I have just finished week 13 of my weaving apprenticeship! I can’t believe that we have been going for this long already. I am having a great time and learning lots of good things, many of those things through mistakes, as is true of most learning experiences.
(Samples above on a straight draw threading)
In exploring weave structures I am working on things with Nancy at her studio, as well as doing things on my own at home. At the very beginning she reviewed efficient warp dressing methods on which I needed a refresher (every time I warped my loom I did it differently, which never helped me to get projects going). We very quickly moved to the study of weave structure, starting with a two-part sampler threaded with a straight draw. Very simple, but even with that there are a gazillion weaves you can achieve by simply using different treadling patterns. After I had experimented with that for half the warp, Nancy had me begin to use some of the treadling patterns I liked the most from the first half to experiment with weft texture and color(s). That was wild! Lots of very unexpected results from that. (It really helps that Nancy has a studio filled with amazing and crazy yarns of all unusual textures, colors and materials).
For my second sampler Nancy assigned me a project which I warped with 6 different wool color stripes. Some of the stripes are solid colors, and three of them are pairings of two alternate colors. Each stripe is threaded in different Rosepath twill patterns from p16-17, and a Goose Eye from p22. (I am using Marguerite Porter Davison’s book A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, revised edition, 1944). The results are mind-bogglingly fun, and again, having access to all of Nancy’s yarn collection has made this a great experiment. I have a lot of new ‘favorites’ in that sampler.
At home I began by using some of our farm yarn, a millspun Coopworth/Border Leicester cross, for a warp (hand dyed), and some hand spun and hand dyed silk/wool weft (mostly silk). It was a scarf I designed and wove off in March. Lots of fun, twill threading. colorful! (Although another lesson learned is that I made it wider than I really wanted it to be because I calculated take-up for when it came off the loom. With all the silk in the weft, it did not lose even a quarter of an inch!).
At the moment I am weaving a series of 5 cotton towels at home. I designed them as samplers using a 6 thread herringbone pattern (Davison, p25). I don’t have a huge supply of yarns at home, but I do have a nice range of 8/2 cottons. I used most of the colors I have to create warp stripes. As opposed to the 6 different threadings that I used for the sampler at Nancy’s studio, I simply used the one herringbone threading across the whole warp. My one mistake, that I did not see until I had woven quite a bit into the first towel, is that on one of the sections with two alternating colors, I accidentally placed two white threads next to each other, which switched the pattern of colors from white/turquoise, white/turquoise, to turquoise/white across. Which has managed to insert a white stripe down that section of warp. (There was no threading mistake, just a color bungle).
Despite the color placement mistake, I am loving the way the towels are shaping up! They are a lot of fun. So far I am in the middle of the third towel and have experimented with a lot of the different colors, and a lot of different treadlings. Turning the herringbone direction makes a nice effect, and I took one of the Rosepath treadlings and applied it to this threading and came out with a very nice turned twill pattern.
I am also working on a bit color interpretation project at Nancy’s, but more about that another time :*)