Thursday, April 9, 2009


Sampling Compound Structures

I started weaving today. I think many weavers when confronted with an end and end warp (i.e., alternating colors of thread) would think double cloth, but I am beginning my tests with structures that show both warps as defined colors but use only one weft. My first four tests are of compound structures. Compound tabby and compound twill (usually a 2,1 twill) were used by Han weavers as early as the 2nd century B.C.E. You can see I just used the name of the structure as the image for each of the four tests. I realize my weaves show up in the opposite place than I expected because I made my structures thinking black, white, black, tussah going from left to right, but on my TC-1 loom, the first thread is at the right, and it is black, so my structures, from left to right, should have been designed thinking tussah, black, white, black. They are weaving correctly--I just need to rename them so I know which threads they bring to the top.

detail showing compound tabby below and compound 2/2 twill above

Then I started weaving samples of warp-backed structures. As in the compound weaves, the colors are showing up reversed from how I planned due to the warp color rotation, but I am getting the information I need. Each strip is 100 picks, so the fact that some studies weave longer than others shows that the picks per inch are affected by the use of twills or satins and which satins. I like the warp-backed cloth better than the compound studies. I will finish this tomorrow and then design some other studies. Chapter 12 of The Woven Pixel is called Compound Tabby, Compound Twill and Other Warp-Backed Structures. So if you want to know more, and you own the book, start at page 229.

Sampling Warp-Backed Structures

detail of study showing warp-backed 3/1 twill below and warp-backed 4/1 satin above

And here is proof--it must be spring in Vermont!


  1. 2/1 twill i understand! almost the only thing I ever use other than the 1/2 twill. Compound weave on a 3-harness twill is the limit of my structural comprehension!

  2. I love including the names of your structures as part of the design. You will never lose your notes! It looks like a graffiti wall. How did you make your text? They appear to be hand drawn with a big brush or marker pen.

  3. Alice, I just used the pencil tool in Photoshop and handwrote. I use a wacom tablet so it is like holding a pen in my hand.
    Laura, I don't know what Barbara Eckhardt used in terms of terminology to describe her work, but it was compound warps, usually three layers of color I think, and she often striped one or two of the layers so it would appear to be more. I think she mostly did warp-backed structures, though I am not sure she called them that.

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  5. I want my own "compound tabby" weaving!

    compound tabby