Color and Weave

Marcy Petrini



One of the seminars I am scheduled to teach at Convergence® is Color and Weave; summer is just around the corner and I am spending a lot of my time weaving samples and writing the handout – and thoroughly enjoying it!

Color and Weave motifs are optical illusions, we don’t see the underlying structure and we don’t realize the threading color order.

Here is a quiz about Color and Weave: what’s the difference between these two fabrics (besides the colors)?

Yes, the blocks are different sizes, but there is another striking difference; look at the drawdowns:

Both are the color and weave pattern called log cabin. As you can see from the drawdowns, only two shafts are needed. Sometimes log cabin is woven using basket weave, but still, two shafts are sufficient to obtain the horizontal and vertical stripes. Two colors alternate in the threading and the treadling; to switch the direction of the stripes, the colors are changed both in the threading and in the treadling.

And here is the difference: the red and black fabric and drawdown on the left have each block of stripes framed by the same color, in this case red. Note that at the end of the horizontal stripes, in the threading a red thread on shaft 1 is followed by a red thread on 2; similarly, to switch back from vertical stripes to horizontal stripes, the red thread on shaft 2 is followed by a red thread on shaft 1. We could have framed the blocks using black in the same manner.

In contrast, in the black and white fabric and drawdown on the right, the color changes vary. The first switch is like the black and red fabric: a white thread on shaft 1 is followed by a white thread on shaft 2, so the stripes change from vertical to horizontal. At the end of the vertical striped block, however, the switch occurs on the black: a black thread on 1 is followed by a black thread on 2. The blocks are no longer framed, and they seem a bit lopsided in the drawdown, but the fabric seems to move!

What do you prefer: framed blocks or moving blocks? The choice is yours, but now you know how to obtain whatever ones you prefer.

For more on color and weave, see my article in Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, “Right from the Start: What Makes a Fabric Color-and-Weave?” in the summer 2015 issue. Or better yet, take my seminar at Convergence®! 

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