Monday, September 4, 2017

I'm in love with turned Atwater-Bronson

It seems you can put something on a back burner and not get to it for years.  And then, all of a sudden something kicks in and you decide to give it a whirl.  That's what happened to me recently when I revisited some turned Atwater-Bronson drafts in Strickler's book, #613-#628 contributed by Mary Smith. One of the problems is that you have to deal with a profile treadling.  The threading and tie up is given, but you do have to dig in a bit and figure out the treadling sequence.  Mary Smith spells it out in her explanation, but I had to talk to another weaving friend to get things to click in my brain. Here is a draft if you have the same problems that I did with the profile.  You will notice that I start with the plain weave picks on treadles one and two and then do the pattern picks (in this case on treadles 3 & 4 or 5& 6 or 7&8).  In the profile treadling, think of these as substitutions for Block A, B & C.

Draft #618
 Each of the threading sequences is 36 threads long in these drafts.  I have a forty shaft loom, so I put the threading into a straight draw and added a basketweave selvedge for a towel series on 15 yards of fairly crisp cotton.  I figured I wouldn't be able to weave all of the samples, but should be able to get through a lot of them.  I also decided that a crisp linen feel would be ideal for the drafts, not thinking it through to realize that the threads wouldn't distort as much as all cotton would have. 
I wove off my 15 yards and used lots of different linen, ramie and cottolin wefts.  The basketweave selvedge was superfluous and plain weave selvedges would have probably been a better choice, but the basketweave performed nicely.  I also used the trick of soaking my linen weft bobbins in water so that the threads would bend nicely at the selvedges.  It worked beautifully. 
You will also notice, if you have a copy of Stricker's book, that many of these drafts use more treadles than are usually available on an 8 shaft floor loom.  Another reason to put it into a dobby to weave.  The photo below is draft #628
After my towel warp was completed, I dug out a couple of painted skeins that I dyed in a class I had with Kathrin Weber.  The fiber is bamboo and I thought that perhaps the color variation would look good if used for both warp and weft.  I decided on a 15" wide piece for yardage for a potential garment (or portion of a garment).  When I had woven off all of the dyed yarn, I still had a little warp left and chose a coral rayon to finish off the warp.  Turns out, I should have used it for the entire piece because I like it much better (photo on right). These are woven with draft #621 and the details are mostly lost in the longer yardage piece because color interplay.  However, the texture is wonderful.

OK, still not done with these drafts.  Quite a few years ago I purchased some silk mill ends.  The quality of the silk is very nice, but there are knots and splices in the yarns.  Also, the colors were pale and really nothing that I wanted to use, so they rested in my stash for many years.  Several months ago, in a frenzy of dyeing, I wound off almost all of the cones into skeins and overdyed them in a myriad of colors.  I deliberately did not want an even dye job, so sometimes the original color peeks through, or maybe I poured in magenta after the pot was hot and it struck here and there.   
I wound a warp 5 yards long and 12" wide for a couple of scarves.  The warp was copper, with bits of blue showing through from the original color.  The first scarf was woven off with a light blue weft to see if I could get iridescence.  I did.  The second scarf weft was a celery color and it is also iridescent.  Am I done - probably not.  I still need to experiment with weaving these drafts in cotton and getting a nice deflection of the threads.

The upper photo is draft #622 and the lower photo is #681


  1. Love you experiments with Bronson Lace. I recently made towels in 625 and I love them. The texture is amazing. Must do more Bronson Lace soon.

  2. Thank you! I have been struggling with understanding the turned Bronson drafts as written in Strickler. Comparing your treadling to the book I now get it. So helpful.