Monday, August 21, 2017

More Than One Road to Walk

This blog post has lots of images and drafts to consider and think over. Grab a tea or coffee and settle in for a discussion on how to get more from your threading and tie up.   This draft in particular:

This is a twelve shaft twill threading and tie up that I used in the last post. Not very complicated......rather simple actually. This draft was also used to produce these scarves, these runners and these guest towels.    Everything I will talk  about here today will be based on this exact threading and tie up.  (except where noted)

Left: used draft for sample 2 (see below) ; Right: woven 'as threaded'
We are also going to lean a bit hard on my Fiberworks weaving software. I use the Silver Plus version as I have a Megado loom to run but the Bronze level will do just fine. It can also be any weaving program that you have to hand if you decide to play with a draft and tie up as we will today.  No program?  no problem!   I recommend downloading the Fiberworks Bronze and it will act as a free demo. You can do everything except save and print.  

Trying a free version of Fiberworks? Made a lovely design and want to save it?  On PC's: use a screen capture; on Mac's use "command-shift-4" and size your area to save as an image on the desk top. Drag to, and save in Photo and then print.    I did all those steps for  80% of the draft images here (and yes, I own my copy! 😊)

Back in the summer of 1996 I bought my first loom and brought it home. It was a 'new to me' four shaft Leclerc Colonial jack loom.  (It could be either jack or counterbalance). My friend and weaving mentor Margaret lived nearby and came over to view the new baby.  She saw I had it threaded for an overshot pattern from Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave and she sat down to throw the shuttle and see the looms action and shed.  I was a brand new weaver and very much a 'recipe' weaver at that stage of things.  I would take all aspects of the project right off the paper or magazine and follow the instructions closely. Understanding the draft and how the interlacement of the threads worked was a long ways off for me at that point in time! But I still recall watching Margaret joyfully throwing the shuttle and change treadlings on the fly.  Each new 'dance' produced such a different look, and this was my first clue that I had a lot to learn! She was dancing on the treadles and having such a grand time seeing what she could come up with, even laughing as she made a mistake and unwove...(heck, it had looked good  to me!) It created a lasting impression for me.

Margaret in July 2013
But back to now....

I had to get better at getting more from drafts and tie up's due to health reasons. I was unable to get under the loom to change tie up's without hurting my joints or lower back. After three joint replacement surgeries parts of me simply do not bend or move the way they used to anymore.  I shifted to lifting my Spring 90 loom up onto crates and sitting on a stool, which while much better, is still an effort.... especially a full twelve shaft tie up of 144 cords! So why not make it count?  Plan a series of scarves....then put on another warp and weave towels.... and then maybe some quick book marks as gifts?

The threading can remain the same (or change it if you like * more on this later) , the tie up is all done. Simply choose a different way to treadle it and get a new project with a new look. 

I had enough warp leftover after the three silk scarves were done and so I was able to weave more than just a basic sample for my records , but a few variations too.  Sample number one is at the bottom and number 4 is at the top. All are on the same threading and tie up as shown at the beginning of this post and the only thing that has changed is how I treadled it.

Not all drafts will be suitable for this method, but many are, such as twills. That's where the weaving software comes in handy and saves you much time and effort.  Add in your chosen threading and tie up and then play with different treadlings and see what you can come up with! 

If you own the software you can also check float lengths, view the back of the cloth to see if its reversible.  You can click 'save' on the threading and tie up and then add and erase treadlings without having to re-enter the basic data over and over.
The program will allow you to add tabby and remove tabby, weave as network, as drawn in, flip and reverse the sequence and so on and so on.

the entire woven sampler (woven straight, photographed crooked!)
sample 1
... and below is the draft showing the pattern above and you can see how the treadling was achieved. The section showing the treadling of twelve to seven and back again can be done as many times as you like. I wove thirteen repeats on the red scarf simply because that length looked good to me. You could weave it the entire length is you liked!
draft for sample one
Below is one of the recent table runners woven this way. 10/2 mercerized cotton warp and weft, sett 28 epi.
runner using sample one draft

Sample Two: similar to the last, but simply the reverse.  Treadling one to six and back again. Once more, this section can be any length you like.  Even the break between groups is reversed.   There's no reason why you couldn't include both versions in a project. Think of them as weaving 'blocks" and sample one is block one and this is block two.  That would look more diverse, more visual complexity....

sample 2
draft for sample two
runner woven using draft for sample two

I tried paring things down to one repeat of each motif and it produced a neat and tidy, almost tight, groupings. Nice... very ornate!

sample three
draft for sample three
Then I tried weaving it the classic way, "as threaded" (or the old fashioned 'tromp as writ').  It adds more depth, with the two motifs now of a similar size. You could even add in some treadlings of one to twelve and back again...... and twelve to one and back again at the right intervals for an even more expansion of this .... if you wanted to of course!   (Are you seeing the possibilities?)

sample four
draft for sample four
Now I have run out of woven samples to show you, but we still have our drafts to play with.  So the first one is our same trusty twelve shaft threading and tie up, but this time I used the classic twill progression used in many snowflake twill drafts.  Now we have some drama!  (Reverse the twill progression and it will look like an exaggerated large 'X'). Again, add some point twills or straight runs.... or both in between.  How would that change things?

twill progression treadling (snowflake style)

Hmm, point twill all by itself?   It looks like this...

point twill treadling
How about a (seemingly) endless twill run back and forth?  Now that's pretty.

elaborate twill run

Okay, I can hear some of you saying that this is all very well and nice, but you don't have a twelve shaft loom.   So I sat with my Fiberworks and essentially reduced the draft and tie up to something as close as I could get and so these below are the results..    ( and some of you with sixteen shafts will have to adjust upwards)
                                              These drafts below are 8 shaft drafts  

8 shaft: ' as threaded'

8 shaft: woven as per sample one

8 shaft: woven as per sample two

8 shaft: woven as a twill progression (snowflake style)

Now some of you might remember seeing an asterisk * further back in the post.... I'll forgive you if you missed it or forgot!   If you were to decide to try weaving a series of scarves, towels or runners using the same tie up and threading, but after a warp or two you decide you are getting bored, or its not for you, then consider leaving just the tie up in place and using an entirely different threading.  

If you completely weave off one warp and plan to beam on another using the same tie up....  you could take the opportunity to change up the threading at this time too.  Simply play with your weaving program and this time change the threading and treadling variations.   😳     Its a whole new deck of cards to play with!

If you'd like to make a change with an existing warp on the loom: make the best plain shed you can with the current threading and slide in lease sticks *behind the reed and shafts*.  Support in place with cords.  Cut off the cloth in front of the reed.  Pull the warp back from the reed, and heddles.   Re thread taking the warp ends in order as closely as you can from the lease sticks. Threads can be slightly out of sequence back here, but not from the heddles forward.  Sley the reed, tie on or lace on and you are back in business again. 

I hope I have given you something to consider, some inspiration to try something new while leaving something old in place.  It really doesn't matter how many shafts you have as switching up the draft can be done as part of the design and planning phase for any loom.  Perhaps this will also help you to become more comfortable with your existing weaving program.... or to try a free download as a demo and give this some computer play time.   

Oh, and be warned, its addictive!  You start hanging out at places like cruising for drafts (and develop shaft envy.)  I have talked with some weavers who create a new draft and then say they like to weave about two inches on the loom to see what it will look like and they are ready to move on to the next design they can come up with!   

20/2 cotton and fine linen book marks, 48 epi.... and yes its our friend again, the same 12 shaft twill 
12 shaft draft for the left bookmarks

...yet another treadling variation!

If you made it this far, thank you for hanging in there.  If you like the possibilities playing creates, you can also see this older post from October 2011 where I wove three scarves, three different ways. 


msvos said...

Wow - What a wonderful tutorial! Thank you for sharing this! I have learned so much from your posts over the years, and this one is coming at a time when I want so very much to reach beyond my recipe weaving. So grateful for your generous sharing of your knowledge and experience.....Laurie

Unknown said...

Thanks for this post! I have admired your work for a long time, but am enough of a beginner to have trouble figuring out how to design some of the elaborate twills I know are possible. This is a big help!

Terry said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have been weaving for a couple of years now and had fallen in love with point twill and its progressions, but did not yet have an understanding of "the dance". Adding the lessor shafts while still in this beautiful pattern was a gift for this novice 8 shaft weaver. I have admired your weavings in this progression and love it when you post and show them. You have such a wonderful talent and your sharing of not only your weaving abilities, but showing the hows is an extreme treat for me. I appreciate it so much! Thank you!

Bruce said...

I agree with those comments above. Your weaving is quite inspiring. Loved the 'book marks' you wove. Will you be weaving more of those beautiful bookmarks.?

Susan Harvey said...

Yes, there will be more book marks in time..... I seem to have a full line up of projects 1.) runners 2) commissioned runners 3.) scarves 4.) kitchen towels 5.) bookmarks?

Don't ask for a delivery date! :)

Linda said...

It's fun to read how your thought process works in evaluating drafts for a weaving project. Your meticulous work is testimony to *all* of the preliminary processes that lead to making that happen. You are very generous to share; you are teaching weavers around the globe.

Peg Cherre said...

It is so generous of you to provide all the drafts along with the instructive narrative. I'd just read the beginning, and said, 'hey, I only have 8 shafts, but I can modify this draft' and went to work in Fiberworks before I got down to your 8shaft draft. My tie up is a bit different than yours, so now I've saved it with both tie ups as the results are a bit different.

Thanks again!

Karen Reff said...

Educational, enlightening and encouraging! Thank you!!!