Lacey Stripes

Marcy Petrini

December, 2018

I was thinking of possible interesting structures that I may add to the Pictionary, when I remembered a fabric I wove a long time ago, so long that I actually wove it with crochet cotton because there were no yarn shops in town and my mail order yarn was back ordered.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I learned this, but my notes say that it was a combination structure, combining a pointed twill with plain weave. Looking at it now, I think I would classify it as a treadling method because the resulting fabric produces lacey stripes and stripes of plain weave.

Unlike classical woven laces, where each block can generally weave either floats or plain weave, in this structure each area can only weave plain weave or the lacey stripe. Furthermore, to show case the lacey stripes better, the sleying is specific.

As shown in the drawdown below, the plain weave is threaded 2, 3, shown in brown, and repeated as long as we wish. The lacey stripes, shown in red, are made up of two units: 2, 1, 2 (A) and 3, 4, 3 (B); the two alternates for as many repeats as desired, with a balancing A unit at the end of the repeat; the following plain weave, then, starts on shaft 3. In the lacey units there are both warp and weft floats.

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

Sleying is easiest if the denting of the reed is the same as the tabby sett for the warp yarn; then the stripe threaded 2, 3 is sleyed 1 per dent. The sleying for the lacey units is:

  • 2, 1, 2 in one dent
  • Skip 2 dents
  • 3, 4, 3 in one dent
  • Skip 2 dents.

From the drawdown we see that the treadling only requires 4 treadles since there are two shots on 1 & 3 for each repeat; similarly, there are two shots for 4 & 2; using the 6 treadles usually available with a 4-shaft loom makes the treadling easier and more efficient.

After wet finishing, the lacey stripes are more obvious as can be seen by the picture of the cloth, while the drawdown shows the actual structure of the fabric.

Next time you want to weave lace, try stripes! A Pictionary entry (click here) has been added for this structure.

 Happy weaving!

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This blog has been clarified since the initial posting. Thank you to Kathy Perito to bring the inconsistencies to my attention.

 

Twill Blocks on Four Shafts

Marcy Petrini

November, 2018

When we think of twill blocks, we generally don’t mean on four shafts, but I was intrigued by the “Twill Blocks No. 2” in Marguerite Porter Davison’s book A Handweaver’s Pattern Book (page 31 of 1994 revised edition – but I don’t see a No. 1!), so I decided I would weave a scarf using treadling II.

I always do a drawdown for my projects and good thing I did! Using the exact directions in the book, my drawdown looks like this:

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

At first I thought I had made a mistake, but, no, the error wasn’t mine. Length-wise warp floats appear in one block from shaft 1 always being raised, and on shaft 4 in the other block. In order to weave it, I would have to modify the tie-up to avoid the long warp floats.

The solution is to remove shaft 1 from one of the treadles for the 1st block and, similarly, remove shaft 4 from one of the treadles for the 2nd block.

I chose to detach the appropriate shaft from the 2nd treadle of each block. Here is the drawdown I used, but the solution is not unique, other combinations could be used.

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

And here is a close-up of the fabric.

 

 

For another possibility, I thought it may be fun to have the blocks alternate a 2/1 straight twill; here is the drawdown. With 6 treadles, this is easier to weave.

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

And here is a close-up of the fabric.

 

 

These blocks are so subtle that they are difficult to see while weaving, so I used the old lace knitting trick, the lifeline, and placed a sewing thread in the same shed as the first shot of the block.

 

 

 

Starting from the sewing thread, I could then easily count how many shots I had woven for the given block; at the end of the block, I removed the sewing thread and placed it at the beginning of the next block.

 

 

I used a strand of sewing thread long on both sides of the weaving edges to give me mechanical advantage in pulling it out after the weaving; to avoid the long thread getting in the way, I temporarily tacked it down with blue painter’s tape.

 

 

 

I used one set of blocks on each end of the scarf, but for the middle, I wanted the design to be more flowing, so I wove it with a straight draw which results in stripes of right-hand and left-hand broken twill lines. Here is the drawdown:

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

And a close up of the fabric.

 

If you have never woven twill blocks on 4 shafts, give them a try!

Happy weaving!

 

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Canvas and Crepe

Marcy Petrini

September, 2018

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, in some workshop, I picked up the mistaken notion that canvas weave and crepe weave are related, or maybe even similar. Surprisingly and embarrassingly, I never checked that fact and I kept on weaving crepe weave, calling it canvas and even teaching it.

Recently, when I found a crepe twill, I started wondering what made it a crepe twill. That’s when I finally figure it all out, including why my mistaken notion probably started.

A crepe weave is a treadling method that aims to produce a crepe fabric, which is generally obtained from highly twisted crepe yarns. What makes the cloth from this structure behave similarly to a crepe fabric is the alternating plain weave shots with picks of floats.

The drawdown below shows the “on opposite” tie-up: the pick of 1 & 2 is followed by its opposite 3 & 4, forming two-thread floats; those are followed by the plain weave shots, 2 & 4 vs. 1 & 3, which are also “on opposite: the second pick uses the shafts not used by the first.

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

The fabric shows the characteristic ridges formed by alternating the two on-opposite combinations of treadling.

 

 

 

Below is the drawdown for a crepe twill from Davison’s book. It doesn’t seem to have much in common with the crepe weave, except that it does form 2- and 3-thread floats that may cause the fabric to behave like a crepe cloth.

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

The threading is unusual and the tie-up and treadling are that of a straight draw. The fabric is below.

 

 

Compared to the crepe weave fabric, that of the crepe twill seemed to be turned on its side: what if I turned the draft?

Below is the crepe twill turned draft: a straight draw threading, just like the crepe weave; the same “on opposite” tie-up; and a treadling of pointed and reverse pointed twills, which makes it a more obvious twill than the original drawdown.

 

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

Below is the drawdown of a canvas weave, with the fabric following.

 

 

Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

 

 

The threading and treadling are very distinctive, forming blocks and placing canvas weave in the grouped weave category. But the tie-up is on opposite!

So, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, someone must have told me that the on opposite tie-up is shared by canvas weave and crepe weave (and other structures as well) and that’s where my mistaken notion started!

If you have a printed Pictionary, please replace the canvas weave page and add the crepe weave one. A few more pages have also been added to the listing.

Happy weaving!

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Piqué in the Pictionary

Marcy Petrini

October, 2018

I learned about piqué from a workshop by Donna Sullivan who had just written her book, Pique: Plain and Patterned. While some fancy fabrics require more shafts, on four it is possible to weave plain piqué, also called ribbed, with either a loose-back or a fast-back. 

The Pictionary now has a piqué page, but here is some of the information. There are two warps; the first forms a balanced cloth by interlacing with a weft of the same size; they are called the face warp and weft, in the picture below in yellow. 

 

 

The orange warp is a stitcher warp, tensioned separately and tightly, which causes the characteristic puckering of the fabric. The ridges are made more prominent by using a stuffer weft, the beige fluffy wool, only visible in the back of the fabric shown below. 

 

 

With two warps and two wefts, the piqué is called loose-back – because it is! In the fabric above, however, there is an additional weft, orange, which interlaces with the stitcher warp, making the fabric a fast-back piqué; even the fast-back is not totally stable, but it would be suitable for any fabric whose back is not exposed, a pillow, or a lined jacket. 

In summary: ribbed or plain piqué has always two warps, face and stitcher; the loose-back has two wefts, the face and stuffer; the fast-back has three wefts: face, stuffer, and the stabilizing weft interlacing the stitcher warp.  

 

Pictionary Update 

  • All of the Convergence® entries are in the Pictionary now, in addition to the few added since:
    • piqué in October,
    • canvas and (corrected) crepe in September,
    • crepe twill in August,
    • ribbed twill in July.
    • More will be added with time, including shadow weave.  
  • Meanwhile, here is a quick test whose answers are in the Pictionary:
    • Is tabby another name for plain weave? 
    • What is a fancy twill? 
    • Do I need to rethread my overshot to change from star to rose fashion? 
    • What’s the difference between “paired x’s” and “paired o’s” in summer and winter? 
    • Can I weave waffle weave on four shafts? 

Enjoy!

    and

Happy weaving!

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Weaving with Knitting Yarn

Marcy Petrini

August, 2018

A friend gave me a ball of a DYS Homespun Yarns in color way “Hot Pink Grape”; this is a 4-ply unmercerized cotton with a gradient from hot pink through purples; the gradient is made by starting with 4 plies of the same pink and then exchanging one ply at the time until the other end of the yarn is 4 plies of purple.

 

 I have seen the nice results from friends who have knitted with this yarn, but what about weaving with it? Wouldn’t it make a fun shawl starting from one color and ending up with the other? I thought it would show best as weft.

Because a four-ply cotton can be dense, I decided that the warp should be lighter; silk is my go-to yarn to lighten up fabrics and I have lots of colors in my stash.

The cotton ball has 500 yards and wraps at 18 epi; with it, I figured I could make a 60” shawl about 18” wide, so my warp needed to be 20” and 97” long. I ended up winding 3 yards, to have some room to sample.

I chose a 20/2 purple silk; normally I would sett it at 24 epi for a twill (and this shawl needed to be a twill for drape), but because the 4-ply cotton is fatter, I calculated the sett to be 18 epi.

I wound about 5” of the solid purple; then I thought the warp needed sprucing up, so I wound 10” with a 20/2 purple and pink variegated silk for the middle and another 5” of solid purple for the other edge.

Next, the pattern: I wanted a twill for drape, I didn’t want a pattern to detract from the color changes and I wanted a twill I had not woven before (or at least that I remembered). That also meant that I could add it to the Pictionary! I browsed through Davison’s book and came across a crepe twill. Perfect!

Here is the shawl. I love the gradation!

 

The drawdown and a close up of the fabric are in the Crepe Twill Pictionary page . If you have a Pictionary already, the Crepe Twill is new.

Pictionary update: in addition to the Crepe, all 21 additional twills are in the Pictionary now; 8 files for the finger manipulated weaves have also been added. They are located on this website under Pictionary; download all or those you are interested in.

I hope you enjoy your Pictionary. I welcome questions, corrections and additions any time.

Happy weaving! 

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