Friday, November 26, 2010

Sky Weavings

Detail of "West" by Bhakti Ziek

I am weaving a pair of sky weavings: "East" and "West". Two wefts alternate, a blue tencel and a silver gimp, in structures that bring one to the front and the other to the back ((weft-backed structures). When you combine structures in one weaving, you have to be sure that one is not significantly tighter than the other, or you will have take-up problems. In theory my five structures were compatible, but in fact they weren't. I created an image file that was pixelated, and the switching between structures happened so often in some areas that the wefts could not pack down evenly. You can see what happens in the two images below: the fell line of the cloth becomes uneven and the reed cannot hit the cloth evenly.

Fell of the cloth is uneven

Reed hits one edge before the other

Thinking of what I could do to solve the problem before it became so exaggerated that I would not be able to complete the weaving, I came up with the idea of hand-picking the weft in the tight areas. I often say that I love the TC-1 loom because it allows me to use all the knowledge I have acquired over the years as a weaver. This was one of those times that I used a process that I thought I would never have to do again on a jacquard loom. The pictures below show what I did. The first image shows the blue weft going across the cloth in the normal shed. As you can see, the cloth curves up where the weave structures are tighter than the other structures.

Weft following normal shed

Not on every pick, but often, I would take the shuttle and bring the weft to the back of the cloth in the tight areas.

Blue weft going to the back in center area

This enabled the next pick of silver to pack down tighter, making the fell of the cloth more even. It seemed to work fine, and 6420 picks later, the first weaving, "West" is woven. No turkey for us on Thanksgiving, but plenty of gratitude at the loom.

Silver weft packs into space more evenly now.

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