Polychrome Tile Project

Polychrome Tile Pattern

At the beginning of the Pandemic, I found myself spending more time researching digital archives of some of the best Internet sites. I came across pictures of buildings that lead me to believe the architects where inspired by weaving drafts. I set about figuring out what type of draft the designers were looking at and developed a project to recreate it.

The project is for a table runner. The project can be woven on an 8 shaft table or floor loom. The project includes both WIF files and PDF copies of the draft for those that are not using weaving software.

Included in the package is a basic warp calculation for the materials needed to complete the project if you set it up as I did.

Click Here to purchase the downloadable package for The Polychrome Tile Project

Polychrome Tile Project

100 Horizontal Stripes Project – using stripes to create handwoven Christmas ornaments

100 Horizontal Sripes Cover Shot

Need to make something unique for your weaving friends and family this year? I have new project plan just for you. Using horizontal stripe patterns you can create a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with one of a kind handwoven ornaments that you design and personalize.

Over 100 patterns and drafts to launch your imagination, with no upper limit to the designs you can create on your own. There are no loom size or shaft restrictions to to hold you back, every pattern can be woven on every loom, by any weaver regardless of skill and experience.

Package includes instructions, 100 drafts in .WIF format, and a new painless pickup format that uses Microsoft Excel. No worry about having drafts that are too small to read, with Excel you can enlarge them easily without a loss of resolution.

With more than 100 drafts you will also get a digital catalogue PDF of the draft files and photos of each draft as it was woven to use as an index to the draft collection.

Tree Project ExampleMoose ExampleClick to purchase your copy of 100 Horizontal Stripes Project:

Just Getting Started Weaving?

Are you a new weaver?

Are you confused as to how to get started?

There are now four online instruction modules available from Historic Weaving designed to ease you into the weaving world.

I use these modules when I teach in person with my mobile weaving studio.  The looms I use for my instruction in my mobile studio are Ashford “Katie” table looms. While the looms are small in scale and quite portable, the methods that I present are the same ones used by professional weavers weaving on large looms. I present new tools with the methods to save time and effort and provide excellent results.

Clicking the links below will take you to the shop pages for the individual products:

Illustrated Weaving Glossary

Warp Calculator

Getting Warped

Drafting Solutions

New online instruction – Getting Warped

Getting Warped

Do you struggle with warping your table loom? Would you like to reduce the time it takes to warp your next project  while reducing threading errors and tension issues?

Learning to warp front to back can make your weaving look better and be less stressful. Spend more time designing and weaving than you do dressing the loom.

This method of warping works for both table looms and floor looms.

The illustrated guide contains many photos fully document the process and tools.

Instruction includes an example project to ensure you have the chance to practice your new weaving skills.

The concept of project planning is included and you can see how a warp calculated project worksheet is used to build a warp.

Click here to purchase – Getting Warped

Openings for Getting Warped

Getting Warped

Getting Warped

Local weavers, I have found there are 2 spots open in the next running of Getting Warped (April 12/13) and in the Historical Horizontal Stripes (April 26/27) Adult Continuing Education classes running through Bozeman Adult Education.

 

What will you learn:

Getting Warped: Beginning Warp Calculations (planning the warp). Using a Vertical Warping Mill, and Front to Back Warping on a table loom using the reed. You will plan, warp a loom and weave a project in 4 hours of class time

 

Historic Horizontal Stripes: How they were used and where to find them using Art pieces on display in museums, and online research. Discover how they were created using standard looms, not just tablet weaving or drawlooms. Learn about the earliest weaving books and what they have to offer to weavers today. Learn new weaving techniques using loom control and pickup without pain. You will also weave horizontal stripes of your own during 4 hours of class time.

 

Time and Location Mon/Tue 6pm to 8 pm, at the Willson School on the second floor. (Accessible as there is an elevator if needed).

 

Cost of workshop is $47. Looms and materials and handouts are provided.

 

To Register: look on the list on the left side of the page. It’s about half way down. https://bsd7.revtrak.net/Registrations/

Weave with me – Adult Continuing Education – 2021 Spring Classes

Weave with Me - Historic Weaving

I am once again teaching through the Bozeman Adult Community Education Program- Spring Semester

Three courses are being offered, there is limited availability (4 students per course). This allows for social distancing and one on one instruction. Instructor is vaccinated!

The courses are very affordable for students – $47, this include 4 hours of lesson and studio time, rental loom and all weaving materials, and handouts.

Students bring home their completed weaving at the end of the second session.

The course is non refundable once you are enrolled, but that is because I spend the money up front to equip the looms and prepare the studio for your arrival.

Location of the course will be in the Willson School on Main Street in Bozeman. There is good access and parking, and an elevator if needed.

Course Names and Dates & Times

Apr 5 & 6  6pm – 8 pm  – Let’s Get Started Weaving  – The beginner’s course, if you have not woven before start here. Learn how to weave on a table loom.

Apr 12 & 13 6pm – 8 pm – Getting Warped – Learn how to use a warping mill and how to warp a table loom from front to back. Will also address warp calculation, learning how to estimate the materials you need to complete a project. You need to have woven before taking this class. (This is the second course in series)

Apr 26 & 27  6pm – 8 pm – Historic Horizontal Stripes – Learn about early weavers worked with stripes and bands. All can be woven on a simple table loom. This is a technique course, you will be learning easy ways to do pick-up weaving. You need to have completed the first course – Let’s Get Started Weaving prior to taking this class, or have some prior weaving experience.

If you are new weaver – you can get up to 12 hours of instruction and loom time for under $150 with a weaving instructor with more than 25 years of weaving experience, a bargain!

If these dates do not work for you and you want instruction this summer, I am offering opportunities to learn outdoors on my deck at the studio so that you do not have concerns about COVID transmission. Contact me via email  or message me for details.

Where to register for the April classes: https://bsd7.revtrak.net/Registrations/

 

 

 

 

Weaving a Ribbon Heart

Weaving a Ribbon Heart Project - By Historic Weaving

Weaving a Ribbon HeartHistory shows that complex images can be woven on simple looms.

Follow the Historic Weaver on her journey through time to create a striking heart image on a table loom that rivals any produced on a drawloom.

  • Discover early pattern books for needlework that contain weaving drafts
  • Learn how to set up a table loom for complex block unit weaving
  • Explore techniques for successfully positioning an image in the warp
  • Combine loom control structure techniques and pick up block weaving

The Weaving a Ribbon Heart project can be woven by an experienced weaver using a simple table loom (4 or 8 shafts), or a drawloom that has 20 or more draw shafts.

There is no fancy equipment to buy, this project made use of knitting needles, and E-Z Bob embroidery floss holders.

There are step by step instructions (27 page book) with detailed pictures to guide you through all the techniques used in the project. The package includes 11 pattern drafts, and a template for creating custom pickup drafts.

Click here to purchase the downloadable project instructions.  Weaving a Ribbon Heart

I have been busy since Covid hit, while I have not been on the road teaching, I have been hard at work in the studio, researching, weaving and developing new tools to make your weaving experience easier. Weaving a Ribbon heart is a project that I completed for Valentine’s Day this year, and I thought it would serve as an excellent way for you to learn about what I have been up to while being isolated at home waiting for the vaccine to come.

This design is suitable for a card, a picture frame, or a table cloth.

 

 

 

What is so different about the Weaving with Excel Warp Calculator?

A totally new approach to design and warp planning – beginning with allowing the weaver to select the item they want to weave and the system providing standard dimensions for the item which the weaver can adjust manually.

Weavers are able to select the fibers they want to use for the project warp and weft, and the system will computes a range of setts to select from based on previous projects. Weavers make the final selection of sett to use.

Weavers are given a listing of reeds that can generate the sett they are looking for, and the weaver inputs reed size they want to use.

The calculator generates the sley order for the reed selected.

There are two types of warp calculation worksheets – a simple warp, supporting quick estimates of warps with up to four types of fibers and a detailed warp calculator that supports sectional warping, multiple threads in dents, support for borders, motif and selveges, hemming, fringes, and utilization of sampling results for shrinkage and draw-in.

Both Metric and English system of units are supported.

Both Warp Calculators also help weavers price their goods for sale.  All weavers have overhead costs, but often overlook using them in a pricing model because they might be complex, using the Weaver’s Overhead Calculator worksheet gets rid of the hard work and helps a weaver to know their hourly cost of overhead.

The best part of this new type of warp calculator, there are a number of customizable tables that the weaver can personalize to support their individual studio practices, standard sizing, warp material references, material pairings, and material costs. The warp calculator also includes a Reed Substitution Table for both English and Metric Reeds making finding the correct sleying order easy.

How can this system be used by a professional weaver? It is a fast way to estimate the profitability of an item even before sampling.

All of this functionality for $5. It will pay for itself on your first warp.

Click here to purchase the Warp Calculator

Updates to Warp Calculator

I have completed the metric version of the Warp Calculator and included it in the original product download.  This version includes a metric reed substitution chart that works like the American chart and Standard Item Sizes listed in metric lengths and widths.

The only conversion outstanding at the end of the calculation is one in which the user would convert from USD to local currency at the current exchange rate.

 

Weaving with Excel – Warp Calculator

Avoiding project failures due to:

  • Not being able to warp the loom because there are not enough heddles on the loom
  • Not being able to weave the project because you are using a loom too small for the project
  • Not having enough yarn to complete the project
  • Fabric does not feel or look right for its intended use – either too loose, or too stiff
  • Quality materials can be expensive, it is important not to waste them. 

Traditional warp calculators can be intimidating. 

New weavers often feel “there is too much math” and become afraid they might make a mistake.

Using a digital warp calculator helps take the risk out of the project planning process. All major weaving math formulas and important reference tables are stored in this warp calculator as a ready reference when needed.

Avoid losing money when you price your work for sale. 

Weavers who begin to offer their work for sale often do not know how to price their work and often sell a prices lower than they should. Regularly doing this will cause their new business plan to fail.

Using a weaving calculator will help you establish fair market prices for your work improving your odds of making a living doing what you love – weaving.

 

Questions from a Weaver: about – 4 Shaft 100 Boundweave Patterns archive.

From a person who purchased from the website: (Bolding is mine  to illustrate what I think the questions are.)

” I just purchased your 4 shaft 100 boundweave patterns and think it is terrific. just what I wanted. However, you have the threading as twill and I have my threading as rosepath, would all the figures come out the same or will be they closer together and maybe a little different?

 Also, you have the tieup I think for a sinking shed, I have 2 rising shed looms so I guess my treadling  will be 34 41 12 23   should it change for rosepath?  I am planning a Xmas wall hanging in boundweave, and will use the draft patterns I purchased, however, would like to know about the placing of the figures, and if I want a little more space, can I do  44 1 2 3 4 3 2 1 44? ”

 

My response:

Q1: Will there be a difference in the figures if I use a different threading?

Yes, there will be. Let me indicate for you what will change. Starting first by comparing the two threadings.  In my document I mention that the figures have all been worked on a loom with a point threading.

 

 
Point Threading Rosepath Threading

 

I picked an image with no color on thread one to help illustrate what happens because blank spaces are easier to see. Adding the extra white thread in the middle causes the image to separate, and look a little empty.  Your next thought is that you can now fill the space, I suspect. I choose to add a center spot of yellow to the flower.

 

 

This looks like you are just expanding the flower.
You also need to add the same coloring to all threads on shaft 1
Boundweave examples

 

 

This is what the repeat will look like on your fabric.

 

Q 2: Also, you have the tieup I think for a sinking shed, I have 2 rising shed looms so I guess my treadling  will be 34 41 12 23   should it change for rosepath?

 

A note in my instructions, mentions that I set up these drafts so that the weaver can weave them face up. Normal treadling sequences would have the weaver making the pattern face down where they can not see it, because it requires less physical effort – moving one shaft versus three at a time.

 

When working with new weavers, I find that although there are more shafts to lift on each throw, they get a better feeling for how to control the weave by weaving face up. My instructions have weavers raise all shafts except for the one that they want to have the weft color appear on the top. Its easier to discover an error and repair it this way. When working on a table loom it is a matter of moving levers rather than depressing treadles and therefore the effort is not the issue. If you set up the wrong tie-up you will not see an image on the front of the cloth you will see it on the bottom. Always check both surfaces.

 

The treadling sequence will not change with Rosepath threading.  There will be the same numbers of passes with the same colors of thread.

 

Q3: if I want a little more space, can I do  44 1 2 3 4 3 2 1 44?”

 

This translates into: How do I expand boundweave patterns using only 4 shafts?

Example of a Boundweave expainsion by repeating two threads Here I have repeated the two outermost threads, 1 and 2
Example of the boundweave expansion using a pointed twill The repeat is a  point twill from threads 1 to 3

 

I have left you to wonder what does  a  44 1 2 3 4 3 2 1 44 pattern look like.

 

Here is how to find out:

 

If you have Excel or graph paper start with the pattern in the center, you can copy and paste in Excel.

To get square grids in Excel – Highlight the leftmost corner block in the spreadsheet, it will highlight all of the cells, change the width of the cell to 20, and the height to 20 as well. You can click and drag to resize or use a tool bar to set the property.

Write your proposed expanded threading, now copy the colors from those columns into your new draft.

 

My turn to ask questions:

 

One thing to think about, in all of the examples I have provided so far, are there two threads on the same shaft side by side?

What change would you expect to see in your cloth?

Does that change affect the outcome and beauty of the cloth in a good or bad way?

In the examples given so far, have there been any changes in treadling or tie-up?

 

What have you learned about, threading  and figure placement in boundweave from this little exercise?

Can I weave this with the current threading on my loom?

Unknown Draft 1

The Weaver’s Question:

“So I am wondering if I can use my straight threading 1-8 using this lift pattern ?
Also what is the difference between 1 and 2? (I don’t have treadles). ”

 

The Answer: Yes, but you will have to know how to modify the draft in order to do so.

Download and read the following PDF (FREE) to learn how to extend a draft from 4 shafts to 8 and not change your threading.

The PDF file is a lesson in drafting weaving projects. The lesson can be completed by hand with pencil and paper if the PDF is printed. Or the weaver can use their weaving software to find the answer electronically.

Click here to download: Extending a weaving draft from 4 – 8 Shafts

 

A Draft Archive of 100 – 4 shaft patterns for Boundweaving

Boundweave Patterns ebook cover

You asked for it and I finally am able to deliver. Last winter I developed a project for Weave with me workshops around 4 shaft boundweaving. In it I created 100 full color drafts that can be used to make a story cloth to tell YOUR story using a 4 shaft table loom. I posted the graph sheets on Facebook, and weavers asked me to release the set as a book.  I have have completed developing a drafting format that is easy to follow and use to create great images on simple looms.

You can create a full width story cloth or mug rugs for friends and family that hold great memories of special occasions.

The Boundweave Patterns – Draft Archive download contains both a PDF document and a compressed ePub document you can store in your library for future reference.

Click here to purchase the Boundweave Pattern 4 shaft  draft archive.

 

Website Shop Upgrades – New products and Current Research Projects

Sample page from Radiating Patterns

A feature of the new shopping cart are improvements for the home page and the ability to show more images in the ads.  I have decided to make use of a single cart  to keep things simple, this shopping cart will allow me to carry both handwoven, and downloadable products at the same time. I also like to print and do illustration work, and likely you will begin to see a greater diversity in my product line. Hopefully, you will see something that catches your eye and think; Here is a way to support this artist.

I am beginning my 30th year of handweaving, and find I am not a true “hard core” academic (I may not have that laser focus).  I love to teach and love working with people in general. I excel at small groups and one on one, solving problems as we weave together. I love to research and curate information about weaving especially in the 1700s to early 1900s. I want to be part of the solution to identify and keep handweaving history and technical information in the accessible in public domain as much as possible. But, at the same time software is not free, and web servers cost money to run. Keeping something alive will require a business model that generates supportable income in to the future after I am gone.  I know that I do not have the physical strength/endurance or the time to be a production weaver, I am a designer at heart. I love to solve problems, and then I move on to the next problem.

With COVID-19 I lost my opportunity to demonstrate handweaving to the public by letting the new weavers try the looms for themselves, and have retreated into my studio. While being in the studio, I decided that I could once again concentrate on historic research and drafting of contemporary versions of old patterns. I discovered that many of the designs I had created earlier in my career were no longer accessible because of the software going out of production, or becoming so expensive you needed to be a production weaver to be able to afford it. I have been dedicating my free time to capturing what data I could from these drafts and I will be transferring them into a more usable format for future generations to enjoy. As I complete the task I will post them to the website. I can not list them for free, because I need to cover sample production and web hosting hosting costs.

I have both 8 shaft looms, a computer-dobby  24 shaft loom, and a very large drawloom. I design for all three types of looms. In the shop I have decided to mark the number of shafts needed for a draft at the top of the description so as not to disappoint a weaver. You will know what you purchasing before you hit the download button. I also also elected to include weaving software files and manual draft files in the same draft archive packages so that people no longer have to choose one or the other.

A few more words about the work I believe I can deliver to the public. I like to design drafts and weave it before I post it to ensure accuracy, but at this point some days I do more designing than weaving. I think I would like to work out a system with a fellow weaver(s), I would like to see I if can afford to pay a weaver to weave samples of these designs that I can post on the website and give credit for the work that was done. I have no worries if you determine that you would like to weave the design for production and sell items. I am aware that drafts can not be copyrighted, and so will not chase you down if you use a my design for sale in your shop. As I have mentioned before, it is not my intent to be a production weaver. If a weaver were interested in this type of arrangement, I would ask that you email me directly with what your financial requirements might be for making samples and what type of loom (mostly number of shafts) you are using for sampling. Sample sizes should be 10″ x 10″  or larger if the draft  requires it for a full repeat. I am interested in high contrast samples so that it is clear to the weaver what is happening between the warp and weft threads.

For weavers downloading designs, please understand you are supporting my ability to create and maintain self sustaining a database of information related to weaving for access by yourself and other weavers. Downloading once and sharing widely with others defeats the business case for website sustainability. The drafts will have less value, and we all lose the resources we need to keep historic weaving documents and drafts available to the public. I also believe that I do not want to require a subscription to access the draft data or the learning that I have gathered. So this website will always have a public front end that is useful and full featured that is free.

I do not feel that I am in competition with sites like some international pattern libraries or handweaving.net. Historicweaving.com as a website predates them. I am not intending to scan books, or digitize a drafts in that way. I want to use the historic drafts to study how and why they were made, what makes them look the way they do, and how they can be modified to make new designs that reflect our time and current tastes. Understand my statement above that I am not a pure academic, who is driven to study the past and document it a completely as possible. I want to see the past, and bring it to back to life in an approachable way for today’s weavers and looms. My site will be different than others as I am different weaver.  I have had this dream for a long time, and have spent that time learning about weaving and weaving software.  I like to use Facebook as my studio blog, because Facebook can moderate comments faster and more safely. I want this expanded website for its database potential, and the ability to generate revenue to keep it self sustaining. I use Pinterest as a visual catalogue of ideas (a designer’s morgue file) to explore in the future. I’m learning how to write and present full digital content, some video, some pictorial, some e-books and stories. I believe we all learn in different ways and I want to explore ways to help other weaver’s pass on their notes/journals/drafts to the future as well. I have taken a few months to reflect on what I really want to do and how I want to spend my time. I want to research and to weave. (Ideally, I would like to travel as well, but that will take time and a vaccine.)

If I offer an handwoven item in my shop for sale it is most likely to be a one of kind – if it is not, the size of the edition will be stated. I have no desire to weave long warps of the same pattern. It slows me down once I have solved the design problem, I like to move on to the next. I like efficiency, but I am far more likely to want to achieve accuracy, especially in complex structures. I have been known to weave,  unweave and rethread multiple times until I get the loom to match the draft. I spend more time finding ways to warp and weave better. I am known to innovate. If someone asks me how long it took to weave this particular item, it is hard to answer directly because I have to determine if should I tell you about all of the samples I made before I achieved success. (Again, note, I am not a production weaver). What will make my hand woven gifts special is you can be certain that you will not find another one just like it anywhere. When I use my looms I use them as close to their full capability as possible. My personal patterns are complex on purpose, I have a special hand loom, a 100 shaft combination drawloom and I like to show what it can do. To purchase a handwoven piece from me, pricing includes the cost of overhead for maintaining full weaver’s studio, time spent learning about weaving, the cost of materials and fact the item is unique. Your purchase dollars support my research efforts directly. I reinvest my profit dollars into the website and new weaving history research opportunities.

Now that you have heard more about my vision and process, let’s get to the good stuff – what did I add to the shop?

I began with creating  an Illustrated Weaving Glossary meant for beginning weavers – https://historicweaving.com/wordpress/product/illustrated-weaving-glossary/ – never get confused about when a word is used and what it is referring to.

I have been researching extensively for the past couple of years Mary Meigs Atwater’s Shuttle Craft Guild – Lessons and her American Handweaving Book. Many of the documents I am working from are now in the public domain because their initial publication was 100 years ago, and are even more significant because they are her attempts to record information that was sent to her from other hand weavers throughout the United States. These items are truly meant to be preserved for the public because they came from the public. Since their initial publication, draft notation standards for these structures and patterns have changed significantly, usually it requires a bit of detailed reading to learn how to read the drafts from the manuscript.

I have taken the time to record some of the larger coverlet radiating overshot pattern drafts in profile draft form making them more accessible to weavers who use drafting software. From the profile you can try different structures, colors and layouts to find a design that is pleasing to you. I have built instructions that show you how the draft is composed and how it can be modified. I would like to think of it as giving you design components more than a formal project plan. If you want the formal project plan approach use the Woven as Drawn in instructions. My goal in my presentation is to increase your understanding so that you can design your own projects and not not to restrict you to copying standardized patterns.

I added an eBook/PDF and draft package for Radiating Overshot Patterns  – Sunrise, Blooming Leaf, Bow Knot and the Double Bow Knot. These designs include full drafts, profile drafts and woven as drawn-in drafts. This is the link to purchase the draft archive and the instruction ebook: https://historicweaving.com/wordpress/product/radiating-patterns-for-historic-overshot/

The Radiating Patterns ebook shows you how the drafts are related, the Draft Archive catalog details all of the profiles for easy reference to file names, and there are more than 68 drafts in the package. Included are the Lee’s Surrender, Sunrise and Blooming Leaf coverlets drafts. These drafts are the Series IV groups a,b,c and d – radiating patterns. From Mary Atwater’s original work combined with any examples I could find in digital museum collections that had no accompanying drafts with them.

Another bonus item from the American Handweaving Book, when published Mary Atwater made use of black and white photographs of historic coverlets she located in musuems. I have tracked the coverlets down and found color digital images from the current holding Museum’s digital collections. Use this link to download a copy of the original book manuscript and the link overlay to view the color images. https://historicweaving.com/wordpress/product/the-shuttle-craft-book-of-american-handweaving-updated-photo-links-in-pdf-format/

From the Mary Meigs Atwater’s Shuttle Craft Guild – Lessons, lesson 2 which concerns the Honeysuckle draft, I completed a copy of the Sampler Project that she requested as part of the lesson. That lesson encouraged me to create more than 50 unique treadlings to create the sampler assignment from Lesson 2,  I named “Mournin’ Max” to honor the 100th anneversary of death of her husband Maxwell Atwater in 1919, an event that marked the beginning of her full time career in weaving that lasted for the rest of her life. Click on this link for the draft Archive. https://historicweaving.com/wordpress/product/draft-package-for-mournin-max-project/

Current research in the studio

Completion of the documentation of the reticule from the Montana Historical Society Museum. Can be woven on a 4 shaft loom. The structure is Honeysuckle Twill.

A welsh tapestry draft for a 24 shaft loom. Draft is complete, just needs weaving. (“Forget me Not”)

A contemporary version of the Lee’s Surrender draft, using a unit tie weave that can be woven on 6 shafts. In this archive there are colored versions of Lee’s Surrender as found in museum collections.

I am turning my attention to the weaver’s draft books in the United States in the late 1700’s how they got here and the influence they had. I have in my hands access to most of these books and some scholarly research to guide my efforts.

Also I am doing work documenting the drafts for the early Jacquard coverlet designs and determining what designs and motifs can be woven on conventional looms. Those that can not I will be using my drawloom to complete a sample of the designs for posterity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response to a question about threading – an opportunity for me to present what happens after you master plain weave.

Here is the Question: I took a two hour one on one class from you about 2 1/2 years ago. My wife and I moved from Helena to Oregon. I have a loom Ashford table 24 inch shaft. I have the eight shafts threaded and order one through eight, 1- through eight, 1- through eight etc. I should have according to the instruction book that came with the loom threaded them one through 8, 7-2, 1-8, 7-2 etc. I am using a lifting pattern which produces a 12. What other lifting patterns can I use given I’ve already threaded the way I have and I have three more towels to complete? Thanks. If this is unclear or too much to answer please let me know.

Straight Threading

Straight Threading

Answer: If I have understood your question well, the illustration that you see entitled straight threading is what you have described as your current threading on your loom. This is the most basic of possible threadings for an eight shaft loom. And I am pleased to report there are a lot of designs that will work for you and your desire to make some great towels.  I will share some of those in a moment.

I would also like to demonstrate the threading you described from the first towel project in the Ashford 8 Shaft projects book. Here the threading that is called for is a “point” threading the lines form a sawtooth or triangular shape. Looking at the difference between the two shapes in a draft (which is what these pictures are) the difference in the threading introduces a point of symmetry in the loom. Every time the threading changes direction it is possible to weave a design that is symmetrical about that point.

Point Threading

Point Threading

Fundamentally,  a straight threading can be used for a number of structures and patterns. They will be controlled by changes in the tie-up – the connection between the thread shaft and the lever on a floor-loom. On a table loom this change is easier because all you will change is the lift-plan (the order in which you press levers to lift the shafts).

In the first example, I have a 8 shaft twill that will be treadled by lifting each shaft in order to match the threading. It will have long floats and it will be weft faced (the blue thread will be dominant) This may not result in a useable towel depending on the thread in your loom. But it is a good exercise for sampling.

Treadling in the second example on the point threading, I will see the mirror image of the threading in the white line. If I change the direction of the treadling at the point I will make an X, the meeting of two triangles. This displays the impact of the point of reflection. Changing the order in which I lift the shafts, changes the design and makes a point of symmetry.

If I wanted a plain weave fabric I would use the following plan: Lift half of the threads on the first weft shot (1,3,5,7), and lift half of the threads on the second shot (2,4,6,8). This is structure 1, and Twill is the second structure. There are a great variety of twills you can generate on a straight threading.  Rather than me list them, I would like to give you the opportunity to experiment.  Here is a draft showing twill blocks that can be alternated with plain weave.

 

Plain Weave

Plain Weave

Plain weave with lift plan

Plain weave with lift plan

Twill blocks with plain weave

Twill blocks with plain weave

This draft may seem complicated at first but let me explain how it is organized. I have illustrated both types of threading you described. A straight threading and a point threading.

Looking at the draft  you will see that there are no triangles on the left side of the threading (straight threading) that is because there are no points of symmetry.

On the right side there are neat little chevrons in the cloth. These occur at the place when the threading turns (a point of symmetry).

Let me also explain that upper right hand corner of the draft. The tie-up. In my example, I have divided the draft into four sections, (areas or blocks). When I do this I can weave different structures at the same time. Its like having two 4 shaft looms working together. In this case I set up the lower left corner to weave a 3-1 twill (over 3 under 1) on shafts one through 4 and a plain weave with threads that are on shafts 5 through 8. In the upper half of the tie up I set the loom up for a plain weave block on shafts 1-4 and a 3-1 twill (with the twill line in the opposite direction)on shafts 5-8.  In English, at any given time one half of the threads will be weaving plain weave and one half will be weaving twill.

Let’s look at the treadling, I began by weaving the first four treadles in sequence:

Shafts being lifted:

1,5,7

2,6,8

3,5,7

4,6,8

This creates a twill line to the down to the right on straight threading and a chevron on the point threading.

The treadling of treadles 5-8 will weave the inverse (opposite) chevron on a point twill in the space where the plain weave was.

While there are many more pattern opportunities available, I would like to invite you to begin to play with the draft. You can fill in any of the four sets of blocks of this 8 x 8 draft in any way you like. You may get more floating threads than are practical, but you can safely see what is happening on the loom.

To keep track of this I would make use of graph paper, or print this little image.  To determine the shafts you will raise on the table loom, every shaft that is marked in black you will raise, you count the shafts from the bottom to the top like the threads, and the treadles are numbered 1 -8 from left to right. Let me know what you have come up with. It is ok to play with colors, and structure, but I would recommend starting with a high contrast, so you can see the interactions of the threads easily. This process is called sampling.

Blank Tie up in Draft

Blank Tie up in Draft