I still have a fair bit of serious silk, but I want to start combining it with other fibres. I have already wound a warp which is half a variegated red silk and half a plain red merino/silk blend and it is due to be beamed on the Megado as soon as I can stand up for long enough. The lace patterns were fun and a good exercise for me in (a) working with 16 shafts and (b) making liftplans for the dobby, but now I want to get back to my explorations of echo weave.
Not a lot of planning has gone into this warp: I picked the yarns I wanted to use and wound until the first of them ran out, at which point I had 252 ends (126 of each yarn). So I opened up Fiberworks last night and drew a curve that fitted into a rectangle 16 pixels high and 126 pixels long.
Next I pressed the button that redrew my curve on a 4-end twill network. Then I pressed the button that inserted a parallel threading where each “echo” thread was offset by 4 shafts from the “main” thread. Then I undid these steps and redid them a few times, selecting different options each time. This computer drafting lark is way too much fun.
I settled back on my original choices because they are familiar from my 8-shaft experiments; this means I can focus my attention on the new element to me — all those shafts and the possibilities in the tie-up. I have been using a 3/1/1/3 tie-up on the Delta, but now I have another eight shafts to account for. Going back to Bonnie‘s article in the Journal, I see she expresses a preference for 3/1/2/2/1/3/1/3 (below left). On screen I rather like the variant 3/1/2/2/3/1/1/3 (below right), but this is not the easiest structure to imagine into cloth without actually trying it.
Including a 2/2 in the mix is important to me as I am interested to see what effect that has on the fabric. I am also excited, though mentally challenged, by the way the different twills interact. With an offset of 4 shafts, each four-shaft section of threading in one layer is going to be interacting with an adjacent four-shaft section in the other layer. For instance, if I start with the silk and thread it on shafts 1-4, then the merino blend will echo that threading on shafts 5-8. So — reading the tie-up from the left — the first lift will mix 3/1 on 1-4 (silk) with 2/2 on 5-8 (merino blend). Using Bonnie’s tie-up would provide all the possible mixes: 3/1 with 2/2, 2/2 with 1/3, 1/3 with 3/1. My arrangement wouldn’t do that as I have 3/1 on both sides of the 2/2 section. However, I am aware that I am also thinking of this rather statically — as I cycle through the lifts, all sorts of everything takes place and I am too bamboozled to take it all in. The overall effect is of more kinds of blends than are possible on eight shafts: in the multi-coloured drawdown below I can see four distinct variations. (In three shades of red, which is what I plan, these areas are harder to pick out!)
Anyway, whatever I do will be new to me so I am looking forward to it. And it will also be new to me that I have this mix of fibres. I have been wanting to try some differential shrinkage in echo weave and I am hopeful that the mix of twill interactions will provide added interest: in the 3/1 sections where the floats are longer there should be more scope for shrinkage than in the balanced 2/2 areas. In fact, I am rather counting on the 2/2 areas to restrain the shrinkage… If it works out in practice then I should actually have some fabric at the end of the process and not just a scrunched up strip of felt.
By the way, the 8-shaft echo weave in hemp is coming along nicely. I have a second warp underway, and in both cases I have actually been trying a 3-shaft offset rather than the four I used previously. The first cloth has indeed become a bag… but I won’t say any more until I can illustrate with photos. At least I can stitch the lining in from my seat on the sofa.