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. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Designing with Farey Fractions

This post may be a bit premature because I haven't yet woven off my Farey Fraction designs on this towel warp.  Who knows if the designs will meet my expectations or not.

The journey started with needing to do a paper for the Computer Aided Design Exchange for Complex Weavers.  I did the paper, had some errors that needed fixing and then got into a nervous nelly fit about whether or not my designs would actually weave into anything that looked like the vision I had in my head.  I don't know about you, but once I start doubting myself, it can be hard to go forward.  I kept the paper on a back burner and decided to weave some of my ideas on a towel warp which would either prove the design value or let me know that it was just a gimmick.

The paper is based on Farey Fraction denominator sequences used in weaving design.  That's a mouthful, isn't it, but not nearly as intimidating  in practice as it sounds.  Ralph Griswold wrote a paper about designing with the sequences  and you can find his work here.   I learned about the sequence and its design possibilities from a FaceBook post by Marg Coe, so I'm not working with brand new ideas, just trying to expand them with my own touch.

I found an online calculator to make the math part easy for me.  From there, I just used the denominators as a threading sequence and experimented with various tie ups and treadling sequences.  My idea was to have a complicated threading that could be woven with a simple treadling sequence on my Baby Wolf.  When I got right down to warping the loom, however, I decided that I would put in on the AVL, add a basketweave selvedge and treadling my threading to avoid threading errors.  To top off the complications, I saw a natural color sequence in my draft and it was awkward  because I used a sett of 20 epi and my color sequence was 12 red and 11 navy, which made every bout I wound had to be calculated for color.

Let's get down to a sample draft.  Start with a denominator sequence based on the number 8.  Here is the threading.

I then advanced the threading one step seven times. (This creates a threading that comes back to the original threading after the seven advances. What you see below is only a portion of the threading sequence and is still in the 8 shaft form before selvedges were added.   I have done 12 different tie ups and a variety of treadling sequences for my 12 yard towel warp.  Once they are off the loom, tell me if you think they they were worth the fuss!
What I like about this design is how the pattern changes in each red warp section - sort of like looking through a fence.  Some of the drafts are better with a light colored weft which shows off the design in the wine colored warp.
And, no, I don't mind if you use this draft or expand on it for your own use.  I really think it would make a good draft for a weaving demonstration - change your tie up and you get an entirely new design peeking at you through the fence.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Draft for the fancy yarns

A friend of mine wanted to know how to use some handspun art yarns in weaving and I have often had a similar dilemma.  I have used the draft shown above many times and find that it has a multitude of looks depending on the yarns you use. 
Here is the way to use the draft with thicker fancy yarns and thin plain ones.  The warp is a smooth yarn and sett according to the grist of the yarn for plain weave.  The weft yarn shown in gray is either the same as the warp (can also be the same color) or finer than the warp.  Four shots of that in a half basket.  Then two shots of your heavier fancy yarn.  Of course, you will have two shuttles going.  The best way to do this is to start each shuttle from a different side of the warp so that the selvedges get picked up and the yarn not being used carries along neatly.
 The black and multicolored shawl above was woven with Noro  as the thin yarn and black rayon chenille as the heavy yarn.  Unfortunately, the chenille wasn't locked in well enough with a slick warp and has a tendency to worm.  Pretty - but not saleable. 
The red shawl was woven with  Sari Silk yarn as the thick and black silk for the thinner yarn.

Because the thick yarns are spaced out with four shots of plain weave in a fine yarn, the shawls are flexible and drape well. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weaving with Easy Dye Cotton

 A friend and I bought some of the new Easy Dye cotton yarn from the Woolery.  I bought several pounds of the 10/2 cotton and now wish I had purchased at least one pound of the 20/2 as well.  There are instructions online on how to paint or dye the cotton, but actually there isn't much to learn.  The cotton is treated with some magic that allows it to accept dye - any dye, without the chemical assistants we usually have to use. 

My first warp  was a 15 yards of black 8/2 rayon, sett at 30 epi.  Too close a sett, but live and learn for next time.  I wove 5 scarves, each with a different treadling sequence.  In order to paint the design, I mixed up a selection of fiber reactive dyes - no soda ash added, just the dye.  I also mixed up a bit of sodium alginate for a thickner, so the dye would stay put when I painted the scarf.  Then I washed the scarf in warm water, rung it out as much as possible and started painting.  After the surface looked good, I flipped it and painted the other side.  Some of the dye had bled through, but not enough to look good.  Therefore, the front and back of the scarf are not exactly the same.
This is the second painting attempt.  I put the scarf in yellow dye and let it sit in the sun for a while.  The black rayon bled a bit and the E-Z Dye cotton sopped up that dye, making the whole scarf a bit greenish.  Then I painted it with reds and greens.

This is what the unpainted blank scarf looks like.  Someone bought one of these because she wanted the black and white look (well, actually shades of gray because of the weave structure).
I understand that you can use acid dyes (without the acid), union dyes (but then why would you bother) and natural dye extracts.  I tested a bit of old cochineal dye on the cotton and it took without any mordanting.    One last piece of information about these dyes.  Once the scarf is dyed, there is no dye bleed.  I put mine out in the sun for 30 minutes, but I suspect I wouldn't have had to do that either.  Which leads me to another thought.  I wouldn't want to use this cotton for napkins or towels.  They would pick up every stain, although this might make for some abstract design work.  Who knows?
As an addendum to this post, a friend found this link to an article that explains the process used to treat the yarns.  It's a bit technical, but wade through it if you are interested in using Easy Dye cotton.