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.
The endless warp has finally been cut off. It wasn't truly endless, only 8 yards, but as I can only weave an hour at a time these days, it did seem to go on forever. It was a yellow cotton warp and natural hemp/cotton weft. So far I've washed it but not ironed it yet.
It has a deliciously scrunchy feel, and based on past experience with this yarn, will be super-absorbent. I think there's enough here for 8 or 9 dishtowels.
The draft looks a bit like huck, but it started out as a networked threading based on an 8-end initial. I came up with this tie-up and treadling to produce alternating blocks of short warpwise & weftwise floats. The pattern was barely visible while the cloth was on the loom, but after washing it magically showed up. Click to enlarge.
At long last, the loom is cleared off for some samples in double twill. Ta-dah!
For more information about network drafting, check out "Books" in the sidebar.
A few days ago I came across a reference to an article about 3-shaft twills which led me down an interesting rabbit hole (click on the link, and then click on the link DOWNLOAD THIS PDF FILE). In it, mathematician Shelley Rasmussen discusses the 30 possible weaves of size 3x3 through 6x3 possible on 3 shafts. Although I am no mathematician, I gleaned enough from the article to make me wonder about applying these weaves to a draft in which the threading is based on a network of 3-end twill. By a serendipitous chance, my 8-shaft loom is threaded with such a networked twill, and I set to work. Here is the draft for weaving polkadots in networked 3-end twill on 8 shafts.
Here is one of Rasmussen's 30 weaves and its insertion into the liftplan of the previous draft (one repeat shown):
And here is the result, combining the two effects in one draft, to produce a highly textured (might I say crepey?) weave with a flatter, graphically patterned border. First the draft, then the actual cloth on the loom.
For the truly curious, in case you're wondering about the logic of weaving 3-end twills on an 8-shaft loom, this would be considered a "turtle" type pattern line. More about turtles and network drafting in Network Drafting: An Introduction (see sidebar).
After two years of lampas I was looking for a new structure to explore. First, I wanted to create a more flexible, drapable, airy fabric. Second, I was wanting a way to weave something relating to the drawing and sketching lately on my mind. A look of the drawn line.
In my library is a pair of treasured books by Doris Goerner, Woven Structure and Design, Parts 1 & 2. In Part 2, Compound Structures, is a design for a jacquard fabric that Goerner labels "Fabric with extra weft. 1 warp—2 weft systems". She further states, "Coarse weft yarn figuring sparingly used on a fine and dense ground weave can produce very attractive designs." This fabric is, in a word, brocade. The ground is a plain weave that could stand alone if the figuring weft is removed. The figuring weft goes from selvedge to selvedge.
I've used this structure from time to time in jacquard work, but I was really eager to work out a rational system for employing it on the dobby loom. It occurred to me that basing the float system on an 8-end satin, it could be used on all the common dobby configurations, namely 8, 16, 24, 32, and 40 shafts, on a straight threading or a threading plotted on a network of an 8-end initial. Moreover, If all the float positions were built on a common satin interlacement, there would be no floats longer than 7; and the straight or networked threading would enable a plain weave ground, paving the way for a lighter cloth. I could use more or fewer rows of plain weave between brocade picks, to provide the desired degree of lightness.
This is a brand new warp on my 16-shaft dobby loom. After correcting a couple of threading errors, I tried a few inches of brocade on a plain weave ground. There are two rows of plain weave after each brocade pick. The effect of the sketchy line comes through as I had hoped. I think after finishing it will have the lighter hand I was hoping for.
As the ties are spread out over equally over all 16 shafts, there will be no issues of unequal tension in the warp. I'm looking forward to a lot of sampling on this warp.
Flash! Off the loom this morning and whisked out to Ampersand House for a snapshot:
Five and a half yards of cotton/lyocell. I had originally thought table napkins, but perhaps it would rather become a Japanese style jacket. I'll see what it feels like after wet finishing. It's a wee bit stiff right now, but that may change.
There's definitely some iridescence, which really surprised me, as it didn't appear while the cloth was on the loom under tension. But outdoors in sunlight it showed up. A nice surprise.
If you're looking for a really good book to take on vacation (or for your staycation), I have a recommendation for you. I just finished Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children and loved it. Here's Meghan O'Rourke's review to whet your appetite.
Are they light dots on a dark ground? Dark dots on a light ground? It changes according to your point of view.
Move around to the back of the loom and the light is reflected differently off the threads.
As this warp was tied on to the previous one, it's still the same threading: jeans twill, or 3-end twill. The 2/1 twill plays off against the 1/2 twill for some subtle effects with no floats longer than 2.
Little time to weave these days, but I like to keep things percolating by designing new drafts. It's exercise, folks. It stimulates the weaving center of the brain. If you've forgotten your anatomy lessons, the weaving center is slightly anterior to the breadmaking center and slightly posterior to the chocolate center.
The first two drafts are for 12 shafts. If I weave them on a 16 shaft loom, I'll use the remaining four shafts for a twill or basket selvedge threading.
And just for kicks, I swapped the liftplans on the above two, to get some variations:
These are all developed on 4-end networks. Click to enlarge.