Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pebbles

Calmer bloggers might discuss one or two projects/subjects at a time, or at least use labels intelligently so readers can follow a subject/project easily; I am not one of them. So, this post picks up where I left off here in the main, but continues with Summer & Winter train of thought as well. (After working on this post for 4 days, I finally started a "Summer and Winter" label for my own convenience, but I found out I'm not allowed to use ampersand in labels!!)

The reason I'm interested in analogous (at least not blatantly colorful) Summer & Winter is to create the pebbles I've been euphemistically sitting on. I want to continue using Summer & Winter because Ali said the structure allows maximum use of however many shafts a loom has, and I've become somewhat familiar with this structure. And with appropriate yarn selection, it has proven to be not as fuddy-duddy, (or "mumsy" as Jill Alexander likes to say,) as I used to think.

I hit a wall in August, though, and I made half a dozen attempts in trying to understand the behavior of shafts, warp ends on same shafts, and treadling. I've been searching for a logic/rule, if it indeed exists, in making the most efficient use of the shafts in creating similar but unidentical shapes on a grid. If you don't understand how I describe things in words in this post, don't worry; I hope the pictures help.

Premise/Background:
* I plan to sample on a table loom, so I can ignore treadle numbers. I'll use my Klik which has 16 shafts.
* Summer & Winter takes up two shafts for tabby, leaving 14 for as pattern shafts. However, I don't want my pebbles stuck to each other, so an extra shaft is required for the negative space. In all I have 16-3=13 shafts for positive space/pattern/pebbles.
* For convenience, I used the alternating treadling in my examples; I can easily convert the draft to any of the other three should I so choose.
* I could have started with few, bigger, nicely rounded pebbles, but I opted for a group of crudely-shaped ones as my initial idea was to weave cute pebbles in a rough grid formation. In fact, I started my studies with squares, because they are the simples shapes on a grid, so uses the fewest shafts.

Regardless of the size of the squares or the space between them on the grid, if the positive and negative shapes are uniform, only four shafts are required: two shafts for the tabby, one for squares/pebbles and one for the negative space.

Because I was interested to see how each shaft behaves, I paid a lot of attention to the tie-up and treadling. Here, I can see Shafts 1 and 2 are used for tabby, 3 for negative space, and 4 for the square/pebble.
I then chipped away at the squares, creating patterns with some element of uniformity, converting each variation into weaving drafts. (A little more about my software appears at the bottom of the post.) I was surprised to see all four arrangement below can be woven on the same tie-up; only the threading and treading vary.

All four patterns can be woven using this tie-up: Shafts 1 and 2 are used to weave the tabby; 3 to create the chip in the squares; 4 to create the positive areas, and 5 to create the negative space. Treadles 1 and 2 are used to weave the tabby; 3 and 4 to create the rows that contains chips; 5 and 6 to create rows of squares without chips, and 7 and 8 to create the negative space.

After this, I created dozens of designs by chipping away at, and later also adding lumps to, some of the squares on a 5-squares-by-5-squares base, counting the shafts required, converting the drawing with the software to create drafts and verify the shaft count.

So far this is the only design which contains sufficient variety of shapes. I have a session with Ali on Monday, so while I hope to create more interesting, more rounded pebble patterns, I think I'll thread my loom and weave this over the weekend.
This requires 16 shafts, and 50 treadles if I had a wide enough loom; one repeat is 312 picks. Although weaving tabby on table looms drive me nuts, I think I can handle it.

Ah, you say the shapes hardly look like the pebbles or dots I made in the first place? I couldn't agree with you more, but these are related to my attempts to break down the dots into small squares previously. As mentioned before, squares require the fewest shafts, and treadling is shorter than rectangles. Circles require a minimum of six shafts, and though I see cute, warped polka-dots in my future, I needed the simplest shapes to restart my investigation.

Thoughts:
* Because my software Fiberworks PCW allows me to make a pattern on grids, convert it into a profile draft, then further convert it into a draft of weave structures of my choice, all quite automagically, I am able to create drafts without really understanding how the shafts and warps behave, most importantly how certain shafts could be shared across the cloth. To avoid this, I worked on graph papers for a long time, getting nowhere. After using the software, creating many shapes and analyzing how the software converted them, I started to see vaguely how the conversion works, and I was able to count the shafts for some my cruder shapes, or convert my crudest shapes into a weaving draft.
* To count the shafts accurately is my next goal. In addition, I'd like to be be able to convert less crude shapes into a weaving draft; in other words, I would feel more comfortable if I knew exactly how the software analyzed my shapes and turned them into drafts. My final goal is to "recycle" shafts wisely so that I can make shapes that appear as if they require more shafts than I have. If you are hoping to weave something like this on a foot loom, I think this is where skeleton tie-up comes in.
* The software defaults uses a white warp, and the shapes are created with weft colors; it took me until late last night to realize this. When I think about it, I very often start out with a dark warp, and almost always create shapes with my warp (i.e. dark) yarns until I am comfortable with the draft. Then and only then actual colors, particularly of the weft, comes into play. It's just a habit I wasn't aware I picked up, but these little discrepancies and the resultant appearances of the drafts on the screen confused me until I noticed these little things.
* I'm only interested in weaving my pebbles in a normal, cloth-weaving fashion, as opposed to on a jacquard loom, (I would if I had the chance!) or using pick-up; this shows my penchant for cloth-weaving, as opposed to another types (art?) of weaving, and I'm happy about that.
* Uber Teacher Bonnie Inouye said if we don't like weaving with two shuttles, we could always turn drafts. This is definitely on my list to try.

6 comments:

  1. In one of those weird weaving coincidences I'm also thinking about revisiting summer and winter now I have 16 shafts at my disposal. My plans are much simpler though - small squares, suitable for mug rugs, each one a wee sampler for pattern/colour. The mug rug idea did make me think of a cookie-with-a-bite-out-of-it motif, though: kind of like one enormous pebble? Or boulder??

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  2. Oh, Cally, I know you'll post them, yes? And if you do weave the cookie with a bite out, that'll be fantastic! I started threading the one example, and it's been quick and easy, but I think this sample will be awfully narrow as I didn't consider the width of cloth or number of ends, just the number of shafts I had at my disposal.

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  3. You are making progress. Weaving software is an immense help with drafts for summer & winter. Meg, why do you continue with tie-up and treadling for pebbles? Liftplan is so much easier and you will be lifting shafts on a table loom.
    The first two shafts of the threading are for tie-down threads, not tabby. When you go to the loom, you will alternate pattern picks/ pattern weft with tabby picks/tabby weft. Tabby is 1+2 and then 3-16, nice and easy on a table loom with front levers.
    There is no need to dedicate a shaft to space between motifs unless that space must always occur in the same part (vertical) of the cloth.
    I have made drafts and woven samples based on stones, but none were wonderful. The amount of space between shapes is important. Close together, they look like the surface of a giraffe.

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  4. Bonnie, I tried a few in lift-plan, but it didn't help me understand how the shafts were behaving, which is what I was after. Though that's how I realized the software creates shapes with the weft, and that I usually think of the warp as the 'shape' thread.

    Thank you for the clarification on tabby vs. tie-down threads.

    Giraffe pattern? Oh, no... I can see mine turning into them. I might stick to the grid formation for now in that case.

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  5. oh but giraffes are lovely...

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  6. Oh, I think that's Abigail's aunty talking.

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