Saturday, January 25, 2014

adventures in mock damask

Since I first bought my loom, I have been planning how I can possibly incorporate basic pictorial images into my weaving.  Nothing fancy, just some bats and skulls ;)  There's not much on the internet about techniques like this, I assume this is because most people are more interested in weaving patterns rather than pictures ... but I have been researching what I can do with my 8 shaft loom.  I know pictures can be achieved using doubleweave, but I wanted this for a flowing cotton infinity scarf, and doubleweave would be too bulky.

I came across Mock Satin Damask in a Handmade magazine - these articles are all written by Alison Irwin, who has come up with a brilliant technique which she teaches all over the US.  I warped up my loom with cottolin at 24 epi in a basic 1-2-3-4 threading, and knuckled down to learning this technique.  The magazine gave a simple zig zag pattern to get started on ... I failed miserably, and just couldn't figure out where I was going wrong!  Here's my mess of a sampler, with no zig zags in sight!

There's a slight zig zag in the middle, but it's not right at all ...

Bella Head (aka The Weaving Goddess) to the rescue!  Last time I saw her, she mentioned an article in the latest Complex Weavers journal about weaving pictures using only 3 shafts.  I emailed her and asked for a copy of the article (I became a member, but it must have been a bit late to receive the journal).  This is when I realised something ... all these instructions for weaving mock damask were for a floor loom - I have been trying on a table loom.  When the instructions say to lift shaft 1 for instance, all the threads on shaft 1 on my table loom are LOWERED.  On a floor loom they are raised.  What would happen if I reversed the instructions?

I re-threaded my loom in a 1-2-3 configuration to try Three-Shaft Damask (article by Marjolyn Van der Wel).  For my 1/2 twill, instead of raising shaft 1 and weaving, I raised shafts 2 and 3 and wove.


I followed the instructions using a cartoon under the warp, and straight away the pattern started forming!!  You can see in the picture below that shafts 2 and 3 are raised when the instructions say to raise shaft 1.
 
 

And here is a leaf!


Please excuse my dodgy warping error on the left hand side and terrible selvedges ... but this *is* a sampler after all!!

Of course I had to try a bat ... wonky shape aside, I'm pretty pleased with it ;)


And here's the back:


So all in all, a successful experiment!  I will definitely be putting this technique into practice soon with some mercerised cotton at a looser epi to give a nicer drape.

It's times like this that I realise how little I know about weaving, and the disadvantages of being self-taught from books ... so many weaving instructions make assumptions about the weaver.  My little epiphany may be common knowledge to most weavers - but I'm pretty chuffed with myself!!!

OK, back to a 'normal' warp now to get some more infinity scarfs done.  (This is why I need another loom, heh :P)



10 comments:

  1. WOW!!! I am constantly amazed by your selftaughtness (sic - the computer does not like this word), I just cannot work from written instructions. Well done. I don't know which I like better, the front or the back. I think the back reminds me of the fruit bats we get in our garden, we see them against a night sky and they are darker but, somehow, the second one is more to my liking. Not that that matters, once it is woven, you can have it any way you like.

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    1. Thanks Mary! I also have trouble sometimes with written instructions (especially when they're not clear), but there is a part of my that likes playing around and figuring it out. Believe me, I would prefer not to be self-taught ... but I just don't have access to classes here, so I make do ;)

      Actually, I think I like the second one too!

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  2. I always find it interesting to read commentary on things I have zero knowledge of- it's a bit like listening to people speak a foreign language and trying to pick out individual words.

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    1. That's funny, cos sometimes I feel like I have zero knowledge about weaving too!!! (especially during this episode, HA!)

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  3. GO MICHELLE! The bat looks so cool! Yeah, instructions can be ... daunting and wonky. Something the 40s knitting instructions make my head spin, especially since I'm an American reading British patterns. I honestly need my Irish mother-in-law to translate ... and then that's not always helpful because she's a left handed person and I am right handed. She knits and crochets a little ... different.

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    1. What's daunting and wonky for some people are probably bloody obvious for others ... that's why I hesitated about writing this blog entry - I'm sure experienced weavers would be saying to themselves 'what an idiot'!! But I promised myself that both mistakes and triumphs would be blogged here, ha! Hopefully someone can learn from my experiences ;)

      Those knitting instructions are complicated because knitters were far more accomplished back then .... we need to re-learn these things! Which reminds me, I need to scan more of my patterns ;)

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  4. I tried to do a crochet pattern that I bought at an Australian store, it said it was designed by an Australian. But it used American terminology. I have looked up the differences, even wrote down the translation but I just CANNOT get it to work. So frustrating. I even rang them and told them how disappointed I was that it was sold as an Australian design but had the American terminology - as you may have guessed, we use the British terminology here.

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    1. Hmmm, does it make you think that it may have been ripped off an American pattern??? DODGY!!!

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  5. Great experiment and great result.
    I guess you'll keep on pushing the boundaries Michelle - and more power to you!

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    1. Thanks Misha! I just have ideas in my head, and have to figure out how to carry them out!

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