Posts tagged Woolsey
How to Weave Soft Transitions Between Two Solid Weft Colours: A Tapestry Workshop
Loom & Spindle - Colour Transitions Tapestry Workshop

Last week we welcomed Woolsey, the first weaving yarn by Loom & Spindle.

But more notably, we welcomed COLOUR to the Loom & Spindle range - 8 glorious shades to be precise!

I’d thought we’d continue our exploration of Woolsey as a weaving yarn with a tapestry workshop in colour transitions.

It’s a technique I developed for working soft transitions between two solid weft colours.

It requires the weaver to visually divide up the area of colour transition and assign a ratio of weft colour to each section.

By determining the metric - how many times per row the weft rises over the warp, we can establish a percentage for each colour that’s to be woven and create the visual effect.

Once the intention of the technique is understood, the technique itself is quite freeform and can be woven without rigid structure.

So, grab a pair of your favourite Woolsey colours and let’s start weaving!


TAPESTRY WORKSHOP: Weaving Colour Transitions

INTENTION

Soften the transition between two solid weft colours by alternating weft threads over the horizontal plane.

SKILLS to practice and develop

  • Plain weave

  • Double half-hitches to secure weft

  • Weft changes using the half-hitch method

  • Maintaining weave sequence while alternating wefts

*To learn more about these skills you might like to check out our book - LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

THE PLAN

  • Make a tapestry sampler that will measure 10 cm x 10cm (or 4" x 4").

  • The set-up will comprise a frame-loom warped with cotton thread at 16 ends over 10cm (4 ends per inch).

  • Establish a ground weave using spare thread to evenly space the warp and provide a firm base to begin the sample.

  • The weft will be secured with a row of double half –hitches at either end.

  • Use half-hitches and weft-floats (behind the work) to manage wefts as the colour transition is worked.

MATERIALS

METHOD
 

STEP 1

Sketch out and dimension the weaving area, or area of colour transition. I've used our Weaver's Graph Paper (which is available as a free download here) to sketch out the sample.

In this instance, the weaving area is 10cm x 10cm and we’re creating a transition over the horizontal plane. 

Divide the piece into five equal horizontal sections (see diagram below).

STEP 2
 

Plan out and assign a percentage for each section that will create a uniform transition between colours over the weaving area.

For this workshop, I've chosen a five-section transition to keep the weaving comfortable and percentages to be worked somewhat intuitive.  

Referencing the diagram below, sections 1 and 5 establish the transition colours and will be woven at 100% ‘saturation’.

The actual transition of colour occurs between sections 2, 3 and 4, the percentages for each section are detailed in the diagram below.

STEP 3
 

Using colour 1 (Yellow), begin the sample by establishing a row of double half-hitches. Ensure each hitch is knotted firmly to secure weft to warp.

Using plain weave, weave in Section 1.

I’ve attached a loop of thread to the warp to mark the end of the section.

 
Loom & Spindle - Colour Transition Tapestry Workshop
 

STEP 4
 

Hold-on to your bobbin, get ready to embrace your numbers…

In STEP 2 we established a colour percentage for each section. We now need to work out how many times the weft will pass over the warp and use this number to translate the percentages to actual weft coverage.

We know that the piece has 16 warp threads, so for each row woven in plain weave the weft will pass over the warp 8 times.

With this information we can convert each colour percentage to the corresponding weft coverage for each row.

This is the formula we use: 

Loom & Spindle - Colour Transitions Tapestry Workshop

Using our formula here are the weft coverage stats for each section: 

Colour Transitions - Diagrams 4.jpg

STEP 5

Armed with our weft coverage stats we can now break away from the scientific method and begin weaving the colour transition with a bit more feeling.

Beginning with Section 2 and utilising the half-hitch method for colour changes, weave-in (maintaining the established weave sequence) the first row by randomly placing two dots of Colour 2 (White).

Then, complete the first row by filling in the remaining sequence with six dots of Colour 1 (Yellow).

Our first row now reflects the colour percentage we specified for Section 2, 75% of dots are Yellow and 25% are White.

Repeat this step, row-by-row, maintaining the colour percentage and complete Section 2.

STEP 6

Continue working the piece row-by-row, changing the percentages of weft colour as you progress through each section.

Again, use a loop of thread or stich marker to mark each section as you progress. 

STEP 7

Once Section 5 has been woven, finish the sample with a row of double half-hitches to secure the fabric.

Cut the piece from the loom and finish as desired.

A FEW TIPS

  • I recommend that you work row-by-row and keep both wefts working in the same direction. This will make it easier to monitor the weave sequence, it can be quite easy to get lost once the second weft colour is introduced.

  • Use the progression of colour in previous rows to influence how you ‘randomly’ place colour in the next row.

  • As we’re using a small amount of Colour 2 in this first progression, it can be handy to use short cut-lengths of weft that wrap (half-hitch) around just one or two warps.

  • Don’t feel bound by the colour percentages, they are a guide. Monitor the fabric and place the colour where it feels right for you. You’ll notice in my sample weft colours clump together, I felt this added to the randomness of the transition and contributed a certain character to the piece.

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The length of the colour transition and the frequency at which the weft colour percentages change is highly adaptable.

Ideas for further experimentation might include – working over a much broader area, working in more percentages to progress the colour change more gradually, or perhaps even making the percentages non-linear.

This method is not limited to the horizontal plane either. You could work this technique over almost any angle and with a bit of planning even apply it to more complex rectangular and radial colour transitions.

Oh, so many possibilities!

More experiments await…

 
 

FOR MORE INFO ON THE TECHNIQUES USED IN THIS TUTORIAL, CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

How to Weave a Tapestry Sampler
Loom & Spindle Tapestry Samplers

For a while now I’ve been working on a special project for Loom & Spindle, a weaving yarn that's structure and composition has been carefully considered and selected specifically for tapestry weaving.

Exciting, I know! I’ll have all the details for you in coming weeks. 

But for now, I’d like to focus on one element of the project, weaving samples (or samplers, or swatches or whatever you’d like to call these tiny woven fabrics).

Sampling has been an important part of the project as it’s given me the opportunity to work with this yarn on a small scale and test the arrangement of elements that form the tapestry fabric – things like warp sett, weft weight, and colour harmony or disharmony.

Weaving a test fabric can be the defining moment in a new tapestry project. This little experiment between fibre and form will help you decide whether or not your configuration will work cohesively and convey the feeling you intended.

In preparing for the upcoming yarn launch I thought it would be useful to weave a sample of each new yarn colour to explore and share the fabric each produced. My thoughts were that this will help us both choose colour palettes and determine the suitability of the yarn for any future projects you or I might have in mind.

Here’s my method for weaving a tapestry sampler…


PROJECT: Tapestry SAMPLER

INTENTION

Make a small woven tapestry sample using Woolsey: A Weaving Yarn, to study the colour and texture of the woven fabric produced.

SKILLS

  • Plain weave.

  • Double half-hitches to secure warp and weft.

  • Weft changes using the half-hitch method.

*To learn more about these skills you might like to check out our book - LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

PLANNING

  • My samples will measure 10cm x 10cm (or 4" x 4"), I find this sample size quick to weave and the warp sett is easily determined.

  • My set-up will comprise a frame-loom warped with cotton thread at 16 ends over 10cm (4 ends per inch).

  • I will use a ground weave of warp thread to evenly space the warp and provide a firm base to begin the sample.

  • The warp and weft will be secured with a row of double half –hitches at either end.

MATERIALS

METHOD

STEP 1
Space the warp evenly over the 10cm (4") warp width.
While carefully maintaining the warp spacing, begin the weft yarn by establishing a row of double half-hitches.
Ensure each hitch is knotted firmly to secure the weft to warp.

STEP 2
Using plain weave, weave in the body of the fabric until the piece measures 10cm (4") in length. If needed, begin any new weft threads using the half-hitch method.

STEP 3
Finish with a row of double half-hitches to secure the fabric.

STEP 4
Cut from the loom and finish as desired.

Loom & Spindle - Tapestry Sampler Method

APPLICATION

  • The method is fairly straight forward with no special notes to consider.

  • No modifications were made when weaving the samples.

  • To ensure straight edges and symmetry I did take extra care when working close to the selvages.

FINISHING

  • No finishing techniques were applied but I might use this sample in the future to test the effects of steam blocking on this yarn.

 

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • This method enables me to set up and weave a tapestry sample in about 30 minutes, allowing me to very quickly sample a new yarn or fibre.

  • It’s such a versatile method that it would also be useful for working a series of small tapestry projects.

Loom & Spindle Tapestry Sampler

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Our new weaving yarn has arrived, find Woolsey here.

 
 

FOR MORE INFO ON THE SKILLS USED IN THIS TUTORIAL, CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

FREE SAMPLE AVAILABLE VIA OUR BOOK PAGE!


LET’S KEEP LEARNING…

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How to Weave a Heart: A Method for Shaped Weaving
Woven Hearts-14.jpg
 

As Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, I was compelled to show you a method for weaving a woven heart.

A heart may seem complex at first, high and low stepping must be combined carefully to form both horizontal and vertical curving lines. Though, through careful planning this seemingly complex shape can easily be achieved.

I’ve outlined a simple foundation method for you below, it draws on the skills you’ve learnt in LINE SHAPE TEXTURE. You’ll also find a FREE heart template at the end of the post to get you started straight away.

Shaped weaving is a lot of fun. There are endless possibilities. I can’t wait to see how you incorporate this technique into your own pieces!

Project: Woven Ombré Heart

Intention

  • Construct a heart shaped woven piece to test a methodology for shaped weaving.

  • Gradually blend two colours across the surface of the fabric to produce an effect reminiscent of ombré – previously sampled here.

Skills

  • Inserting a ground weave – To prepare the loom and evenly space the warp prior to weaving

  • Double half-hitch - To secure the warp and weft

  • Plain weave – For the filling

  • Half-hitch - To secure weft threads as you start and finish a weft thread

  • Low and steep-angle stepping - To work horizontal and vertical curving lines

    *To learn more about these skills and please check out my book - LINE SHAPE TEXTURE. It’s available to download now!

Planning

  • My first step was to define the shape and prepare a template. It was important to consider the warp sett and how best to plot the shape to achieve the centre-line points of the heart, would I use an odd or even number of warps and how would that affect the design.

  • I referred to my own notes in LINE SHAPE TEXTURE to refresh my skills on forming curved shapes. I noted in particular that curved shapes would work better over an even number of warp threads. Though, I concluded that an odd number of threads would be required to achieve the centre-line points. This led me to the assumption that if I pictured the heart as two overlapping circles that shared a common warp thread on their outer edge I could achieve both outcomes!

  • On drawing up the design, I sketched out the warp sett first. I marked the dimensions I wanted to work with ensuring that I marked an odd number of warp threads to align the shape.

Woven Heart

Sampling

  • I wove a small sample heart, approximately 10cm (4’’) wide, to test the methodology and determine a procedure.

  • I tested the assumption that double-half hitches would be viable for securing the warp and weft, particularly its durability once the piece was removed from the loom.

  • I had previously tested weaving gradients of colour, swapping out two threads at a time. From this sampling, I decided to weave the gradient by swapping out one colour thread every couple of rows to see how this affected the gradient.

Materials

  • Frame Loom – I used a Loom & Spindle 44cm Loom with a pre-defined warp sett of 4 ends per 2.5cm (4 ends per inch)

  • Warp – Cotton Warp Thread

  • For the double half-hitches - I used three strands of a cream coloured sewing thread. This fine thread will help hide the hitches from view.

  • Weft - I chose a lace weight (2 ply) yarn in two neutral tones that were of similar contrast. I had used this yarn previously in my gradient samples so had a good idea of how they would behave when woven.

Method


STEP 1
Define the dimensions of your shape and warp the loom to a width that will accommodate your design.

STEP 2
Weave in a ground weave to establish a firm base on which to begin your piece, distribute the warp evenly.

STEP 3
Using a marker, trace your shape onto the warp. I have placed the heart shape upside-down.

  • Mark your centre thread so you have a reference point as you align your shape against the warp.

  • Orientate your shape so you have the fullest part of the design at the base. This provides a firmer and flatter base on which to weave, this will help you control the curves and establish that all important weave sequence.

STEP 4
Using three strands of sewing thread, about an arm’s length long, secure the warp by outlining the base of the shape with a series of double half-hitches.

  • Work steadily and carefully, maintaining the warp spacing.

  • Ensure the hitches are secure by tying the double half-hitches tightly on each warp thread.

  • Keeping the tension on the sewing thread as you work the double half-hitches will help control the positioning the hitch.

Woven Hearts-5.jpg

STEP 5
Using plain weave or other desired stitch, fill in the body of the shape working your passes and stepping the weft as the shape requires.

  • If using plain weave, weft direction can be utilised to maintain weave sequence to create a seamless appearance on the face of the fabric.

  • In my piece, I began by weaving-in the base of each horizontal curve. I wove each side as if they were a mirror image. This ensured my weft threads would be travelling in opposite directions, very important when working adjacent shapes.

  • I had to play around with the passes to figure out how to bring the wefts together seamlessly. I found that if I kept the passes on one side lower than the other I was then able to bring the weft over from the right side and pass seamlessly over the left side of the shape. Play around with it and you should be able to find the sweet spot on your piece too.

STEP 6
Once the shape is complete secure the warp and weft by outlining the shape with a series of double half-hitches. The piece is now ready to cut from the loom.

Finishing

  • The warp and weft ends can be secured against the back of the piece using a sewing needle and thread. I found that by incorporating some hitches into the sewing stitches I could grip the warp threads and anchor them down more firmly.

  • As there is not a lot of natural spring in alpaca fibre and the yarn is quite dense, I didn’t feel the need to steam block the pieces in this instance.

Insights and Opportunities

  • Sampling the project and working through the challenges this piece presented helped reinforce the theory behind weaving curved shapes.

  • The method proved very versatile and I can see that it has endless opportunity for further experimentation!


Thank you for reading!

I’ve put together a template so you can try this technique for yourself. 
The template contains three heart sizes and features positioning points for the outer warp threads.
This will help you align and orientate your template for best results!

 

FOR MORE INFO ON THE SKILLS USED IN THIS TUTORIAL, CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

WHY NOT CHECK OUT OUR FREE SAMPLE VIA OUR BOOK PAGE!

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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