Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shaded Warp-Backed Satins

Warp-Backed !2-shaft Satin Sample

My neighbor Kelly Green stopped over today to see how the TC-1 loom works. I quickly made a small file in Photoshop to show her how the design process goes, then we went upstairs to the loom and wove this strip. She had never woven before, but had no problem starting at an advanced level. She also showed me a large quilt she is in the process of making--beautiful small hand-stitching. Maybe she wants to give up law for textiles. It really is my good fortune to have landed in this house in Randolph, surrounded by wonderful and interesting neighbors.

Yesterday there was a meeting of participants in the Vermont Open Studio Weekend. Since this will be my first year doing it, it was helpful to listen to the experience of others. Each artist is to have an educational component, and of course I will demonstrate the TC-1 loom. So it was also a good experience for me today to do this demo for Kelly. If all the people that visit my studio May 23 and 24 are as quick to understand as she was, then surely I will captivate at least one convert to weaving. 

I was also able to count the picks per inch in the little study (almost 60) so I could design the following weaving close to the correct aspect ratio. The advantage of a warp-backed weaving is that you use one weft and can have distinct areas of the warp colors--in my case there are two, black and white. So in areas that primarily show the black warp, each pick will have most of the black warps raised and only one of the white warps (and that usually gets hidden behind floats of the black warp and is not visible). Just the opposite will happen in areas where the white warps predominate. I started thinking about the combination of warp-faced and weft-faced structures in one study, and decided to try a series of shaded warp-backed satins. So using one weft color, I would get variations of it mixed with the black warp and variations mixed with the white warp.

Sample of Shaded 12-Shaft Warp-Backed Satins on the TC-1 Loom

I used a 12-shaft satin as the root structure for this study. The differences are often subtle but they are there. Maybe I will try this again with a 16-shaft satin and see if I can get a greater range of tonality. The sheen of the tencel is quite nice in the weft floats.

Detail of Warp-Backed Shaded Satin Study

I want to take advantage of the fact that my warp is end and end, and can cause a weft to look lighter or darker by using the light or the dark warps, and I want to use more than one weft color. I almost began to turn the warp-backed shaded satins into weft-backed warp-backed weaving, but realized I really am entering the realm of double cloth. I don't know why I have been avoiding it--it is the logical beginning with a two color warp--but I really didn't want to start there. Anyway, I think I am going to begin now. 


  1. I love the sample, and I am so excited to make an appearance on your blog!

  2. Hi, Bhakti, I've got two questions. In your woven sample, you put column headers saying "odd" and "even." Does that mean that the odd column shows weaves where the face warp is the dark warp and the even column shows weaves where the face warp is the light warp? Also, you said you used only one weft; do you lose the darkest darks by using only a white weft? If you used alternating wefts, as you do alternating warps, wouldn't you get areas that are completely black, as well as areas that are completely white?
    Thanks - Sandra