What a Difference the Warp Makes (and the weft, too): – Inspiration from a 2-shaft lesson

Slide the vertical line in the photo back and forth and see the difference the color of the warp makes on this weft ikat cloth. We visited a young weaver in Japan who made these 2 different cloths using the same weft threads she ikat dyed.

When I turned back to see what the first lesson was in the 2-shaft book, I liked the idea of one warp color with different colored weft stripes. Weavers with any number of shafts should not forget about this possibility. Often, we weavers sample different wefts to see which we like the best, but seldom make stripes with different colors. Even though the warp changes all the weft colors a bit, many combinations of colors can make good-looking fabric. Using the example from the previous photo, the same idea could apply with a dark warp. This is what inspired this whole post.

This is the traditional way we are used to seeing these cotton weft-ikat fabrics in Japan. White threads for the weft are tied and then dyed in indigo. This results with the pattern being white with a dark background when the warp is also dark.

A close-up of the dark warp with the ikat weft.

I only saw one other example of using a white warp with indigo dyed ikat weft patterning at one other studio—It was a piece displayed on the wall designed by the weaver’s wife’s mother who was an artist. Our young weaver used the non-traditional in the same unique way: using a white warp instead of the traditional dark one.

2 thoughts on “What a Difference the Warp Makes (and the weft, too): – Inspiration from a 2-shaft lesson”

  1. Hi Peggy,
    Does the stripe example mean that, say, on a 4-harness loom, one would raise harness 1 and thread a single color, then continue with single different colors on 2, 3 and 4?

    • No. Generally switching a 2-shaft to a 4-shaft you would instead of shaft one you would thread on shafts 1 & 3 (the odd shafts) and for the 2, thread on 2 & 4 (even shafts) The threading would be 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4. HOWEVER, can you tell me which post you are looking at when you ask the question? If ordinary stripes, one color would be on 1,2,3,4 for the width you want and the next color stripe on 1,2,3,4. But I think you are thinking of another idea and I’d like to address it because it might be different. For example, if 2 colors alternate on 2 shafts then they would still alternate (2 colors) maybe the even shafts one color and the odds the other. It may be that you would have 1 & 2 for a section (2 colors alternating) and another warp section on 3 & 4–odds with one color and evens with another. So, don’t get fussed with all of this verbiage. Just tell me which example you are thinking of for the moment. But you might think about what I’ve written if it doesn’t mess you up just now.


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