Tied Lithuanian

Marcy Petrini

July, 2022

 

Recently my 100-year-old Mom moved to an assistant living facility. As we were packing what she would be taking with her, deep down in a drawer I found a small runner woven in Tied Lithuanian. I had completely forgotten I had given it to her. I wove it with the three colors of the Lithuanian flag: yellow, green and red. The blocks of the green section in the middle are woven with a variegated yarn and treadled differently than the yellow and red sections.

 

   

It was a bittersweet finding. On one hand, I am glad to have it because it’s one of the earliest samples of tied unit weaves that I have woven. On the other hand, she must have stashed it away because it was “too precious” to use and ended up not enjoying it. That saddened me.

Mom was born in Lithuania but left as a refugee when the Russians occupied Lithuania during World War II. She was separated from her family. She met my Italian Dad in Germany, they got married and moved to Italy. Dad had been a prisoner of war in Germany because he refused to fight on the Mussolini and Hitler side. Dad was freed by the Americans.

 

 

The Vatican hosted several embassies of the countries occupied by the Russians so that the displaced people could keep a community and preserve their heritage. As a child I remember going to the Lithuanian embassy and seeing beautiful regional costumes that the ladies wore. I was in awe of the embroidery. I had learned to embroider from my aunt, but not that intricate!

It turns out that the “embroidery” was actually weaving, and it was many years later that I learned about some of the techniques. Card weaving and pick up are popular, but so is Tied Lithuanian.

 

  

Lithuania was freed from the Russian aggression in 1989. I am quite sure that I wove the runner for Mom earlier. I was so inexperienced with tied unit weaves, that I didn’t know what are traditionally considered the front and the back. I can tell from the folded hem that I switched them. Below is the back which I thought was the front.

 

 

Ironically, I found the runner when I was in the middle of writing my monograph An Eight-Shaft Primer of Tied Unit Weaves for my upcoming Convergence® seminar. Tied Lithuanian is part of it.

What is Tied Lithuanian? Using Donna Sullivan’s classification from her book Summer & Winter, Tied Lithuanian is a double, two paired ties, with a 1:2 ratio. It means that there are two pattern shafts (“double”) and two ties together (“paired”). For each block the ratio is one tied-down thread for two pattern shafts. The tied-down shafts are 1 and 2. The pattern shafts for block A are 3 and 4.

Tied Lithuanian and Tied Latvian have the same threading. They differ in the treadling.

Below is a sinking shed drawdown. There are three blocks on eight shafts. In this example, each block is repeated. The top portion with the dark pink weft is the Tied Latvian treadling. This is typical of tied unit weaves. Each tie-down shaft is paired with the pattern shafts to treadle the block. The two pattern picks are repeated as needed to square the block.

The bottom portion with the green weft is the Tied Lithuanian treadling. It uses only one pick per block, the one with shaft 1 as the tie-down thread.

In the middle in light blue are the two tabby picks, odd vs. even. As in all tied unit weaves, each pattern pick is flanked by tabby picks.

 

 

The runner for Mom was woven on 10 shafts, the directions long gone. We can see the characteristic columns of ties on shaft 1 in the background, on shaft 2 between blocks seen in the drawdown.

 

 

Whether you will ever weave Tied Lithuanian or not, there is a lesson to be learned here: use your textiles, those you weave for yourself and those given to you by dear ones. My throws and blankets, woven and knitted, some with handspun, are on all the couches and chairs in our living spaces. They are ready to warm humans and cats. You may think they are worse for wear, but I think they have just been loved.

 

 

I hope to see you at Convergence®, maybe even in one of my seminars – vaccinated and masked, we will both be safe.

I would love to see you there!

Happy weaving!

Marcy

 

Swedish Lace or Droppdräll?

Marcy Petrini

June, 2022

A long, long time ago in a region far, far away, a group of weavers were looking for new patterns to try. They came across a Swedish book and found an interesting structure. It was called something like droppdräll, which was hard to pronounce and difficult to spell. But they wove it and liked it. The problem now was to tell others about this weave. They weren’t sure of the meaning of the word. Someone said: it looks like a lace weave, and it is Swedish, so let’s call it Swedish Lace.

Many moons passed and this weaver decided to try Swedish Lace. We had used Mary Black’s book New Key to Weaving when I took weaving courses in Rochester, NY, for nearly one-year. Then I moved. Of course, we had not woven every structure in the book, so I wanted to “fill the holes” and came across Swedish Lace.

In her book Mary Black describes the structure as having three repeats of each of the two six-thread blocks as shown in the drawdown below.

 

  

She also says: “It is this sixth thread which, when crossed by a weft thread forms the little window between the units of the blocks which is a distinguishing feature of the weave.”

I wove a small mat, long lost, but similar to the sample below that I have woven more recently.

 

 

I liked the structure and promised myself that I would return to it – later.

Many more moons passed, and I eventually settled down to weaving scarves and shawls, primarily with twills and satins, but every few pieces, I decide that I need to try – or re-try – something other than another twill.

So, not too long ago, I decided I would weave a Swedish Lace shawl. The impetus was that I would be presenting at Convergence® a seminar on Rectangular Float Weaves which include Swedish Lace.

The finished shawl is below. As I was weaving, I kept on thinking that the structure looked similar to huck and finally I decided I needed to figure out the difference – besides Mary Black’s “little windows.’”

 

  

In a previous blog we talked about droppdräll being huck. We also compared huck the way we generally weave it now and the traditional threading, which is the way I learned. As a refresher here are the two drafts leading to the same drawdown.

Below on the left is the drawdown for the traditional huck, modern on the right.

 

 

Do you see that Swedish Lace is three adjacent blocks of huck? When we want to thread more than one block in huck, we delimit the float with the alternate tabby. We can think of each block of huck in two ways: 1) five threads, alternating a tabby thread with a pattern thread, ending with the tabby; then we use the alternate tabby to delimit the float if we want to repeat the block; 2) six threads wide as Mary Black does, but that’s only true if a block is repeated. The float of a single block or of the end block in a sequence is delimited by the tabby starting the next block. That is shown in all the drawdowns above.

Thus, I have come to the conclusion that Swedish Lace is droppdräll, which is huck. Swedish designs are very clever in arranging the blocks in pleasing combinations. The Swedish Lace arrangement doesn’t surprise me. But the blocks are that of huck.

Clearly my silly story at the beginning of this blog is made up, but my imagination may not be too far from the truth. I still can’t pronounce droppdräll correctly, but unlike my fictional weavers, I will find out before Convergence™!


I hope to see you at Convergence®, maybe even in one of my seminars – vaccinated and masked, we will both be safe.

I would love to see you there!

Happy weaving!

Marcy

 

Sampling Droppdräll

Marcy Petrini

April, 2022

 

After last months’ adventures in rediscovering the proverbial wheel, I wanted to weave some droppdräll. While droppdräll is huck, the Swedish variations and arrangements of the blocks are interesting. I repeat the drawdowns here to make it easier to see them with the fabrics.

I started with Edna Olson Healy’ s Droppdräll, published in the Lily’s Pamphlet Practical Weaving Suggestions One Color Upholstery Fabrics, Vol. 2-58, which is in the public domain and is available from the University of Arizona at this link:

https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/periodicals/pws_58_2.pdf

The sinking shed drawdown is below. I wove it first with a weft the same size as the warp (5/2 mercerized cotton).

 

 

 

Then I wove with the weft floats of thicker yarn, as suggested by Olson Healy for upholstery. The tabby picks are still 5/2 cotton, the float picks are silk chenille.

 

 

The second sample is indeed thick enough to be good upholstery fabric. Olson Healy uses motifs, rather than a continuous repeat of blocks as I have done, but the structure of the blocks is still visible.

To compare the droppdräll with huck, I made a sinking shed drawdown using the traditional threading and treadling steps of huck, shown below. The droppdräll has 4-thread for each block, rather than 5 of the huck; the treadling steps of the droppdräll lack the tabby that separates the blocks in huck. Interesting variation. I suppose we could argue that this is not huck, but if we look at the drawdowns, we see the characteristics blocks.

 

 

Next, I wanted to weave Adrianna Funk’s droppdräll (which she erroneously calls Bronson Lace in her website), and which is also (correctly identified) in the book To Weave the Swedish Way which she co-authored with Miriam Parkman. Below is the rising shed drawdown; she weaves the double picks with thicker yarn for texture. I followed those directions for the sample that is below the drawdown, the warp and tabby weft are 5/2 mercerized cotton, silk chenille for the fatter weft.

 

 

 

I modified Funk’s drawdown (rising shed), as shown below, by adding a tabby between the floats, highlighted in yellow; with this addition, the drawdown is undistinguishable from huck.

 

 

I wove the fabric shown below, using the same warp and weft.

 

 

The difference between the Funk’s droppdräll fabric and the huck fabric is that the double picks in the droppdräll result in visually more solid blocks; in huck they are separated by the tabby. However, the advantage of the huck is that floating selvages are not needed as they are in the droppdräll to catch the double pick.

The Weaving Handbook by Åsa Pärson and Amica Sunderström has interesting variation of droppdräll, but the one that intrigued me the most is the 3-thread structure.  Below is the rising shed drawdown.

 

 

Both sides of the fabric are interesting, woven again with 5/2 cotton warp and weft. Here is the weft-float side:

 

 

Below the warp floats side:

 

 

I have woven for nearly 50 years, yet I still discover variations of one of my favorite structures. That’s what I love about weaving!

If you want to learn more, come to my seminar at Convergence®, I would love to see you there!

Happy weaving!

Marcy

 

Convergence® Amidst Endemic Covid-19

Marcy Petrini

May, 2022

 

After HGA released the Covid-19 safety guidelines for Convergence®, three kinds of questions have come up from folks planning to attend or thinking of attending. 1) why do we have to wear masks? 2) why not require everyone to be vaccinated? 3) why trust the recommendations when this keeps on changing? Ironically, the first two questions are on the opposite side of the issue:

As a retired health care professional doing research and teaching for over 30 years and coming from a very high-risk family (my Mom just turned 100!), I have been following the science and medicine of this pandemic and I would like to offer answers to these questions.

 

Why do we have to wear masks?

The single most important cause in getting Covid-19 is the virus load that you inhale. We catch the virus from droplets in the air. With just a few viruses, the immune system takes care of them; with lots of viruses, severe disease and even death can result. Inhalation of virus particles can occur whether you are vaccinated or not. We all know of breakthrough infections, people who are vaccinated and even boostered, and get the virus.

Large outbreaks have occurred with large gatherings where there are more virus-ladened droplets, even with the best of air handling.

Masks are the one factor we can do to decrease a possible virus load. Social distancing is great, but not always possible. Think of hallways.

No, it’s not fun to wear masks, but experts have said that this is not over yet; viruses mutate, we could have new outbreaks, and there are other diseases to be cautious about (i.e., bird flu). At the moment, we seem to be migrating from a pandemic to an endemic state, meaning the virus is here to stay. I would be wearing a mask even if HGA wouldn’t require it. It’s for my protection.

 

Why not require everyone to be vaccinated?

The short answer is: why? I am vaccinated and boostered for my protection. With many people attending, it is quite possible that some have the virus but are totally asymptomatic, whether they are vaccinated or not. It wouldn’t even have to be an attendee, it could be a hotel or convention center staff person. If I get the disease, I am less likely to die because I am vaccinated.

And yes, there are legal reasons, especially in the south, where many states have made it illegal for an entity to require vaccination. What we don’t want is for some person who is not vaccinated to sue HGA because they couldn’t attend!

 

The information keeps changing, how can I trust it?

I am watching a baseball game and an ad for a new drug appears. How wonderful, I think. What I don’t think about is how many changes that potential drug has undergone to become effective and safe, how may false starts there have been, how many trials, how many reviews, ending with the FDA one.

That evolution of a drug and the understanding of a disease occur behind the scenes, slowly and methodically and well, some may say, boring.

With Covid-19, a lot has been reported on the front page of our newspaper or tablet. As more information was found, our requirements changed. Science is often wrong, but self-correcting. If it weren’t self-correcting, we would still be using the drugs of the last century. What we didn’t see on the front page is the years of research – and failures – that RNA vaccines had undergone. So, yes, the Covid-19 vaccine was relatively fast, but knowledge about RNA vaccines had been amassed over decades.


I hope to see you at Convergence®, maybe even in one of my seminars – vaccinated and masked, we will both be safe.

 

I would love to see you there!

Happy weaving!

Marcy

 

What is Droppdräll?

Marcy Petrini

March, 2022

The short answer is:
            Droppdräll is huck.
            Droppdräll is NOT Bronson lace.

This blog is not so much about droppdräll as it is about how confusing weaving terminology can be, especially across different languages. But is also about how versatile structures can be.

In the January / February issue of Handwoven, Christine Jablonski wrote: “I inserted elements of a droppdräll draft into my log cabin threading.” Editor Susan Horton pointed out that the structure is no longer a log cabin, but a color and weave effect.

What is droppdräll? I asked myself.

From the draft of the structure and the photos of the lovely towels, I could tell that the element of droppdräll were the gold threads interspersed with the two colors of the original log cabin. But that didn’t really answer my question.

I looked up droppdräll in my Swedish weaving book but droppdräll wasn’t specifically explained. So, I turned to the web.

The first thing on my web search was a droppdräll towel by Adrianna Funk who said that “droppdräll is the Swedish term for Bronson Lace, applied here to create a whole lot of texture!”

I thought I had my answer until I scrolled down and found the drawdown for Funk’s droppdräll. It didn’t look like Bronson Lace.

To better understand the structure, I copied the drawdown (rising shed), and color coded it to separate the blocks and the plain weave areas. Here it is:

 

 

The structure has floats as many lacey weaves do; it can be described as a rectangular float weave in Emory’s classification, but it does not look like the structure we generally associate with Bronson Lace, shown below in the rising shed drawdown:

 

 

Maybe it’s a modification of Bronson Lace, but if that’s the case, I should be able to modify it back to its original structure.

Looking at the Funk’s drawdown, we see that the double floats in the two blocks are the result of two shots on the same shed, as opposed to the usual Bronson Lace which has its floats in the two blocks separated by a tabby. This means that the underlying fabric of Bronson Lace is plain weave, while in Funk’s structure, when one block has floats, the other block has pseudo plain weave, or half basket weave.

But it is possible to have plain weave across the fabric in Funk’s example, so I should be able to place a tabby between the double shots to match Bronson Lace.

Here is my modification of Funk’s original draft:

  

 

It’s back to being a traditional lacey weave, but is it Bronson Lace?

Bronson Lace is a unit weave, the distinguishing characteristic of which is that blocks can be combined in the treadling. This is shown at the bottom of the drawdown of the classical Bronson Lace (drawdown #2). It is not possible to combine blocks in the treadling of the modification of Funk’s droppdräll (drawdown #3) because the two blocks use different tabbies.

The color coding is great for allowing us to study the blocks, but it is confusing when looking at the drawdown to see the structure. Next is the same drawdown as above, with one color for the warp and one for the weft.

  

This looks like huck which is shown the next drawdown. While the threading and treadling are different, it is the fabric that defines a structure.

 

 

The drawdown for huck above shows the way that most recently huck is threaded; this makes it easier to add blocks with more shafts. In older books, however, we find the threading of huck as shown below:

 

 

So, what we have is three ways to thread huck. Funk’s original drawdown is a treadling variation of huck, interesting, but definitely not Bronson Lace.

While I was pondering this huck, my colleague Peggy Cole sent me a pdf of the Practical Weaving Suggestions One Color Upholstery Fabrics, Vol. 2-58, by Edna Olsen Healy and published by the Lily Mills Company, Shelby, N.C. The electronic version of the booklet is in the public domain and is available from the University of Arizona at this link:

 

https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/periodicals/pws_58_2.pdf

 

Samples E-1, F-1 and F-2 in the pamphlet are droppdräll, which the author says it’s “a little known Swedish technique.” The pictures of the fabric show a lacey structure. Time to investigate.

The first sample uses 6 shafts. The booklet is too old to have computerized drawdowns, but the treadling, and the tie-up appear in graphical form, and the treadling is listed as treadling steps. Thus, it is possible to create the drawdown and check it with the photo of the fabric. Here is the sinking shed drawdown for the first sample (as given in the directions):

 

 

The fabric in the booklet shows the first motif but there are directions for a square pattern block which I added at the bottom of the drawdown. The author says that the structure is usually woven as a lace weave, but it can be used for upholstery by using a closer sett.

The next sample in the Lily booklet is droppdräll on four shafts. Edna Olsen Healy says that she had never found a 4-shaft version, so she devised one, which I reproduced below, using her graphical threading and tie-up and her treadling steps. The drawdown is for a sinking shed as published.

 

 

This structure was used for two samples: one for a lacey fabric, the other for upholstery. In order to weave the sturdy fabric needed for upholstery, she used the treadling steps in the drawdown above alternating a fatter pattern thread (treadles 1, 2) with the tabby weft, same size as the warp (treadles 3, 4). The fabric does indeed appear to be sturdy for upholstery.

The motif on 4 shafts (drawdown #8) resembles the square pattern block at the bottom of the 6 shaft drawdown (#7). I thought it should be possible to make it look more like the diamond, the first motif, by simply re-arranging the treadling of the blocks. Here is that option:

 

 

With the drawdowns complete is time to analyze them.

Looking at the threading, this, too, is a modification of huck. In drawdown #6 of the huck, we see that the two block threadings are: 1, 2, 1, 2, 1 and 4, 3, 4, 3, 4. Here Edna Olsen Healy has reduced the classical 5-thread block of huck to 4 threads. The tie-up is different because my tie-up is for rising shed, to match Funk’s drawdown (drawdown #1), while Healy used a sinking shed (drawdown #8). But here is the drawdown for a rising shed:

 

 

As I was working through these possibilities, a book called To Weave the Swedish Way was about to be published. Reserving the book pre-publication allowed me to get it here rather quickly. The book is great for beginning weavers, with basic information and lots of projects to weave. But in the midst of it, there is droppdräll, or huckaback. The authors are Adrianna Funk and Miriam Parkman. Funk is the same author whose information started this search, but now she is no longer calling it Bronson Lace, but huck! Maybe Ms. Parkman is a better translator.

But the drawdown for this huck is basically the same as the first drawdown in this blog, from Funk’s website, with double shots to make the double floats. The amount of plain weave between the blocks is the only difference in the book version.

So, according to Funk and Parkman, droppdräll is huck, albeit modified, and “Lily droppdräll” another modification. I had come full circle.

There must be a revival of Swedish weaving, because I read a review in the current issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot of a book called The Weaving Handbook by Åsa Pärson and Amica Sunderström. I am grateful for the review and Tracy Kaestner who reviewed it because, from the title, I would not have guessed that the book is on Swedish weaving. But it is! Droppdräll is huck, no question about it.

The Weaving Handbook is wonderful for the details. It explains briefly how floats are derived from plain weave, which is the way I like to think of lacey weaves. Furthermore, there are lots of treadling variations, some on four, others on more shafts. As we know, the difference between huck and huck lace blurs with more shafts, but I like to think of huck lace as a treadling variation of huck.

Did I waste my time by re-discovering the wheel? I don’t think so, although my search started because of a misnomer. But in thinking this through, I have re-learned to be careful of what names people give to weaves. All of the structures discussed here can be classified as Emory’s float weaves derived from plain weave, also called rectangular float weaves: two interlacing elements forming rectangular blocks. I will be presenting a seminar at Convergence™ discussing rectangular float weaves.

I learned lots about droppdräll / huck variations which I plan to weave. I am hoping to post the samples in a future blog. And that will include not only all of those above, but this one which piqued my curiosity, using three shafts:

  

 

Try droppdräll, I mean huck!

If you want to learn more, come to my seminar at Convergence®, I would love to see you there!

Happy weaving!

Marcy