I'm Alice Schlein, a weaver and book maker in South Carolina. Occasionally I write about Photoshop, Network Drafting, bread baking, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Thanks for stopping by! Comments are welcome.
Explorations in Double Twill Two-hour lecture at the Complex Weavers Southeast Gathering. June 17-18, 2017, at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Room. For more information on the Gathering, click on above link.
Spin Your Own Yarn Jan. 17 - Mar. 13. Learn to use the simple drop spindle to spin your own woolen yarn for knitting, crochet, or weaving. This hand tool of prehistoric origin is inexpensive, portable, and easy to use. Create a mid-weight yarn suitable for garments, accessories, and household items. Pack all your spinning supplies in a lunchbag-sized tote and take it with you on vacation! Click on Winter Brochure 2017.
The Woven Pixel: Designing for Jacquard and Dobby Looms Using Photoshop® Co-authored by Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek. 362 pages, many illustrations. Now available for free download on handweaving.net. The accompanying CD with 1400 pattern presets is not included with the free download, but may be purchased separately. Email me at aschlein[at]att[dot]net for more information.
Network Drafting: An Introduction By Alice Schlein. Break away from the block. Curves for your dobby loom. Originally published in 1994, now available as print-on-demand from www.lulu.com.
A Crepe Is Not Just a Pancake 52 pages of text, b&w and color diagrams, and drafts for multishaft tradle & dobby looms. Many color photos of actual cloth. Methods for drafting your own crepe weaves. Annotated bibliography. Pdf available for immediate download. $21. USD. Payment by PayPal. Email me at aschlein[at]att[dot]net for payment instructions.
Echo Weave Based on the 1996 article in Weaver's, Issue 32. With brand new diagrams and high resolution scans of original fabrics. Pdf available for immediate download. $7. USD. Payment by PayPal. Email me at aschlein[at]att[dot]net for payment instructions.
Kids who grow up in a house full of looms sometimes get the urge to weave themselves. Such was the case with my younger son, who used to beg me to let him weave on "the big loom," a mechanical dobby. I told him he could weave on that loom when his legs were long enough to reach the treadles, and this occurred when he was about 8 or 9 years old. The loom had been threaded with a mixed cotton warp in a point twill, and I pegged the bars for a plain weave, showed him how to wind the gray weft yarn on his bobbins, and turned him loose. The results were great. He wove about three yards of beautiful cloth. We used it to upholster a chair and a bench in his grandmother's house. They're still being used. I visited my mom this morning, and took this photo. The warp in the picture is running horizontally.
Last night's Upstate Visual Arts lecture was lots of fun. The audience, most of whom knew nothing about weaving, was attentive and asked some good questions. Actually, there were some weavers in the audience, some of whom I'd never seen before. Good to meet you! Bruce snapped away while I was talking. Here are two especially significant examples, because the first one features my slide of the TC-1 with Vibeke Vestby to the left of the loom, and the second slide is one I took in Chico last week of the new AVL Jacq3G. So now the local folks are fully up-to-date on the latest developments in jacquard looms for the handweaver.
Bruce's next picture is my favorite, because the slide featured on the screen is a basic diagram of plain weave. And I love the way he's used the legs of the projection stand as a framing device. Thanks for the photos, Bruce.
Discovered in the back of my linen closet: a handwoven rug purchased years ago. Source unknown. The weave is a type of warp repp. The yarns are cheap, the construction sleazy, but what attracted me to the rug was the structure, and I think in better yarns it would make an interesting project for six shafts. The warp should be relatively fine and closely sett to cover the weft, and the weft should alternate thick, thin, and repeat (reading the treadling from bottom to top, which is the way it would be woven). In my analysis, a plain weave selvedge is threaded on shafts 1 &2, block B on shafts 3 & 4, and block A on shafts 5 & 6. The original rug is mostly plain weave with occasional blocks of A and B woven intermittently.
As you can see, alternating colors in the warp adds greatly to the visual complexity of this rug, and having warp color changes occur in the middle of the blocks adds further interest. Also fascinating is the way the heavier wefts are deflected around the blocks in the plain weave area.
If anyone has any information about where this rug might have been woven (India, perhaps?), I’d love to hear about it.
This jacquard swatch from my stash is in a structure known as Han Damask.
John Becker, in Pattern and Loom (now sadly out of print and fetching astronomical prices in the used book market), describes this ancient Chinese structure as a monochrome weave in which the ground weave is tabby and the figures are warp-faced 3/1 twill.
If the 3/1 twill is drafted by merely adding tie points to the tabby, the two weaves will work nicely together in jacquard work. The weave works best if it is slightly warp-dominant.
The two weaves can be used in tieups or lift plans for block threadings, and also for network drafting based on a 4-end initial.
Becker has an interesting discussion of the use of heddle rods in weaving Han Damask.
An important part of my day is my daily two-mile walk (Bruce says he’s clocked it at a mile and three quarters, but I know it’s two miles. Besides, after I’ve run up and down the stairs a few times locating my keys, glasses, and sun hat, it must surely add up to two miles). I generally suit up with my iPod and digital camera, and take off. Multi-tasking is the word here. I can listen to Syne Mitchell and WeaveCast
and not miss a beat as I whip out the camera and photograph the newest blooming thing in the neighborhood.
You don’t know about Syne? Shame on you. She’s literate, passionate about weaving, and has a nice voice. She makes me laugh and cry in equal amounts, a great companion for a walk. And she has just launched WeaveZine, a new online magazine for weavers, which I hope will encourage hundreds and thousands of new people to take up handweaving and increase the weaving population worldwide. That will be good for all of us.
The other podcast I enjoy on my walks is David Reidy’s Sticks and String. David is a self-described “bloke,” who chats about his knitting activities and all sorts of other things, like the opera, Australian politics, his cats, and the blue-tongued lizards in his garden. And if you’re a fiber enthusiast, you’ve got to love a person whose motto is carpe lanam. He’s a genial and prolific essayist, and I wish he were my next-door neighbor.
A digital photo of driftwood from 2002 is the genesis for a new jacquard design. The Photoshop steps from top to bottom are:
1. the original photo
2. saturation increased
3. hue adjusted
5. indexed to 7 colors.
I plan to weave this in samitum, with a 4-shuttle weft rotation. From step 5, the file will be reconverted to RGB mode, all the colors separated out into their own layers, and the weaves applied as layer styles.
Continuing to push this threading for placing borders on scarves:
The scarf I wove this morning is in 1/4 and 3/1 reverse twill, and this makes the reverse side a negative image of the face. It's so much fun to watch the cloth snake around the beams on its travel to the cloth storage roller, because from certain points you can see the front and the back of the fabric at the same time. The warp and weft are bamboo. Here's the fabric from the weaver's position:
and here's a peek underneath the loom, just ahead of the cloth storage roller:
As part of a monthly series on artists working in digital media, Upstate Visual Arts will be sponsoring a lecture here on Tuesday, February 26, at 7:30 p.m. I am the lecturer for February, and my topic is A New Tapestry. Having said that, I will now tell you that the topic is neither New, nor is is Tapestry! But that's the whole point. With photos and diagrams, I will try to explain to a general audience what contemporary jacquard weaving is all about, and how it differs from traditional tapestry, another narrative-based art-form. I'll be including slides of tapestry and jacquard looms, explanations of various structure techniques, and the work of several contemporary jacquard artists. If you're within driving distance of upstate South Carolina, please come to this free lecture. I'd love to see you there.
Here's a sample of what will be included:
I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of double plain weave with a white/black alternation in both warp and weft.
Here is a schematic. The warp and weft colors are indicated along the top and left. Yellow indicates light or white warp and weft, and red indicates dark or black warp and weft. The black and white squares are the actual weave structure: black indicates warp up. The weave in this example is #1, white warp and white weft on top.
The layer which appears on the face of the cloth could be:
1. All white (white warp and white weft on top)
2. All black (black warp and black weft on top)
3. Gray toned (white warp and black weft on top)
4. Gray toned (black warp and white weft on top)
5. White with black speckles (white warp, black and white wefts on top)
6. Black with white speckles (black warp, black and white wefts on top)
7. White with black speckles (white and black warp, white weft on top)
8. Black with white speckles (white and black warp, black weft on top)
Examples #3 and #4 would appear the same when woven. Likewise #5 and #7; likewise #6 and #8.
Here are the eight examples, reading from left to right (the green squares are separators).
You could use these weaves as pattern presets for jacquard design in Photoshop, or paste them into your dobby lift plans with a straight threading.