight draw threading to delineate the blocks.

Block A threaded 1-2-3-4 and Block B threaded 2-1-4-3

straight draw threading, but duplicate color sequence at block change in warp

The next post is changing a four block profile draft into an eight shaft draft of turned taqueté.  Hint - not all four block drafts will reduce to an eight shaft draft.  It will depend on the number of treadles you need to use because, remember, this is a turned draft.
Note:  One of the nicest things about blog posts is that they can be amended and updated.  After I had researched and written this post, I came upon an interesting article in Weaver's Magazine Issue 12.  The article was written by Betsy Blumenthal and it was entitled "One-Shuttle Wonderful".  This article describes the color sequence changes in the warp to get the double face cloth and the structure was called "warp-faced compound tabby.  There is simply nothing new under the weaving sun!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Basket Weave Selvedge for Two Shuttles

I am woefully behind on my samples for the Complex Weavers Early Weaving Books and Manuscripts group and decided I wanted to use a threading from American Star Work Coverlets by Judith Gordon (see page 90 for a 22 shaft version) and use four tie down threads instead of two so that the tie downs were spread out a bit on my loom.  The tie ups I had in mind to use with this threading are drafts from the Christian Morath pattern book.

I warped 18 yards of white 8/2 cotton so that I would have plenty for the samples and more for some towels to sell at a Christmas fair.  I wove the samples up without too much problem using a fine 28/2 white cotton from Finland as the tabby weft and some Harrisville Shetland wool for the pattern weft.  The wool seemed to stick in place at the selvedges without too much problem.  The real problem came when I tried shifting to the towels.  I used an 8/2 cotton and my selvedges were a real mess.

I called for help on the Yahoo group called WeaveTech.  Sandra Rude, who is weaving on a Jacquard loom and using multiple wefts, came to the rescue.  She told me how to elongate the regular basket weave selvedge treatment so that you throw two shots in each shed. 

In the draft above, your threading is on shafts 1 and 2 on the right side and 4 and 3 on the left side.  This configuration is important.  You may use any four shafts on your warp for the selvedge treatment and I either use the first four or the last four.
To try this out on the warp I was weaving, I cut four selvedge threads on each side and rethreaded them to shafts 21, 22, 24 and 23.  Then, I took my lift plans and added the eight pick treadling sequence to those shafts.  You must make your liftplan picks a multiple of 8 before you add the selvedge lifplan so that it transitions correctly at the end of your treadling sequence and starts over again.
Sorry that this is so small, but I hope it is large enough for you to get a clear picture of the threading and the liftplan.
Once I resumed weaving, this is what the selvedges looked like.

It is important to remember that you  thread your selvedges according to the plan given and start your weaving from the right side.  The selvedge draft shown starts the treadling at the top and works down.  When I actually do my drafts, I use the convention of treadling starting at the bottom and working up in the liftplan mode.
One last comment about basket weave selvedges.  I use them all the time when I weave towels and I am usually using one shuttle.  If you want to add basket weave selvedges to other weaving projects that only use one shuttle, use this draft.  For a good description of the process, see Handloom Weaving Technology by Allen Fannin pages 264-265.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Esperanza is Hope!

Many, many moons ago I wove this shawl to be converted into a charitable donation once it had sold.  Between the time I wove it and now, the economy did a flip flop, handwoven shawl purchases slowed and I had almost forgotten Esperanza was stilll for sale at Shawls Unlimited

I'm happy to say that someone has finally purchased Esperanza (Spanish for hope).  To keep my end of the bargain, I just sent off a donation for the amount of my proceeds to Women of Worth.  I hope the recipient will love wearing Esperanza and know that their purchase has helped a wonderful organization help a woman get back on her feet.

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Called Imbrication!

At a weaver's estate sale, I picked up a copy of The Virginia West Swatch Book.  It has some lovely weaving ideas and one that clicked with me was a draft that she called Imbrication.  As she explains in the book, imbrication is the overlapping of tiles, scales and shingles. 

Here is a close up of the shawl I wove using this draft.  I used up balls and balls of cotton dye samples that a friend gave me when she cleaned out her studio and interspersed them with 5 or 6 colors of blues and blue green cotton in the warp. To make the shawl a bit more luxurious to touch, I used one strand of tencel and one of bamboo in black for the weft yarn.  Then, I finished the ends of the warp with a picot bead edge, rather than a plain hem or twisted fringe.

Here is the draft.  The threading can be used on quite a variety of weaving drafts.  Take a look at Double Two-Tie Unit Weaves by Clotilde Barrett and Eunice Smith if you have a copy for ideas.  One thing is that this threading seems to be treadle hungry and you may have to use a skeleton tie up. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Farey fraction towels

I'm finally getting around to putting up the post that shows the some of variations on the  Farey Fraction Denominator threading.  Some of them are very busy, one or two show a good solid design and some didn't show the complexity of the threading at all.

These towels are all woven on the same warp using different tie ups and mostly a point treadling.  I used an advancing treadling on one towel.

 This is the most elegant design. The pattern is clear and varies across the warp.
 This towel is the end of the warp.  I used up all of the odds and ends of yarn left on pirns. It was interesting to see how the weft color influenced the design.
 I actually like this towel a lot.  The pattern shows up in both the red and dark purple areas and it seems almost like embroidery. The reverse of the towel (folded back) shows a redder pattern.
 This close up shows how the design alters across the warp.  The weft color worked well with the warp; always a surprise which wefts are good and those that are just ho hum!

 The towel in this photo shows two very different looking faces.

This was a worthwhile exercise in design work even though my original idea of the red stripe design showing up between bars of dark stripes didn't translate the way I imagined it would.  The main feature of the designs are an embroidery like appearance to the cloth.  However, the designs are small and so detailed, that they can seem overly busy.