More Inspiration for Hand Manipulated Weaves – And another two-shaft weave

CORRECTION:
Mary Balzar Buskirk is the artist who wove the piece shown in the previous post, dated March 20, 2021.

I love textiles that interest me, especially ones that are weavable or peak my curiosity. This linen-like piece fits all of the criteria. Often when I come across a fabric I remember where I got it and have a nice memory or story behind it. This one I don’t remember at all. I’m getting back into my studio and doing a bit of sorting and somehow, this piece turned up. It is 14” wide so that means it probably came from Japan.


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The cloth is so simple. It is yardage so the groups of tassels repeat the entire length.


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So my curiosity took me to see what they did at the selvedges with the tassel wefts. The thick weft is carried up a little shy of ½”. That seems just right and not disfiguring. In fact, I think it adds a subtle bit of interest.


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I put my macro lens on my iPhone to see just what the wefts were doing. I needed to see how the tassel weft fit into the plain weave. The thick weft goes halfway across the fabric in its own shed. It’s interesting that the wefts before and after it are in the same shed with just the thick weft in the opposite shed and going only halfway across the width of the cloth.


Here we can see that the thick weft has its own shed—but we know that it only goes ½ way across the


Also interesting to see what makes up the thick weft. Several strands and not alike.


Often there are clues at the cut end of a cloth.


An Inspiration for a Hand Manipulated Weave: Another two shaft weave

This is a black and white photo I’ve saved for many years. In real life, it is very colorful with LOTS of color changes. If I remember correctly it was woven by Mary Balzar Buskirk. I googled her name and found she died in 1981 at the age of 52 and lived in Pennsylvania. It’s really hand manipulated and slow to weave, but has a lot of potential.

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Here is a detail of another area. I think it’s interesting that she left some modules unwoven. It looks like the warp threads were black and spaced as sections in the reed.

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Ghiordes Knot

This knot is one that is used for making pile rugs. It can also be used for texture and decoration.

Usually, a few strands of wool yarn are used together if you want to make pile as in rugs. Yarn or thread of any color or texture can be used if textures are desired. Use single strands or multiples to achieve the look you want.

Start with some rows of plain weave.

The shed is closed.

Cut the yarn in short pieces in your desired color(s)—approximately twice the length you want your pile to be plus a little extra. You want to cut them long enough, so it isn’t difficult to make the knots. You might cut the pile shorter after it is on the warp and waste some yarn, but it is well worth it so you can make many knots quickly. Experiment with different lengths (and different numbers of strands to use together) to determine what works best for you.

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Step 1: Lay a length of one pile yarn (or group of yarns) over 2 warp threads as shown in the illustration.

Step 2: Wrap the ends of the yarn around the 2 threads and bring them back up between the warp threads as shown.

Step 3: Pull on the tails gently to tighten the knot and slide it down snuggly against the previous row of plain weaving.

Step 4: Continue making knots around pairs of warp threads across the warp or where desired.

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Don’t worry if the pile yarns aren’t all equal in length or are too long because you will probably trim them later.

Step 5: Weave two rows of plain weave between rows of knots. This action is important because if you don’t, you won’t have any cloth, just vertical rows of pile knots that will be separate from each other. It’s the plain weave between the rows that integrates the knots into the cloth. The pile usually is long enough so these rows are hidden.

Step 6: Trim the pile to the length desired and for a tidier look.

Notes

This is how many pile carpets are woven. If you look carefully between the rows of pile you can see the plain weave rows. You can also tell where the weaver began and ended a carpet. Because of the way you slide the knots down snuggly in step 3, the pile lies in one direction. Pet the carpet as you would pet a cat. If it’s the smooth direction, you are petting the carpet from the end toward the beginning.

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If you think you’d like to make a real pile rug, consult books especially written for making rugs.

Also, there are special scissors available for cutting the pile evenly. Most pile rugs have designs in them made by using different colors for the knots. Geometric designs are easy to make using this technique. For more detailed designs, you would need a very fine scale with thin threads and hundreds of knots per square inch.


Twining

This technique can be used as an edge finish or in a contrasting color as a decorative stitch. It creates a flat, dashed line on the surface.

Weave some plain weave.

Use a separate weft in a matching or contrasting color.

Cut a length of weft as long as 3 times the width of the warp.

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The shed is closed.

Start at the right edge of the warp.

Fold the weft in half and center it on the right selvedge thread, one half of the weft goes over 2 warp threads, the other goes under the same 2 warp threads and then they swap places. Repeat across the warp.

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Notes
The number of warp threads in the groups can vary according to the look you like. You can experiment with this technique and invent different looks. The main thing is that the top and the bottom “threads” switch places.

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Danish Medallion

Introduction:
This makes a very nice decorative “stitch”. All the steps sound confusing, but it is clear what to do when you are at the loom and do as the directions say. You may be quite surprised that your work does look like the illustration. It is a lovely technique.

Wind the “medallion yarn” on a separate shuttle. Often this yarn is a contrasting color. If the same color as the warp is used, it makes a more subtle pattern, which is nice in silk.

You might want a small crochet hook for this technique. A tapestry needle might work for you just as well.

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Work on an open shed. See the instructions for working on an open shed at the end of the directions for the medallions, below.

Remember always to keep the plain weave order of the wefts.

Weave a plain weave heading and end with the shuttle on the left side such that the outside warp thread on the right edge of the warp is up in the completed row, as in the illustration.

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Step 1: Open the next plain weave shed. (Now, the right edge thread will be down.) Enter the medallion yarn into the shed and end with the shuttle on the right edge of the cloth.

Step 2: Follow with several rows of plain weave using the same yarn as in the heading. To make the pattern work out, weave an odd number of wefts between pattern rows. In the case of the illustration, three rows of plain weave are woven.

Step 3. Open the next shed. (This is the same as the one for the first medallion shed.) Enter the medallion yarn part way into the shed from the right. You will have carried the medallion yarn up at the selvedge from its first row. Note that in the illustration, this row of medallion yarn starts with a partial pattern so the staggered design will work out. In this case, when you begin the row, go under 1 thread as per the directions for working on an open shed, below.

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Step 4: Bring the medallion yarn to the surface.

Step 5: Here is an overview of the next step. In it you will do the preparation necessary to hook the second medallion weft into the first one below it. You will pass the shuttle through a loop you will make in the first medallion weft and then, take the shuttle up to the open shed to continue the stitch. After the shuttle has passed through the loop in the lower medallion weft, the lower weft will be straightened out, which will pull the second weft down, which makes the loop shown in the illustration. (After this step, the initial loop in the first weft will not exist anymore.)

Follow these directions. Trace the warp thread next to the one where the shuttle came out of the shed down to the first medallion weft. (It will be a warp from the bottom of the shed.) Using a small crochet hook or tapestry needle, pick up the first medallion weft yarn and make a loop on the hook or needle. In other words, where you hook the lower medallion weft should line up with the space where the upper weft came out.

Step 6: Enlarge the loop so that the shuttle can pass through it. In doing this job, you’ll be pulling on the bottom weft and distorting things a bit in order to make the loop large enough. Pass the shuttle through the loop.

Even with a cloth where the warp threads are close together, you can easily do this operation. You just push apart the warp threads.

Step 7: Straighten out the bottom row loop. Pull the bottom row straight again so it pulls the top row down to make its own loop.

Repeat the steps for more medallions in the row, now passing the yarn under 4 warp threads. (To make multiple rows of the pattern work out, you need to pass the shuttle under 4 threads from now on as you go across the row, as shown in the illustration.) Future rows should alternate where the loops are. See the illustration. Remember to make the design work out, take the shuttle under 4 threads in the open shed and use an odd number of wefts between medallion rows. It is important. You need to have a total of seven warp threads between the medallion loops. It matters because if you don’t, the shed sequence won’t work out and the staggering of the loops won’t be evenly spaced. For clarification on counting threads in an open shed, read below.


Working with an Open Shed: How to Count the Threads: (Repeated from the previous post on Spanish lace.)

See the photo and see that the shed is open, and the shuttle is passing part way across the warp before it is taken out of the shed. (Then it will be on the surface of the cloth.) I numbered the threads to show how to count the threads when the directions say go under a certain number of threads. I do it by counting the number of threads that are above the shuttle—that is, the threads the shuttle is passing under. In the illustration, the shuttle is going under 10 threads.


A Series of Hand Manipulated Weaves: Spanish Lace

Introduction:
The chapter, Hand-Manipulated Weaves is in the Appendix of my book, Weaving for Beginners. It was written by Tracy Kaestner who is the owner of Lone Star Loom Room. She suggested it when we met at a conference some years ago and agreed to produce it. The illustrations are by Ron Hildebrand, my illustrator.

Spanish Lace
With this technique, after washing, the fabric looks lacy because the weft curves and show up more.
You will always work with open sheds. This is an important point.


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Working with an Open Shed: How to Count the Threads:
See the photo and see that the shed is open, and the shuttle is passing part way across the warp before it is taken out of the shed. (Then it will be on the surface of the cloth.) I numbered the threads to show how to count the threads when the directions say go under a certain number of threads. I do it by counting the number of threads that are above the shuttle—that is, the threads the shuttle is passing under. In the illustration, the shuttle is going under 10 threads.

How to weave Spanish lace
You will always be taking your shuttle into open sheds as you normally would—except that you won’t go very far into the sheds, and you’ll be taking the shuttle back and forth. Say, the shuttle is going left in a shed then, when it goes to the right it is to be in a new shed. When it goes left again, it will go in a new shed as well. Every time you change directions of the shuttle, you will be changing the shed, too.

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Basically, this is what you’ll do to make Spanish lace: You’ll go back and forth with the shuttle (left and right) a bit, then, move on to a new group and go back and forth again and then, on to the next group, and so on, all across the warp.

To get the idea of how to make this stitch, I suggest you read the instructions as you follow along in the illustration. (Remember, when you go under threads, you are counting the upper threads in the shed only.

Weave a heading of plain weave, and end with the shuttle on the right edge of the cloth. Divide the width of the warp into groups of threads. You choose how big each unit of lace will be. The illustration shows two sizes of groups: 2 threads and 3 threads. You are the designer, and the groups can vary in size. Note there is one thread between each group.

You can weave it just like the illustration, or after you get the idea of how it works, you can start out with experiments. You can try out different sizes of the groups and how many times you want to go back and forth before moving on to a new group.

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Follow these instructions to make the pattern in the photo, which makes two rows of Spanish lace.

For the first group of threads:
Step 1:
Moving to the left, pass the shuttle under one thread (in this case warp #1), and come up out of the shed.

Step 2: Change the shed. Working toward the right, pass the shuttle under one thread, (warp #2) and come out.

Step 3: Change shed. Working to the left, pass the shuttle under 3 threads. You are now going to work on the next group of threads.

For the second group of threads:
Step 1:
Change the shed. Moving to the right, pass the shuttle under 2 threads. (In the illustration, notice that you have already made the first row in the group by going under 3 to the left.)

Step 2: Change the shed. Moving to the left, pass the shuttle under 3 threads to complete this group as well as to move on to the next group.

For the third group of threads:
Step 1:
Change the shed and pass the shuttle under 1 thread as you move to the right and make the second “row” in the group.

Step 2: Change the shed and pass the shuttle under 1 thread as you move toward the left.

Continue across the warp.

For the second row

A second row of pattern is worked from the left side towards the right side.

To start the second row: You’ll follow the same process, but you’ll be going from the left edge of the warp toward the right.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Change the shed and pass the shuttle under one thread, moving to the right. This begins the first group in the second “row” (the one on the left in the illustration).

Step 2: Change the shed and pass the shuttle under 1 thread, moving to the left.

Step 3. Change the shed and pass the shuttle under 3 threads, moving to the right. This completes the first group and starts you on the middle group.

Step 4: Change the shed. Moving to the left, pass the shuttle under 1 thread.

Step 5: Change the shed. Moving to the right, pass the shuttle under 3 threads to finish that group and begin the next.

Step 6: Change the shed, and moving to the left, go under one thread.

Step 7: Change the shed, and moving to the right, go under one thread.

And you’re finished with two rows of “lace”! Read on.Note: You will go across the whole warp before beginning the second row of “lace”. When you’re back where you started, you can weave some tabby. Weave an odd number of rows before beginning to make more “lace”. If you want the counting and the placement of the groups to be the same.