The Trick to Avoiding Disfiguring Floats

Introduction:

Susie Kelly loves to learn new things and works until she is a master. She’s well known in our area for her excellent photographs. She has also greatly mastered kumihimo, beading, pottery, cake decorating, quilting, embroidery, sewing and more  that I can’t remember just now. It was a miracle that I got to know her. She met my photography teacher and blog guy at a photography show where  they were exhibiting,  and she mentioned she was taking a beginning weaving class. My friend mentioned that I was a weaver, and the rest is history. We  have an arrangement now: I teach her weaving and she began to teach me how to process my photos on the computer and now all manner of things on the computer and off! It’s a relationship made in heaven.  

This piece is fresh off the loom woven by Susie with only 1 ½ semesters in weaving classes and a few months studying with me . Four shafts weren’t enough for her right away and she borrowed my 8-shaft table loom. She has been cruising through the book, “A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns from the Friends of Handwoven” commonly known as “The Strickler Book”.  This was her first attempt at block weaves.


Turns out that Susie chose patterns #247 and #248. Her teacher explained the threading and weaving  of these straight and broken twills in warp and weft faced squares and off she went.


Success! Lovely squares with clean, straight vertical and horizontal edges—for the most part. Stay tuned.


Some blocks did not have clean edges on the squares. Being Susie, she quickly used her needle and thread skills and made most of the edges look perfect. I convinced her to photograph one of the places that the flaw was not so noticeable. Notice there are 4 white warp threads going out of the all-white square into the square with the black twill wefts. There were  longer “bad” floats in the sampler before her repairs. But we did find a place with shorter warp floats to show the problem. (not clean edges).


Here is the simple trick to getting all the edges clean with no threads floating across the edges. Where there is a change in warp face and weft face, the tie -down threads at the edges must look like the illustration. In other words, a weft tie-down thread on an edge must meet a warp  tie-down in the adjacent square. If you want to weave more rows than a complete repeat, that’s fine, just in the new square (or rectangle),  begin with the row that has the opposite tie-down thread.


Here is a tie up showing a warp thread opposing a weft thread at the vertical and horizontal edges of the squares. Again, you can weave a square as long as you like, just remember  If you want to weave more rows than a complete repeat, that’s fine, just in the new “square”, begin with the row that has the opposite tie-down thread.


Other weave structures use the same trick. Notice that all the vertical warps are stopped by a horizontal weft where the blocks change. This is an example of a “damask diaper: A self-patterned weave; a simple form of damask with rectilinear pattern formed by the contrast of warp and weft faces of a satin weave; much used for simple table linens.” From Warp & Weft A dictionary of textile terms” by Dorothy K. Burnham. Royal Ontario Museum. 1980. Burnham also lists a twill diaper which is the same idea as the twill weave similar to Susie’s pattern.


Dorothy Burnham chose twill blocks for the cover of her book. Notice not all the blocks are the same size or square but they all have beautiful clean edges.


The Value of Value: A few words from Anni Albers

I’m still painting with the watercolor paints I made with dried indigo leaves. (I got the powder from Slow Fiber Studios). I find coloring in the squares immensely fun! Here is a finished painting using three values of the same color: dark, light, and medium blues. It’s fun figuring out what value (shades) go where. Value in color theory means how dark or light a color is.


I found a scrap of a note from a book by Anni Albers. It says page 221, 222 but I can’t find the book in my library. I hope someone can find it. She says, “It’s the middle color that’s important/interesting.” Here I show my painting without the middle (value) color. It’s just black and white. I think the picture is much more interesting with the middle colors as Anni says. Her quote inspired my paintings since I’m just working with different values of blue paint.


Here is the Star Fashion version. I think the medium blues do enhance it.


Here is a version of the rose version after I’d painted in only the darks and lights. However, if you consider the white paper the very light, you can see that the light blue becomes the “medium” value and does make it pretty interesting. Much better than only the dark and light seen in the second photo.


Indigo Blues Rose & Star Fashion

Introduction:
I’ve been painting with the paints I made from Indigo powder. I began with these block designs. Look for more compositions in future posts. I’m having lots of fun. Each pair of photos was painted with the same paint but maybe lighter or darker. Each one is about 3” square. Can you identify which are the roses and which are the stars?

My first and second Rose and Star paintings. All the paintings are about 3” square. This was my comfort zone for compositions when I began.


The third and fourth ones. I always painted the Rose first so the Star often was in response to how the rose came out.


The last set. All these paintings were using special paints that had egg yolk or egg white for binders. I never could get a smooth water-color look from those. Next, I’ll use the paints that were made using gum arabic. I hope the look will be a lot different from these, but I’m not complaining.


Rose and Star Fashion Pleases Twice – By Lausanne Allen

Introduction:
Just like chopping wood warms twice, Lausanne Allen’s woven Rose and Star Fashion potholders pleased twice: once for the weaving and once (or twice) for giving and receiving the gifts.

A year ago, in the height of not knowing what to expect from our first winter in the pandemic I warped my barn frame loom with what I affectionately called a “gratitude “ warp. It was threaded to this same single block of the Whig Rose pattern, woven to be potholder gifts for everyone on my long list of friends and acquaintances who had made 2020 a more bearable year for my husband and I. Here are some photos to share from my first (blue) warp last December 2020 and a second warp (green) that was finished in mid-January, 2021.


The calming pleasure found in my daily weaving habit grew as did my gratitude list . A second longer warp using a different color prolonged the pleasure as each pad became an opportunity to sample another pattern weft yarn. Each one became a meditation and each one different.


Giving these gifts, whether to the mailman who drove up our long slippery hill with needed packages when we didn’t dare to go out, or to long cherished friends we could now only visit with “virtually” in our winter of self isolation filled my days with a purpose that calmed me.


Weaving these every day on a sturdy barn frame loom became cherished time for me, marked by the steady shoosh of the overhead beater, the occasional squeak of the wooden pulleys and the rhythmic dance of the wooden horses at every press of the oak treadles. A few years ago my husband carved horses, treadles and pulleys for this old loom, so I could remove the shiny polished chrome pulleys that had come with it.  Weaving on this old loom brings such a feeling of contentment. A fresh snowfall provided a sense of wonderland outside my window.


Of course I wove some in each treadling fashion and as I did I tried to analyze why these two different treadling sequences yielded such different results. Your explanation here in terms of blocks makes perfect sense! All I understood then was that if I made a little clock face circle, with 1-2 at noon, 2-3 at 3, 3-4 at 6 and 4-1 at 9 that Rose treadling went clockwise around the circle, and Star treadling went counterclockwise, of course starting from a different place. The clock face made it easy to find my place when interrupted but didn’t explain why in terms of block theory,… As I write I’m feeling the urge coming on to begin a new gratitude list for the shortest days of the year that await us…. Now what shall I weave? Soon the cycle will begin again. What shall be this winter’s gratitude warp I wonder… in what will hopefully be a snowy Vermont again in little more than a month! I think the word is hygge.

(Peggy’s note)
Hygge:
a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture). “why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your daily life?” It is pronounced “hoo-gah”).


The warp was a soft 8/4 cotton  “Cottontale” and the weft mostly  three strands of a mercerized cabled Dk  weight knitting cotton, called “Cleo” , carefully wound on a rag shuttle so they would display their sheen,  smoothly lofting up  as pattern weft without twisting. It took a little more tweaking to keep them from twisting when being wound but it was worth it I think. 


Star and Rose Fashion: Two treadlings for the same threading – “Tromp as Writ” and “As drawn in” explained

Introduction:
I’ve taken a workshop with Slow Fiber Studios in making paints from indigo leaves and indigo powder. Now that I’ve made the various indigo blue paints, I want to paint something. I’m thinking of painting some block designs. I began thinking about painting the same pattern in both Star and Rose versions. I always get mixed up about how to make Rose Fashion so had to look up the information yet again. My favorite books for this are “Weaves and Pattern Drafting” by John Tovey and The Weaving Book Patterns and Ideas by Helene Bress. These books go into much more detail, but here are the basic principles and that are enough for me at this point.

The two variations are made with the IDENTICAL THREADING. The variation is in the treadling only.
The treadling ORDER is as DRAWN IN. This illustration shows what is meant by “treadle as drawn in”. Another way to think of it as “Tromp as Writ” except we are talking about the order of weaving whole blocks—not thread by thread. In a sense you are copying the threading in the treadling.

First you treadle the first thing that is threaded which I’ve numbered as 1. You weave that block the same LENGTH as it is WIDE. In other words, the first thing in this illustration says to weave block A for as many rows as it takes to make it as tall as it is wide. (a tall block) Then, all the blocks that are threaded as A Block will be that tall as well.

Second, you weave (treadle) the second thing in the threading (2): Block B, for as tall as it is wide in the threading. (another tall block) Again, ALL the B Blocks will be that height or that many picks.

Third, you will weave Block A but in this draft you will weave it for only a few rows because in the threading draft in the (3) position the block isn’t very wide. Again, all the A Blocks will now be woven for only a very few picks this time.

I hope you can see from the illustration how treadled as drawn in follows the order and size of the blocks in the threading.

The 4th thing to treadle is a tall B Block, and the 5th is to treadle a tall Block A.


Star Fashion
Star Fashion is the same as treadle as drawn in which I described above.


The result when you weave Star Fashion is that a diagonal line is formed in the woven pattern.


Rose Fashion
This is the result of weaving Rose Fashion. There is no diagonal.
At first glance, it may appear that Rose Fashion is just the reverse of Star Fashion, and that one side of the cloth weaves Star Fashion while the other side weaves Rose Fashion. This is not true. The inversion of pairs of blocks produces its own, unique effect.


When the treading draft says Block A, you weave Block B instead. And the reverse. Whenever it says Block B, treadle Block A. Notice this reversal in the previous photo (repeated here). Remember, you are treadlingthe height that the block is wide in the threading draft just as before. The only difference is WHICH BLOCK you treadle. And you are following the order and size of blocks as drawn in in the treadling.


This handy chart is found in The Weaving Book by Helene Bress. Every time I wonder how to get Rose Fashion, I come back to this chart.


This is also from the Helene Bress book. I think it clearly shows the diagonal formed with weaving Star Fashion and something completely different when treadling Rose Fashion.


Weaving Convention Report

My Weaving in Convergence Booth
My Weaving in Convergence Booth

I got back from Convergence a week ago and have been exhausted. I think I’m coming out of it, finally. It was a lot of work and I had a good time. It was great to hear nice comments about my books from people all over the country. My retrospective book was well received, too. It was the first time I’ve shown my woven art and I’m thrilled at the validation and praise I got. It was expensive: I almost made my expenses, but not quite. That was disappointing.

My Woven Art Work
My Woven Art Work

Twill Diaper

I got a question about blocks in “twill diaper coverlets”. Diaper is a term that means the textile is patterned in an all over design. Often it is in small diamonds. In Twill Diaper Coverlets the principle is based on warp face (3/1) twill contrasting with weft faced (1/3) twill. In other words the blocks  woven in either 1/3 or 3/1  twill. Each block requires enough shafts to make twill (so that means 4 shafts are needed  per block).  Let’s say the blocks that are weaving pattern will be in 1/3 (weft faced)  twill and those in the background are 3/1 (warp faced twill).  Read about profile drafts in my new book Weaving for Beginners, and in Book #3 Weaving & Drafting your own Cloth (in the Drafting for Multi-shaft chapter beginning on page 236. )Read on.

Beautiful examples of these coverlets are in the book, “Keep Me Warm One Night” by Burnham & Burnham. They look like overshot coverlets, but instead of being overshot weave structure  (which needs only 4 shafts to make 4 blocks), they are woven in twill diaper (where each block needs 4 whole shafts and a 4-block design would then require 12 shafts).  For the pattern blocks instead of weft thread floats, the blocks are woven in weft faced twill (1/3 twill).

This is not a beginner’s weave but the concept is the same as block substitution anywhere. You start with a profile draft and plug in the weave structure that you want to use.  Read about block substitution in Weaving for Beginners and Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth.