Sunday, September 14, 2008

Color Possibilities with Shadow Weave

With weaving, when in doubt, keeping it simple is the most elegant solution for me. So with Julie's Shadow Weave scarf, I decided to use the two dark grays in DLDL in the warp and the weft. But I sense there are further color options. (I'm not too confident if these screen shots will show well, but here goes. Clicking and looking at the larger picture may help.)

In this post, D stands for the dark(er) color, and L for the light(er) color.

First, the simple black and white. Both warps are in LDLD, but in the left, the weft is also in LDLD, while in the right, it is in DLDL. They look quite different here. My understanding of Shadow Weave is the left version. The draft on the right seems more "corrupt" in this photo than in a real draft; try clicking on the photo to see they are not as dissimilar.

(EDIT: Peg says they are both Shadow Weave, so I should say I like the one on the left better.)

(OK, a question. On Page 77 of the 8-shaft book, the warp is in LDLD from right, but the weft is in DLDL from the top, and still the cloth looks more like the left one. What am I missing?)

With that in mind, say you have yarns in the same hue but values A, B, C and D, with A being the lightest and D being the darkest.

I could make a warp with ABAB, and weave with CDCD in the weft as in above left, or DCDC as in above right.

Or, I could make a warp with ADAD, and weave with BCBC in the weft as in above left, or CBCB as in above right.

Of the four above, I like the bottom left ADAD-BCBC the best. With undulation, theoretically I could introduce two (or more) pairs both warp- and weft-wise where the threading angle (for want of a better word) changes, to create an illusion of depth in the cloth, but this sounds more like the realm of mathematical possibilities for me at this point.

The more urgent problem with this particular warp is the characteristics of my particular cashmere, which feels nicest in something like a loose 2/2 twill at around 15DPI. Shadow Weave, though it looks otherwise, is basically plain weave, so I'm very worried about the way this cashmere is going to feel, based on the sampling I did yonks ago. But Julie won't be comparing her scarf with a 2/2 twill piece, so I may be worrying needlessly; like a nice cashmere coat, it will feel luxurious and light compared to other fiber, and will probably age better than the looser twill.

I just need to sample vigilantly tomorrow, and if need be, resley.

Good night.


  1. Meg,
    I participated in a guild study group last winter in shadow weave. I did a lot of sampling before embarking upon my final project. I didn't have weaving software at that time so had to DO it to SEE it. You are illustrating what I found...the higher the contrast between the two shades (L and D), the more prominent and 3-D the resulting pattern effect. Also, matching the order of LDLD in the weft to the order in the warp further pops the pattern, the difference is amazing. I would also caution you that doing shadow weave in fine fiber dilutes the effect significantly, It is most impressive in heavy guage fiber eg. chenille, or heavy cotton. If your material creates a halo, and is fine, it is likely to become more textural than truly patterned in effect. Which is still great if that is what you are after. As for plain weave and'll need a loose sett if you don't want a board (been there, done that) and the loose sett may further dilute the shadow weave pattern translation. So there is my unsolicited input, for what it is worth!


  2. Since I weave with fine yarns, I really appreciate Barbara's comments. Meg, both of those first two drafts are shadow weave. If you look at Powell's book, you will see an enormous variety of possibilities. Perhaps too many...

  3. Barbara, thank you for the "learned" (in a true sense) input. I appreciate it. That shadow weave's appearance is diluted in finer yarns is not a problem; in fact that's where I and the client want to go so I chose two grays closest in value. The hand vs sett is what worries me more. I've also woven this cashmere in 2/2 twill at 12 EPI, which was very lovely, but earrings sometimes got caught, and it just lacked the umph of a merchandise. At this point all I can do is sample and experiment.

    Peg, Powell? I think you've mentioned a book I don't own and didn't know I don't own!!!

  4. Hey, snap! I used that exact threading from the book of 8-shaft patterns when I was learning to use my Louet three or four years ago (I can't keep track of years any more). I made the first scarf which I actually wanted to keep and wear - and I still wear it. I used black as the 'dark' colour but varied the 'light' colour across several repeats of the pattern in both warp and weft, so it was kind of a shadow-weave colour sampler.

  5. Hey, Cally, I'm in good company then. I'm pleased that at least within the short length of the sample, the selvedge is pretty OK, too.


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