Outlining Angular shapes with Soumak + FREE Pattern Download

My first book, LINE SHAPE TEXTURE, is very much a technical guide in which I introduce you to the key skills and methods of frame-loom weaving.

Having provided a comprehensive framework, I feel that we can now begin to explore how these various elements come together to create unique woven pieces.

This week we’ll be taking a look at a simple wall-hanging project that uses angular shapes and soumak outlining to create an elegant geometric design.

I've drawn on the Weaver's Methodology to show you the framework I used to develop this project.

You'll find a FREE pattern download at the end of the post so you can recreate this piece for your self!

Intersecting Diamonds - Loom & Spindle

DESIGN

This piece incorporates a geometric design of intersecting diamonds. Outlining with soumak produces a slightly raised surface delivering a subtle relief of the angular shapes.

Intersecting Diamonds - Loom & Spindle

SKILLS

  • Plain weave
  • Forming angular shapes using the diagonal slit method
  • Single (2:1) soumak

PLANNING

The design was roughly sketched on paper and the proportions translated to the weaving area of my loom.

SAMPLING

A small piece was woven to test the concept and proportions of the design.

Angular shapes and sumac outlining - Loom & Spindle

MATERIALS

The final piece was woven in an off-white acrylic novelty yarn with gold flecks. It was chosen for its calming neutral tone, the gold flecks adding some warmth and interest to the piece.

CONSTRUCTION

APPLICATION

Simple angular shapes were woven and then outlined using a variation of Oriental soumak.

The soumak variation I used is commonly known as single (2:1) soumak. The ‘2’ in (2:1) refers to the number of warp threads the weft travels over before returning and encircling, in this case,  ‘1’ warp thread.

Single 2-1 Soumak - Loom & Spindle

On completion of each shape, the Soumak stitches were applied to the decreasing slope of the shape (see pattern download).  

Two strands of weft were used for the soumak stitches as this produced a slightly bulkier stitch, allowing the soumak to rise above the plain weave surface. 

FINISHING

Simple steam blocking was used to set the fibres and straighten the edges (see page 53, LINE SHAPE TEXTURE)

Intersecting Diamonds - Loom & Spindle

INSIGHTS

  • The success of this design really relied on working the decreasing shapes first. I needed to ensure I always had a base on which to apply the soumak outlining.
  • Sketching my design was really useful in working out the order the shapes had to be woven.
  • Knowing the weaving order then helped ensure I was mirroring the design on each side and that the proportions were even as the piece progressed.


To find out more about the skills and techniques used in this project and to learn how to make your own soumak variations check out LINE SHAPE TEXTURE. It’s in store now!

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HOW TO CONSTRUCT A WOVEN PIECE

In my up coming eBook I deconstruct the methods of frame-loom weaving and explore the foundation skills that make up a woven piece.

In my last post I shared an excerpt from the book showing the anatomy of a woven wall hanging.

This week I break down the woven structure even further and present a straightforward recipe for constructing a simple woven piece.

It is a unique method in that the design will be woven upside down and only turned the right way up at the end to add the finishing touches.

It is particularly suited to woven wall art as it results in evenly spaced loops at one end to hang the piece. Though, the method can easily be manipulated to accommodate other projects such as home furnishings or personal accessories.


This tutorial is an excerpt from LINE SHAPE TEXTURE - A Creative's Guide to Frame-Loom Weaving. Download a free sample of our book to read the full excerpt!



Anatomy Of A Wall Hanging

Here's another little taster from our up coming eBook on frame-loom weaving!

3 Tips You’ll Need When Choosing A New Loom

What craft will you be occupying yourself with this holiday season?

If you’re thinking of giving frame-loom weaving a go or wanting to upgrade your current loom here are my three tips for choosing a new loom to get your holiday project wish list underway.

PS: I’ve also got a neat little table that you can reference when making your decision. You'll find it below!

Loom & Spindle Frame Looms

3 Tips for Choosing A New Loom

1. Decide what size pieces you want to make

  • You might be starting out and looking to experiment with various tools and techniques. A medium size loom for small to medium size pieces might work for you. You can practice your weaving skills with a small to moderate time investment for each piece.
  • If you’re taking the next step and looking to make larger pieces for wall décor or home furnishing projects it might be time to invest in that large loom you’ve had your eye on. A large loom will of course accommodate larger projects but it may also require a greater investment of your time to complete each piece.
  • In my last post I spoke about planning and sampling for success with your pieces. This is where a small loom comes in handy as it makes quick work of sampling for larger projects.

2. Consider where and how you will be using your loom

  • Where will you do most of your weaving? Are you at home, on the couch, at the kitchen table? Or, maybe you want the freedom to take your loom out on the open road?
  • You’ll need a loom that is comfortable to use in your preferred working environment. A small to medium size loom is great for around the house and is comfortable in most situations. A larger loom will be a bit more cumbersome and limit the positions in which you can work comfortably.
  • Travelling with your loom and weaving what you see outdoors can be a great experience. A smaller portable, travel size loom might be ideal for these occasions.

3. Give thought to how pre-defined warp spacing will influence the look and feel of your pieces

  • For a beginner, I always recommend a sett (warp spacing) of 4 warp ends for every 2.5cm (4 ends per inch). This wide sett tends to cover quickly and will accommodate a range of yarns and fibres.
  • A loom with this spacing will also allow for a finer sett of 8 ends per 2.5cm (8 ends per inch). A finer sett will allow you to weave finer detail however it may be more labour intensive. To achieve this finer sett, warp with two threads and use a few rows of plain weave to even out the spacing before you begin your design.

Other things to look for

Frame looms come in all shapes and sizes and are generally characterised by having a timber frame with a series of nails, pegs or teeth along two opposite ends on which the warp can be wound and held firm. The construction should be simple and robust. Its purpose is to hold the warp threads under tension and evenly spaced while weaving. The need for a complex heddle system is generally unnecessary, as you will be manipulating both the warp and weft by hand.

A Frame-Loom Buyers Guide

The table below categorizes the common loom sizes and provides some insight into how and when you might use them. I’ve also included some potential limitations to help inform your decision when choosing a new loom.

Frame-Loom Buyers Guide