now add texture

posted in: Blog | 5

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.

now add texture” was posted by Cally on 5 Nov 2010 at

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5 Responses

  1. Alison
    | Reply

    Loving it!! I’ve read just enough about this sort of network design and echo weave that I can sort-of follow along with what you’re doing and ogle the results. I can’t wait to see how it weaves up (and how it looks after wet finishing!)

  2. Bonnie Inouye
    | Reply

    Cally, if you plan to repeat your threading, start with a rectangle that is an appropriate width- evenly divisible by 4.
    However it is not hard to add 2 more threads to the one you made. Before threading the loom, always check your network drafted threading at the full width, with repeats, to make sure it can produce a flawless 4-shaft twill (assuming that this is your goal and you are using initial of 4). I use a tie-up of 1/3/1/3/1/3/1/3 to check this.
    For echo weave with 16 shafts, I never gave a favorite tie-up! I use at least a dozen different tie-ups for this and I check them with the desired threading and treadling before weaving.
    The tie-up choice depends on the interval between the threading lines. Usually I start with an interval of 8 between lines on a 16-shaft loom because it gives me more options for tie-ups and for other weave structures on the same threading. But I consider other intervals when the goal is just echo weave. It is easy to look at other intervals on the screen. Copy several and paste them together into one threading for easier comparison.

    In addition to repeating your threading (after adding or deleting 2 threads) consider other options under “repeat” in PCW, like a rotated repeat or a drop repeat or advancing the threading by, say, 4…
    Since you have my book now, take a look at chapter 5.
    Hope this helps!
    It was fun to meet you in Albuquerque!

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Thanks, Bonnie, but I don’t need to repeat this – the whole warp is only 252 ends so quite narrow. I tried out several options for the interval, but I liked the 4 best. The yarn is not that fine and the interval of 8 was giving me floats longer than I really wanted. Still there will be lots more warps and lots more opportunities to try other options.

      • Bonnie Inouye
        | Reply

        Cally, the floats are created by the way the tie-up works with the interval. You can change either before the warp is on the loom. I am glad to know that you tried several options for interval. The longer you have the 16-shaft loom, the more tie-ups and treadlings you will have on hand for trials with any new threading.

        I do like the draft you posted. Very pretty. You really did have a good reason for choosing that number of ends in your profile threading. I had not considered using a warp of only 252 threads. Maybe some other weaver will benefit from my suggestions, I hope. I look forward to seeing what you make with your new drafts.

  3. neki rivera
    | Reply

    let the fun begin!
    add some plain in the tie up weave and look what happens to the colors.!

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