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Every time I want to do hemstitching, I have to look up how to do it. It’s easy, but for years I never tried it because I thought it was too hard. Now, I can open up Kindle on my iPhone and see the directions whenever I need to.
However, I remember making a headscarf in 4-H as one of my first projects. The first material I used was a dark blue cotton—rather fine—and it was impossible for a 10-year-old to pull out the tiny threads, let alone do the stitching. So, Mother took me shopping again and I chose a yellow coarse (and stiff) linen. I could see those threads! If you can imagine a stiff linen headscarf you will see that it didn’t work as a closefitting headscarf, but I don’t remember the judge complaining when it came time for the county fair in Ohio.
I wanted to revisit hemstitching for this post, so I used the SEARCH function on my website homepage and found this post from 6 years ago. That was when I made my eBook about hemstitching. Click HERE to see the post and an easy method for hemstitching.
Since this is a weaving blog, I realized that I should make sure to post some important weaving information. The 2-stick heading came up when a weaver asked me for advice about the sett (epi) for her project she was planning. I couldn’t totally decide and recommended one but said to make a sample first and see how it draped, etc. after washing/finishing. By using the 2-stick heading she would not waste precious warp by tying on again. This is explained in Weaving for Beginners on pages 134-136. To see the full post from April 9, 2020, click HERE
Now, for the flowers:
I saw a lecture on photographing flowers recently.
You don’t have to show the whole flower!
Looking back at posts by searching for photography, I see I’ve been interested in the centers of flowers for some time.
I thought it was a new idea just lately to photograph the centers.
I bought a few bunches of tall poppies and spent the week watching them “age”.
That led to more photos. Here one petal is gone.
Looking a little closer at the center.
This one didn’t want to drop her skirt. Her neighbor dropped everything.
I think this stage is as beautiful in its own way as the full open flower.
My all-time summer purchases are fruit for breakfast. Peaches—the sweetest, apricots, plums. Cherries, too but they were gone today.
But this summer I’ve been getting flowers and photographing them. Here are zinnias which I love as you can see. (These two bunches were $10 apiece! So, enjoy those you can plant.)
The colors are what I love the most, I guess.
Since photographing them, I’m noticing the lovely details of the flowers.
The centers vary so much just as the petal colors.
I looked for marigolds because I think I can make dye or paint after they are done.
This variety I thought so interesting.
A simple yellow one.
Another single red one.
Another single flower.
I don’t often enter group shows. People ask why and I guess it comes to I don’t like to be rejected. But what I often say is that my work somehow doesn’t fit into group shows and doesn’t look good. Also, I don’t have the tech skills to enter such as the pixels, etc. I’ve never kept up with the show scene as well. I succumbed last week to a small sale at the World Shibori Network’s garden event because real textile people show up and I always have had a great time.
I put together this table and rack of my art scrolls I made during the pandemic. I took backgrounds and special textiles I made or collected and matched them up to support each other. I had a few scarves included that were left over from my big sale last year. All around the San Francisco Bay Area it was a scorcher day, but in Berkeley under a shade tree it was delightful, and I was proud of the table I put together. However, this was not the place for art sales I learned. From 10am to 4pm I made only 4 sales! People preferred things to wear or jewelry instead. I learned a lesson that taking something to a show does take work, but it also creates wear and tear on the items. By now I’ve put away almost everything I brought back—another consideration I hadn’t made for allowing time.
I showed the box I made a while ago and people were interested, and I enjoyed chatting with people as well as the other sellers. I also showed my little pouches I made. I got the idea in Japan when I saw them as part of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. So, I made my own with collages of fabric I had dyed and kumihimo cords I made. In the tea ceremony they would have a little pot inside where the precious green tea powder was kept. The special knot used was to know if anyone had stollen any tea, because they wouldn’t be able to re-tie the knot!
Some of my weaving friends had a play day and this is a detail of my first of 2 silk scarves.
Here is the first scarf. I am pleased with my first attempt. We used silk blanks from a shop called Dharma Trading Co. They do a big on-line business with blanks and white T-shirts, and other garments for tie-dye, etc.
This is my second scarf made the same day. I feel a little guilty that I only used plants that people knew would come out well. I didn’t take any chances. Being my first tries, was experiment enough.
I dyed these silks with natural dyes a couple of years ago. Now I want to make a hanging with them. I think I want to integrate this group of silks with the ones in the next photo. I want to enter this year’s BoND exhibition in China. My deadline is August 31.
I dyed this group of silks around the same time. I’m thinking that the combination of the two groups will be my pallet. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far.
I had 35 different white silk fabrics that I cut into swatches so each dye pot had 35 shades or tones when the fabrics came out of the pot. Here are the fabrics before dyeing. I think one turned out not to be silk—“he” always showed up .
I took a workshop at Fibershed not far from me to make and use pigments. The teacher was Tilke Elkins at email@example.com. What inspired me was to make paint for watercolor painting which I hope to do soon when I have all my paints made.
I was extremely fascinated by her showing us the process to make lakes as well. A lake takes a dye or ink solution and turns it into solid pigment. It’s a way to save left over dyes. I have quite a few jugs on my patio and would love to make them into lakes. That will be another workshop later this summer.
We went on a hike and Tilke showed us how to find rocks that will give good colors. Our hike as on a gravel path so there were lots of different stones to check out. To start out with the chosen rock, you need a mortar and pestle made of stone (not a ceramic one) or a stone and a marble slab. I had these from a previous workshop a few years ago making indigo pigment and paint. I trust it is still good and hope to add it to my pallet.
You break up the rock and grind it fine, like powder. If you have any lumps, your paint will be grainy.
For the next step I put the powder in a quart jar with water and let the pigment settle out to the bottom. The water should be clear as a glass of water. These jars have been sitting 24 hours and the water isn’t clear yet so I will check them tomorrow.
This is the pigment from a stone I ground the other day and put in the jar of water to settle out. I wanted it to be dry and crunchy, so it took more time to dry out after the water was poured off.
Now I use a muller on a glass plate or on my marble slab as the binder is mixed in. This is what makes the pigment stick to the paper. I’ll find out if I used enough when I try painting! I’m crossing my fingers.
Mull and be absolutely sure there are no lumps for smooth paint.
Fill a tube or watercolor pan and you have PAINT! I found these ½ pans on the internet and small tubes at my local art supply store.
Yarn count is enormously interesting to beginning weavers but is also very complicated. What is so confusing is that this system was invented in the nineteenth century, and each fiber, such as cotton, linen, wool, or silk has its own specific method for determining the count. I explained yarn count in a previous post quite a long time ago. Please click this LINK to that post for the explanation.
Here’s how you can find the yards per pound when you know the yarn count (explained in the post mentioned above at the link given). The example here shows how to know the ypp (yards per pound) of 5/3 cotton.
A plied yarn is a yarn that is made up of more than one strand. For example, if you folded a one-ply yarn on itself, you would get a 2-ply yarn that would still weigh the same amount—for example, one pound—and would be half as long.
This illustration shows a 3-ply yarn. Diagonal lines can clearly be seen on yarns that are plied. If you look closely at the cut end in this illustration, you can see that there are 3 plies in the yarn, or 3 strands. Another way to count the plies is to untwist the end of a yarn and count the strands that can easily be seen.
By knowing the number of yards per pound of a yarn you can tell whether the yarn is fat or thin. If there are many yards in one pound the yarn is thinner than if there are only a few yards in a pound.
Summary: How to know if a yarn is fat or thin
The fraction given for a yarn tells if it is a thicker or thinner yarn by indicating the number of yards per pound. If cotton has a base count of 840 ypp for one strand, you can see that by looking at the counts only, 10/2 cotton (ten times the base count or 10 x 840, or 8400) has more yards per pound and, therefore is finer than 5/2 cotton (5 x 840 or 4200). Finally, by dividing the count’s ypp by the number of plies you get the yards per pound for 10/2 cotton as 4,200 ypp. The 5/2 cotton has only 2,100 yards in a pound (4 x 840 = 4,200 divided by 2 = 2,100 ypp).
Otherwise, look at the label for the yards per pound. Thinner yarns have more yards per pound than thicker ones. My mentor, Helen Pope told me thinner yarns are cheaper than fatter ones because you get more yards per pound.
In your weaving life, you’ll become familiar with some types of yarns and will remember some fractions and what they mean.
For more information, see my first book, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle HERE on pages 91 and 113-116.
When the Yarn Balance and yarn count differ.
Reed Substitution Chart
When you don’t have the ideal reed for the sett (ends per inch), you must substitute one that you do have. Reeds go by dents per inch—meaning the number of spaces in the reed in one inch. The ideal reed accommodates two warp ends per dent, so that knots can pass through, and to avoid reed marks. The main thing you want to do is retain the epi (ends per inch) required.
Say you want to have 10 threads in one inch, and you have a reed that will give you 8 threads in an inch, you need to change from the ideal of 2 threads per dent to something else.
So, look for the sett (epi) you require (here, 10) in the column headed by the reed that you want to use (here, 8).
Look over to the left column (next to 10) to see the sequence that you will need to sley the reed to attain the sett you need. I see that what is given for an 8-dent reed for 10 epi, is sequence: 1-1-1-2—that is, one thread in a dent, another single thread, and yet another, then, 2 threads in the next dent. Or, 3 single threads per dent, then, a double. Repeat these 4 dents for all the warp threads.
Another example, which isn’t so pretty, is one where it doesn’t quite work out for the exact sett you want, and you have to compromise. You have to pick the one that’s close enough.
If your sett is 12 epi, and you only have a 10-dent reed, you would look in the column for 10 dent reeds and note that 12 ½ is close enough.
Then look over to the left column to see the sequence (order) that the threads should be placed (sleyed) into the dents: one, one, one, two.
These are useful to have on hand. However, when I want to know something like this quickly, I often ask Google, etc.
These formulae can be useful to have on hand. However, I bet they are also on the internet!
A comment on my previous post gave more information about the yarn balance. It is available from Eugene Textile Center, in Eugene, Oregon ( www.eugenetextilecenter.com ) for $35. I find it one of my most important tools in my studio. It can tell you the yards per pound of a yarn as I explained in that post. In this post I want to show more about knowing the Yards per Pound.
Sett Chart for Plain Weave
You can see that by knowing the yards per pound in this sett chart you can get the yarn count of the yarn which is the number given on yarn labels. The diameters used in using the Ashenhurst Rule have been calculated, as well.
If you didn’t read about Ashenhurst and his rule when it was described in the recent post, “Sett Thoroughly Revisited on March 25, 2023, https://peggyosterkamp.com/2023/04/sett-thoroughly-revisited/ refer to that post for links with information. There are 7 pages of charts for various fibers in my book Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle, and 7 pages for the same yarns for twill. If a yarn is not listed in a chart, the formula to calculate your sett is given HERE https://peggyosterkamp.com/ashenhurst-rule/ . There is information in Weaving for Beginners with fewer charts and a way to use them to estimate your sett.
Sett Chart for Twill
Here you can see the comparable chart for figuring the sett for twill. These charts also have calculated the diameters according to Ashenhurst, and the variations in sett for different purposes. (I use the 80% figure for “ordinary” fabrics.)
The other day my weekly Zoom Weavers group met in person for a hike on Ring Mountain It was cold, grey, and windy but we had a grand time. After our lunches next to a large rock out of the wind we brought out things for show and tell.
One person wanted to know if two threads she had were the same. I showed her how to hook them together to find out. In other words, she wanted to know if the two were the same “grist”. (A term sometimes used when talking about yarn size.)
You can compare two yarns quickly to see if they are the same size (grist) by hooking them together as if you linked your two index fingers together. Hold one set of yarns between your thumb and index finger. Twist the other two ends so that both sets twist. If they both feel the same, they are likely to be the same size. One thread she knew was 5/2 cotton. When we twisted it like in the illustration, we discovered the 2nd yarn was the same size as the 5/2 and looked just like it so we gathered it was also 5/2.
Another person had a lovely skein of bamboo with the tag still on it. It said how many yards were in the 50g skein. She wanted to know how to translate that information to what she needed for planning her weaving project. I asked how many of the group had a McMoran yarn balance (now simply called a yarn balance). I was surprised that only a couple people did. This is a balance scale used to determine how many yards of a yarn are in one pound.
It’s great for letting you know how much yarn you have on an unmarked cone or skein. Place a length of yarn in the “V” on the balance arm and cut off pieces until the arm balances. Measure the length of yarn in inches. Multiply the number of inches (and fractions) by 100 for the approximate number of yards in a pound. Measure carefully because you multiply your measurement and your error by 100.
You can use the yarn balance to compare yarns, too. If they are the same length when they balance on the scale, they are the same weight and therefore, have the same number of yards per pound and are generally equal in size or thickness.
Basically, what our friend needed to know was how many yards per pound were in this 50g skein. She also wondered if it was sport-weight or fingering-weight yarn. I couldn’t show her this nice chart but said it was in my book, Weaving for Beginners.
If you know how many yards are in a ball or skein or ounce, see the chart above to find the yards per pound (ypp) for your particular yarn. If your yarn isn’t shown in the chart, use the worksheet in the following illustration to calculate the yards per pound.
An easy way to find the yards per pound is to take the known yarns in a 50 g ball or skein and multiply by 9.
Here is a worksheet to find the yards per pound (ypp) for 50 g and 100 g balls or skeins. And also, with the inches from a yarn balance.
Views from Ring Mountain are from many directions. Here we looked west to admire Mt. Tamalpais as well as the flowers carpeting lots of areas on Ring Mountain in Tiburon, California.
Ring Mountain is known for the Tiburon Mariposa Lily. It’s the only place it is to be found.
I’ve been beating around the bush recently with lots of topics all coming down to determining the sett for various projects. Sett is a large subject so this time I will be referring you to various previous posts. I think that way you can get a thorough picture of the topic.
Follow the links to the topics listed below:
1 – Read about what is sett and how diameters of yarns is important HERE
2 – Read about making your weaving easier. This is an introduction to a way of determining sett using the Ashenhurst Rule which will be in a following post HERE
3 – Here is the explanation and formula for Ashenhurst’s Rule. NOTE: Here he explains only the MAXIMUM SETT. You will probably never use that number because it will be denser than you want. Read the next installment about what to do for plain weave, twill, warp and weft face and purpose etc. HERE
4 – Ashenhurst Part Two: The previous post gave you a calculation that will give you the number of diameters, which will be used to determine the sett for a fabric. The reason you want to know the Ashenhurst number of diameters is that it’s his number that is used to make allowances for yarns, weave, shrinkage finishing, purpose (e.g. upholstery or sheer curtains, etc.). What you actually do is to calculate the maximum sett so that you can ten take a percentage of it to allow for different purposes of the cloth or types of yarns. For most “normal” weaving I use 80% of the maximum sett. You just use another % if you want something else. Read on.
This worksheet I made to make all this handy to use. You can see that first is calculating the maximum sett. Then taking the various percents of that figure for different weaves, purposes, etc. See that you would take 90% of maximum sett for upholstery and 50-60 percent for delicate fabrics.
5 – Good reasons to Use Ashenhurst’s 80% figure are given in this post HERE
6 – An example how to use the sett charts: You have a 5/2 pearl cotton that is 2100 yards per pound (ypp). You want to weave a twill, so you would look in the Twill Chart for 2050 yards/pound.
Then, going across that row, look for the purpose of the cloth you want to make.
If you want something very delicate, you would choose the 50% column and see that it is 14 EPI.
If, however, you wanted to make a pillow, you might choose the 80% number (22epi). This sett is what I recommend for “regular cloth”—what I use unless I want extra dense or delicate fabrics. Read more in my book Weaving for Beginners or THERE ARE MANY MORE sett charts in Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle. There are 14 pages of charts with hundreds of yarns and threads all calculated for you.
7 – Select the sett for purpose, width, yarn type HERE
8 – Read sett basics and Ashenhurst HERE
I was given this beautifully presented saying years ago and always loved it. I kept it in a place where I wouldn’t forget it. And every few years it pops up again. I want to share it with all my subscribers, Facebook friends, and everyone else.
My idea for this post is to call attention to the over 171 CATEGORIES so far on this blog since we began in 2010. And the 100 Weaving Tips that I posted every month way before that.
My home page has a way to search for a topic. Look for the little magnifying glass at the end of the tabs just under the title where it lists the different sections of the blog. You’ll see Home, About, Books/DVD etc. and at the end CONTACT and the magnifying glass. For an efficient search, put quotations around the key word for your search such as “sett”. Of course, you can browse up and down the list.
I love making the posts, and don’t seem to run out of ideas, but it would be wonderful if bloggers sent in some SUGGESTIONS. You can do that by sending a COMMENT. I love getting them; there never could be too many! During the pandemic I think I made a post every other day. Afterwards I’ve tried to do one a week.
Place the weft in the shed on a diagonal as shown in the illustration. Every beginning weaver knows this and that it is very important. The reason for the diagonal is to put some extra slack into the weft, making each weft a bit longer than the actual width of the warp. Because the wefts are forced to bend over the warps during weaving, extra slack in the wefts is imperative. In fact, some weave structures require even more slack. Read the post about bubbling dated January 16, 2023 HERE.
You can’t see this phenomenon while at the loom because the warps are under tension and are straight when the sheds are made. It’s not until after the cloth is off the loom that you can see that the wefts are bending (the warps may, too). Because the wefts are forced to bend over the warps during weaving, extra slack in the wefts is imperative.
This illustration shows in cross section even more dramatically how the wefts bend over and under the warps.
Ideally, a diagonal should form naturally from the edge of the woven cloth (the fell) to the shuttle race. The shuttle race is the ledge on the beater at the base of the reed where the shuttle rides in the shed. Most, but not all, looms have a shuttle race. Ideally, it is all the diagonal that is needed. Read about how much diagonal is necessary below.
The natural movement might be to swing the arm back, pulling the weft in an arc down to the fell of the cloth. This shape doesn’t allow enough slack in the weft and will cause the cloth to narrow in.
How much diagonal?
If you don’t put in enough slack, the cloth will draw in too much. This is a huge problem (called draw-in) and is to be avoided at all costs.
If you put too much diagonal in, weft loops at the selvedges will form and/or little loops will form in the cloth.
The diagonal is just right if the cloth draws in only a tiny bit at each selvedge, say, ¼” or less.
How to place the weft at the selvedge
Snug up the weft against the outside warp thread—neither pulling that selvedge thread in, nor leaving a loop on the outside of it. I like to snug the weft up until it barely moves that outside selvedge thread—just grazes it. The wefts should turn around neatly against the selvedges.
Don’t touch the selvedges. You can control the weft at the selvedges with your shuttle. Touching the selvedges is a bad habit—it can slow you down and prevent an even rhythm, which is an important aspect of making good looking selvedge.
What if the Selvedges Splay Out?
If your outside selvedge threads begin to splay out as shown here, there is too much angle in the diagonal of the weft. You must stop this or the wefts will just continue to splay out more and more.
To correct this problem, throw the next weft, and while it is still loose in the shed, tug the previous weft at the selvedge, pulling out the tiny bit of excess weft.
Then, take up that extra weft in the new shed and beat it in as usual. The tiny bit of slack that is taken out will straighten the warps. When the selvedges are back in place, decrease the angle of the diagonal in your wefts. You should need to make this adjustment only a few times to get the selvedges back in place. One way to decrease the angle is to move the fell of the cloth a little closer to the reed.
All these posts about ends per inch (epi) are very much related to a wonderful way to calculate sett invented by Mr. Thomas R. Ashenhurst for industry. (Can you image a textile engineer wrapping a thread for making bed sheets around a ruler?) I’ve written several blog posts about his formula and uses for it. You can search for any work if you look on the home page of my blog and click on the magnifying glass. However, in 2 of my books I explain it step-by-step and all its variations that make it so handy. Check out either one: Weaving for Beginners and Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle. Both books have a whole chapter on sett. The latter book may have a bit more background so if you have both books, check them out. Much is repeated in both of them however.
Allowing for Purpose
There is another issue to consider: the purpose. Do you want a firm or a medium weight cloth? The illustrations above show the same yarns, all used in a balanced plain weave (warps and wefts show equally). What it means is that there’s not one perfect sett for a given yarn and weave.
You’ve seen that there can be a variety of setts for weft-faced cloth, warp-faced, or balanced cloth.
Open up the sett (so that the wefts can pack down more between the widely spaced warps) for more weft predominance and make the sett closer (more warps per inch) for more warp predominance. So, the sett can vary greatly to serve your purpose as well as your cloth design, and choice of yarn. This is one side of the box I wove a while back where I was dealing with double weave and color choice as well as warp and weft emphasis.
Allowing for Width
A very wide warp will need to be set somewhat more open than a narrow one. With a narrow warp, the beater can beat in the wefts closer than with a wide warp where there is more resistance on the beater from having so many more warp threads. For the color blanket above, I made a narrow sample 7” wide. The blanket was 36” wide. The wefts didn’t beat in the same, and the cloth wasn’t balanced with exactly the same number of wefts per inch as warps per inch that were in the sample. It made a significant difference because the project was to be a true plaid where it was important to have exactly the same amount of warp and weft in the cloth so see the color mixing. This taught me to make a sample on the real warp before beginning weaving the project. I use the 2-stick heading when I cut off the sample to finish it so I don’t waste much warp in the process. See this post: Two-Stick Heading
Allowing for Yarn Type
These percentages refer to the Ashenhurst Rule which can be found in Book #1: Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle and Weaving for Beginners and several previous posts. However, the principles do apply in general.
For fairly slippery yarns.
80% of maximum sett is close enough for most fairly slippery silk yarns. Worsted, line linen, mercerized cotton, and Tencel can also be considered “fairly slippery.”
For very slippery silk or rayon or bamboo try 85% of maximum. You can calculate your own percentage or choose a sett a “little higher or lower” than the 80% figures given in the sett charts in Book #1.
For loftier yarns. (fat yarns that are not firm, but are somewhat spongy) You could try 75% of maximum. Yarns that expand during finishing, such as unmercerized cotton, might be in this category.
For hairy yarns the sett needs to be more open try 65-70% of the maximum sett. If the warp yarns are too close, they cannot pass one another in the headless and reed, and you won’t be able to get the sheds to open.
Woolen yarns are meant to shrink, so they should be set more open. Use 65% of maximum so the threads are far enough apart during weaving to allow for them to shrink, making a closely woven cloth after finishing.
The “tiles” in this piece are all woven with a very fine blue silk warp. The wefts were often a greenish color and sometimes the same as the warp. I could decide what color I wanted on the surface or near the surface by what I call “shading”. You can decide if the warp or the weft dominates but doesn’t completely cover the other. In other words, you can have warp face, weft face, or either or neither one dominate. So many choices. I’ve played with the idea several times and I love the idea.
The first twill I learned to weave was a balanced twill on 4 shafts—with 2 warps up and 2, down so both showed equally. This is called a 2/2 twill.
The next twill in the sampler probably was a weft-faced twill—with only 1 warp lifted. That meant that 3 shafts were down so the weft covered them and became weft-face. Hence 1 warp up and 3 down. We call this a 1/3 twill.
You guessed that the 3rd twill must have been a warp faced-twill—3/1 twill. Can you see that the fraction shows how many warps are up and how many down? What if you had more than 4 shafts, say 8*? Can you see you could weave 1/8, 2/8, 3/8,/4/4, 5/3, 6/2 and 7/1 twills? In that case the warps or the wefts would dominate depending upon how many warps or wefts were on top of the cloth.
Cloud Tiles above I shaded 2 of the tiles: tiles 4 and 5, starting on the left. #4 is a satin weave. The gradations in the satin are: 7/1, 6/2, 5/3, 4/4, 3/5, 2/6, 1/7.
The gradations for the twill tile were the opposite starting with 1/7 and ending with 7/1. Some of the tiles I played with the directions of the twills to create some shading effects.
In this piece you can see that I brought up to the surface in stages the ground twill weave to shade the red square made with a supplementary warp.
I covered the supplementary warp triangles with a weft dominant twill to make it look like reflections. I should have made all of the “water” the twill instead of beginning to weave with plain weave. These are things you moan about but must live with.
This is the front loom waste for the Cloud Tiles warp. I decided to frame this for posterity, I guess. But you can have an idea of how fine the gradations could be. I probably used 8 shafts for the tiles and 2 shafts for separate selvedges. The selvedges never came out good for various reasons so that’s why I turned them under. I saw some tiles in a museum which gave me the idea.
Supplementary wefts are wefts that if pulled out of the cloth an intact cloth would still remain. Usually, I would say the ground cloth would be a balanced plain weave but it doesn’t have to be.
This is a typical supplementary weft pattern we call overshot. I really love this technique.
Here is my project for the overshot class I took at Pacific Basin School of Textiles. You can read about it in a previous post on March 15, 2022.
One of my mentors, Helen Pope, wove bookmarks when she was in her 90’s. She loved to chose one overshot threading and see how many different patterns she could make from the one threading. I’m lucky enough to have this set all woven on the same warp.
Here is a close look at 2 of Helen’s bookmarks.
Inlay is another type of supplementary weft. It follows the basic rule that it could be removed, and an intact cloth would remain. This is a loom I saw in Bhutan.
A close look showing in detail the inlay areas in the Bhutan warp, above.
We saw this inlay in the Philippines. The fabric is likely made with threads made from pineapple plants in the weft or in both the warp and weft. It’s called pina cloth.
Another inlay from the Philippines.
Some inlay on netting from my collection from somewhere.
I wove this piece on a warp left over from my students who wove color blankets. I have often tried optical illusions. And triangles seem interesting to me when trying out ideas.
Supplementary warp is a structure where there is a warp across the whole width plus another warp that goes part way across. In the areas where the extra warp(s) is/are there are actually two warps threaded together in the heddles and the reed. (I like complicated things that are actually simple ideas.)
I wove this in a class at Pacific Basin School of Textiles where I really learned to weave. The subject was supplementary warp. It turns out to be one of my favorite weave structures. I liked it right away because “the weft couldn’t muck up my warp!” In other words, I only had the warps to think about and that was a relief. I copied the triangles from a book of African textiles. Then I played with all the other designs that I could get with the threading for the triangles. To me it was a sampler that was becoming pretty nice. So, I ended it the same way I began to make it look like I planned it that way. The embroidery floss was in my stash.
Actually this was my project for the “sampler” I wove in the class. The assignment was to make something 3 dimensional using the supplementary warp structure. That was the beginning of my infatuation with boxes. It’s double weave with the supplementary warp in between the layers.
I think I wove this on my own sometime later. I got the idea of reflections using some twills.
I was to weave something to do with music so got the silly idea of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. I have a loom built for supplementary warp with 40 shafts for the extra warps. There are 4 other shafts for the ground weave. The 40 shafts work with a mechanical dobby. The 4 shafts have treadles and their own shafts and heddles. It’s available if anyone would like to have it. It has around 18” weaving width. Jim Ahrens built it. I bought it from Kay Sekimachi, so it has a good provenance. It’s in my studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. I thought I would weave Jin weaves and collected some information but time has run out for me now. However, I see people are weaving Jin now, so maybe someone will want it. Best Offer.
Color Blanket with Triangle Illusion
This I wove in the double weave class. I was hot to have a color blanket so one side has the supplementary warp grey triangle. The back side has vertical bands of the colors with black or grey wefts crossing. I was disappointed the triangle didn’t appear to lift off the surface as much as I’d like.
This time I wanted to see if I could gradually make an image disappear. I used 6 shafts for the supplementary warps and 4 for the twill ground since I have 10 shafts on my original Ahrens loom. It needed the shafts to be held down so I could get clean sheds when all but one of the shafts was lifted.
In Memoriam: Virginia Davis died this month.
It’s appropriate that this post is to be about balanced weaves—balanced plain weave: Virginia Davis was an expert. She noticed that paintings were done on canvas cloth and that made her decide to weave her own canvas along with her Double Ikat and other dyed work. This piece is 12” x 21 ½” and is one of her smaller pieces. It’s one of her signature pieces where the edges of the ikat are purposely blurry so the effects of the dying done before the weaving are appreciated. I’m so proud to have it hanging in my apartment. I love the optical illusions, too.
In the close up of this piece by Virginia you can see why it is important that both the warps and wefts show.
Here is a close up of a balanced weave shawl by Marlie de Swart.
A larger area of Marlie’s shawl shows how the warps and wefts blend.
Here is Marlie’s lovely soft shawl which I use as a blanket at the foot of my bed. It is beautiful to look at as well as wonderful to take a nap under. Everything is plain weave, over one and under one. This is the THIRD piece Marlie has ever woven. It is weaving perfection. Notice that in a few places she changed the weft in the shed. I think she said the soft yarn was alpaca.
At the end you can see the colors of the warp threads that Marlie used by looking at the fringe. See how the colors built into the warp are in a nice proportion and are different but relate with every change of weft.
This photo relates to the illustrations in the two previous posts: this one being balanced weave and the warps are neither close nor far from each other.
This rug is weft-faced. Many but not all rugs are. In this case the weft entirely covers the warp.
Here the same warp and weft yarns from the previous post are woven weft-face. Notice that the warps are farther apart and the wefts are close together in comparison with the previous example of warp-faced weaving.
In this diagram notice that the wefts bend, and the warps are straight. That is so the weftscan be beaten close together on straight warps. Increase the tension on the warp so the wefts will cover when beaten in.
To get enough weft in the sheds to cover the warps you usually need to bubble the weft. See the next illustrations.
Another step is to beat in the weft hard. This is a photo of young Peter Collingwood. His book, The Techniques of Rug Weaving is a cherished bible. Beat on the open shed as usual then close the shed and beat again and you might even beat again on the next shed to get the wefts to completely cover the warp. If you really want to do a lot of weft-faced weaving the Collingwood book is IT. My books only give the basics. I don’t weave weft-faced things. My mentor/teacher, Jim Ahrens said, “Weft faced! Can’t make any money that way!” So, I never took to it.
There are many weft-faced patterns you can make on a 4-shaft threading. This is woven with 2 colors.
The third technique for weft-faced weaving is to spread out the warps wider than usual. This is an elementary way to think about determining the sett: Use your ruler to wind both the warp and the weft threads together. Alternate the warp and weft threads on the ruler. Keep them flat. Be careful not to twist or stretch them, but still, push them together until they just barely touch. Finally, count only the warp threads in your inch to get the approximate sett. See the illustration. You probably will use a thicker weft yarn than a warp yarn. This is a way to get started. Of course, sampling is important on the warp you intend to weave on.
What if you didn’t know about how to determine how many warp threads you need per inch for a project? In other words, the ends per inch or epi? And what if you just used the number of threads you wrapped on the ruler for your ends per inch? The warps would be close together with no space left for the wefts—this fabric is called a warp-faced fabric or warp predominant one.
Here is a close up of a woven piece by Thomasin Grim that is almost totally warp-face. That is, only the warps show and none of the wefts are visible. You can see a small area of balanced weave where both the warps and wefts show for comparison. More about that in a future post.
Here is a photo of the whole piece by Thomason Grim where it is mostly warp-faced.
This is an illustration from my book, Weaving for Beginners that shows that the warp threads are so close together that the weft barely shows. In future posts you’ll see the same yarns in balanced and weft-faced fabrics for comparison.
Here is a shaft
Many weavers and teachers call it a harness. We should know they are one in the same, but that shaft is the more correct term.
The photo shows the shafts in a loom. They raise or lower the warp threads.
Here is a shed
It’s the space where the shuttle goes. If there were no shed one would have to physically go over and under the warp threads. This is one of the main jobs a loom does: make the sheds.
Here is a view of a shed in a loom.
This photo shows NO SHED. What it does show though is the shafts. None are raised or lowered.
The sheds often are created by pressing on treadles.
The sheds can be created by levers if there are no treadles on the loom.
For a loom to be a loom it must be able to make sheds. However, rigid heddles do not have shafts. Instead, they have a rigid heddle that creates the sheds.
The sheds are created by lifting and lowering the rigid heddle.
What do warps, wefts, and woof Mean?
Warps are the threads that are measured out and put on the loom first. Wefts are the threads that cross over and under the warp threads during weaving. I heard one person say, “Warp is the one that has the letter A in it.” When I checked for the definition of woof I first noticed: “a low gruff sound typically produced by a dog.” Further on, “the threads that cross the warp in a woven fabric”. I didn’t follow further, e.g., for woofer!
We can talk about a warp as a whole or a single warp thread or yarn. Warps are the ones weavers put on the warping board. It’s a strong piece of equipment used to measure out the threads or yarns to go on the loom. A group of threads for a project is called the warp and could inches, or feet, or yards long. Also, a single thread can be called a warp. However, every warp thread needs to be the same length.
The weft weaves over and under the warps that are on the loom already to make cloth.
Wefts come in any number of packages: Skeins often look like this.
Skeins must be completely unwound for the yarn to be useable. A skein as in the photo is used for dyeing but not for any other use that I can think of. To unwind a skein, you could put on the back of a chair and wind the yarn into a ball. Then it can be used for warps or wefts or many uses.
Balls come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Weavers can use yarns in any package other than a wound skein.
Cones are another type of package for yarn. They are well known to weavers. The thread comes off easily and fast for making warps or winding shuttles for wefts.
Weft yarns or threads need to go onto shuttles so they can pass easily over and under the warp threads. There are many sizes but this type of shuttle is usually this shape. Usually they are made of wood. The word shuttle means to go back and forth between two places. Like a space shuttle.
This is a boat shuttle and is much more efficient than the stick shuttle seen before because the yarn wound on its bobbin comes off faster and more smoothly. You can see that it is going over and under the warp threads. In this photo fatter wefts were woven already.
I got two inquiries this week about weft faced weaving and a request for more posts about weaving last week. These help me know what to post about, so I appreciate your suggestions. Write me your suggestions as a comment any time.
Note: To find information in previous posts:
1. You can search for subjects on my website using the “Search” widget on the right sidebar on every page.
2. You can also click on any category in the Categories List on the same sidebar.
The illustration shows examples of 2 warp yarns. Both have 4 warps per inch or ends per inch. (4 EPI) Note: warps are often called “ends”. Hence: 4 epi or 4 ends per inch.
Here a yarn is wrapped around one inch on a ruler. The number of wraps per inch in this case is 15. We might say 15 WPI. You can wrap the yarns on a ruler fairly far apart, so they just graze one another, or so the yarns are squashed together. I suggest wrapping the yarns somewhere between these two options; that is, touching one another very closely, but never overlapping.
Compare this illustration with the first one. This illustration represents wrapping—you can see that the threads touch each other. In the first illustration there are spaces between the warps which is what you would see on the loom. Unless a project is warp faced, there is always some space between the warps on the loom. The number of warps in an inch is called the sett or EPI.
The spaces between the warps in the illustration allow for the wefts to intersect. In this case we have the same yarn for the warp and the weft and a balanced weave with the same number of warps per inch as wefts per inch. (That does not always need to be the case.)
Following the previous illustration, here we see that the wefts take up the spaces between the warps. That’s why there can only be 2 warps per inch (EPI) when there are 4 wraps per inch for this yarn.
It has been determined that there should be 2 EPI (warps per inch). Notice the dotted circles at the top of the illustration: they represent the WRAPS of the warp yarn in an inch. I hope you see the difference now: the warps per inch are what the warps on the loom are. The wraps are used to help figure out how many warps per inch there should be for your project.
The big sale has come and gone but I still want to remember it. It was a huge success and lots of friends old and new, former students, and a surprising large number of textile enthusiasts came. It felt like a big party, and I had such a good time. Again, friends took care of things while I could just enjoy myself. This photo shows what greeted people as they entered the show. They were surprised and impressed. It really was like something completely different. The party went on from there. Visitors as well as volunteers all had a grand time. The original design was by Cynthia Broderson. She helped from early planning through to the end when I had things at home to put away.
I’ve gotten a few photos of people showing me how their new treasurers look in their new homes. I would love to see more photos. You can send them in the “Comments” or email me at Peggy@peggyosterkamp.com so I can share them here. I got one the other day and I can’t find it. I hope the new owner will send it again.
This is one treasure that went to a new home and her owner emailed asking how I hung it. That got me to thinking. This is 1//3 of a kimono length and I wanted to show that it was the beginning end where the artist/weaver “signed” it as an original.
I hung the kimono length on a closet pole (from hardware or lumber store) that I covered with washed white flannel. The flannel keeps the acid from the wood from touching the textile. Here I’m showing that method hanging another piece.
This shows the end of the covered closet pole and the large S hook I used.
This shows the end of the closet pole covered again.
The length of the closet pole and how I stitched the cover.
Very often I use monofilament to hang things when I can hang something from the middle of a rod. I might have used monofilament instead of the S hooks to hang the jacket shown above.
I always have monofilament on hand at home.
Here is the S hook. There were many types to choose from on Amazon.
After the holidays I think we’ll have things that are left on sale online. Stay tuned. First, I have to mark everything as SOLD on my database to know what is still available. You can click on PeggyOsterkampCollection.com to see what went into the sale. I’ll update it when we do the online sale.