Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Colour and Weave Effects

variation on hound'stooth
Harness envy is common among those weavers who love pattern. Most patterns depend upon the interlacement of warp and weft to create skips that allow different proportions of either the warp or weft to show on the surface.  To make a pattern you organize those skips into pattern clusters by complex threading and treadling.  The more complex the pattern the more harnesses and treadles you need.

With only 4 harnesses, 6 treadles and 2 feet you may want to take a different approach.   You can use a simpler structure and manipulate the warp and weft colours.  Where the same warp and weft colours cross they will give a solid block of one colour.  This is illustrated in the weaving in the picture with solid white, solid brown and half tones.  When the piece is wet finished the solid areas will form a pinwheel motif.

The workshop "OPTICS" leads students through the principles of using colour and weave structure to create patterns.  It starts with basic principles and culminates in some spectacular colour and weave interactions.  This popular workshop is taught by Linda Wilson, one of our talented members.  The photos below are the works of students who have taken the course.  We thank them for sharing their photos. 

Rita's log cabin sample

One of the simplest forms of colour and weave is the old pattern referred to as "log cabin".  Alternating colours in the warp and weft create horizontal and vertical lines that can be arranged in rectangles of different sizes.  The structure is basic plain weave but the results can be spectacular.

joyce's shadow weave

With a bit of artful threading those horizontal and vertical lines can be turned into graceful curves.  The result is shadow weave.  It has the same structural qualities as the log cabin so it makes a great cloth for just about any project you can imagine.  

Marge's 8 harness shadow weave

On an 8 harness loom you can use shadow weave to make complex patterns without requiring a 3rd foot to work the treadles.  You get the same versatile, solid cloth with no long skips to catch or weaken the structure.

Log cabin derivatives like shadow weave use two contrasting colours in the warp and weft, usually a light and a dark thread.  But spectacular things happen when you start to mix weave structure with multiple colours in the warp.

Val's echo sample

When you pair an advancing threading with rotating colours magic happens.  In the photograph, the blue diamond pattern tends to shift across the warp, becoming smaller until it almost disappears.  The weaving is relatively simple with one shuttle and one weft colour, but look at the colour blending that you get with that single weft colour as it moves across the piece.

With the right colour combination in the warp you can even get iridescence.

The final exercise in this workshop explores the interactions of different weft colours with a single mix of warp colours.  The photo below illustrates that exploration.

Colour variations in tencil

If you think you might like to take this workshop in the future then let us know.  If there is enough interest Linda might be persuaded to do it again.  You can contact our workshop registrar G Best at  courseregistrar.QWSG@gmail.com