Saturday, April 18, 2009

Response to Comment and Double Weave Beginnings

Detail of End and End Warp-Backed 12-Shaft Satin Study showing the one weft (blue) shows in all areas of the cloth

Often when I am posting to this blog I think "I am talking to myself--in a public forum--how narcissistic can I get!" but then I get private emails or public comments that encourage me to keep being public with my thoughts and activities. Sandra Rude, a weaver I have never met but who I greatly admire and know through magazine articles and her wonderful blog, has posted a comment to the last blog asking two questions. First she wonders if my column headers odd and even in my weaving refer to structures that raise the black (odd) ends and the white (even) ends. Yes, that is exactly right. It brings up the issue of labels and categories and talking to each other. When I start a class, I always spend the first hour going through my descriptive words, so that everyone in the room will share a common language. This sort of goes back to the discussion in a previous post about the word tapestry--a word that has different meanings to different groups of people. I like to keep my descriptions as close to conventional structural terms as possible, but sometimes, especially with complex structures, I find I have to wing it. Since I am "talking to myself" in my own studio, I try to write descriptive titles for structures that I will understand in the future. The truth is, I often forget myself, and probably remake structures because of this, so right now as I make these warp-backed, and now double weave, structures, I am putting notes into my notebook about what I am doing. That brings up the issue that I will have to remember the notes are in the notebook, and open it in the future....

The other question Sandra had was about weft and wouldn't using alternate colors in the weft create areas of solid black and solid white. I thought about that too, and that's when I started contemplating weft-backed warp-backed structures, which led me to conclude that I needed to design double weave structures to accomplish this. Below are two structures, the top one is a warp-backed structure and the bottom is a double weave structure. Note that the warp-backed structure is created on 24 ends (width) and 12 picks (height). Every pick of the cloth interlaces with both the front warps and the back warps. I have made the back warps pink so they will stand out for you to see. The back warps are interlacing as a 1,11 satin, and their raisers are placed so they are hidden by the floats of the front warp structure, which is an 11,1 satin. If I use a black weft, the areas that show this structure will appear solid black, but in the areas that use the structure that raises the white warps to the top, you will see the black weft. If I used a white weft, those areas will appear solid white, but then the areas woven with the structure below will show the white weft with the black warp.

2WarpB11,1satinOdd (which means to me, 2 warps weaving a warp-backed structure that brings the odd ends up to the top in a 11,1 satin; and the count of ends starts at the right, same as my loom, where thread 1 is on the right and thread 880 is on the left)
Now if you look at the structure below, which is for a double weave using two wefts (24 ends by 24 picks), you see that the pink raisers, which represent the back structure, only appear on the even picks. On those picks, all the warp ends for the top layer (the odd ends) are always raised, to keep them on top, but the back weft really only interlaces with the even ends (pink in the diagram). With this structure and variations of it, I will get areas of true black and true white if I use black and white as my weft colors.
2DW11,1satinOdd (which means to me, a double weave with two wefts, with the top warp, the odd ends, weaving an 11,1 satin; again the count of warp ends starts at the right with 1, odd, being on the right and 880 would be on the left edge)

On one of my 8-shaft Macomber looms I have a narrow warp set up end and end and I am handpicking images in it, interspersed with horizontal stripes. It has been on there, not progressing, for a long time. I wanted the ability to test 4-shaft structures in each layer, so the warp is not threaded in blocks. I use to love handpicking and brocade and the freedom it gives you to make any motifs, anywhere in the cloth--as long as you are willing to do this slow, laborious process. I would bristle when people implied it was tedious, because for me, it was this need to focus and pay attention to the cloth that made it interesting. I suppose I would be more tolerant of the process today if I didn't have a TC-1 loom that makes the handpicking unnecessary (though I can do it the TC-1 too as described in The Woven Pixel Chapter 14, Supplementary Brocading in the Warp and the Weft). I also think youth had a part to play--when I felt I had all the time in the world, I was more willing to watch my fabrics grow slowly. Speaking of youth, while taking a walk the other day I slipped on gravel and scraped my knee, just like I used to do as a kid. It still hurts, but I guess I am grateful that I can do anything like a kid anymore.

Hand-picked double plain weave on loom

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