Sunday, 23 September 2007

On weaving and things I've been learning.

I've been having a lovely time looking at waffle weave, also brighton honeycomb, then sateen and a 3-1 / 1-3 striped twill which should collapse into pleats when off the loom. I might have a go at some crepe weaves next. What I'm concentrating on here is different textures.

Earlier this year I spent a few weeks working with Bonnie Innouye's book "Exploring Multishaft Design" (Weavingdance Press, ISBN 0-9678489-0-3) which helped me develop an understanding of the possibilities for twill weaves with 8-shafts. I did a lot of design work using weaving software packages (I tried out a few demos and free packages while I was about it). The software was useful because I could look at weave pattern and change things here and there and see what difference the changes made.

At the moment, I'm happy doing my design notes using pens and graph paper. I've got one pen that's particularly useful, it is meant for calligraphy with a 2mm wide flat nib, and a small stroke nicely fills a 2mm square on the graph paper. I picked up the graph paper and pen because they were to hand, no need to switch on and boot up the computer. I'm very happy at the moment with the pen and paper.

Then it came to me, looking at my diagrams and weave diagrams in the books I've been consulting, that something has happened. Year ago, maybe even six months ago, I didn't understand these diagrams. Now I do. I look at pen strokes and think about overs and unders of yarn in cloth construction. I have some idea of the cloth that the diagram represents. What has happened? It's down to that time I spent playing with Bonnie's book, the software and the loom. I was trying different things, pushing past limits of my understanding, and learning from what happened on the loom. Oh, it's lovely to look back and know I have learnt something!

And another bit of progress yesterday - I was sitting under the loom to re-tie the treadles again, remembering how I discovered it's easier to do with my left arm reaching along between the lamms, and - in one of those sudden moments when a light turns on in your mind - I saw it would be so much quicker if I followed the ties for each lamm when tying up, instead of doing the all ties to each treadle in turn. I re-tied from a Brighton honeycomb pattern to sateen, 8-shafts, 8 treadles used, and lots of changes in just under 12 minutes. Wow! What a journey of exploring and understanding I have travelled - the first time I tied up the treadles on this loom it took 6 hours, over two days (December 2005).


Cally said...

I'm really encouraged to see that you found Bonnie Inouye's book helpful for 8-shaft weaving. I bought it a while ago but have been a bit scared of it! Do you have Madelyn van der Hoogt's 'Complete Book of Drafting'? I worked my way through a number of the exercises and my understanding grew by leaps and bounds.

Dorothy said...

I don't think I'd have got far with Bonnie's book if I hadn't used weave design software, largely because of only having 8 shafts and the book being aimed at weavers with more than 8 shafts. Some exercises were straightforward, but some were very challenging, and others not possible with only 8 shafts.

The important things were: it stretched my ability to design and to weave, and I had fun, and I have a folder of twill samples and records for future reference. I have a sense of achievement when I look at my samples.

Thanks for recommending Madelyn van der Hoogt's book, I've been dithering over whether to add it to my library, I think more drafting practice would be helpful now.