This page contains summaries of older snippets grouped together for ease of viewing. All of the original snippet pictures are in the "gallery". For further information or to discuss commissions, please call Sue on 07595 836855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday 6th February 2020
Two colours in my full colour palette have yet to be used, so I started snippet 193 with the dark blue. 8 picks of each pattern were woven starting with the first block in a left to right 1/7 twill, then 2/6, 3/5, 4/4, 5/3, 6/2 and finally 7/1.
I then swapped to the mid-blue and wove the same pattern in reverse. So, from right to left in the first block and starting with the 7/1 pattern. On reaching the end of the 1/7 block, the weft yarn was again returned to the dark blue and another block woven like the first.
Next a block of pale- blue was done, in the same order as the mid-blue. Thus, all the dark blue twill goes in one direction, while the other two blues reflect it. One more dark blue block finished this piece on Tuesday 11th February 2020.
Now for another quick and easy weave, this one (snippet 194) was intended to form a complement to earlier pieces by being less complex and busy. I simply wove 115 mm in plain weave with the pale blue, then a block of a similar length with the lilac. This gives two colour-way options for the same design.
Snippet 195 was more plain weave, but this time with a twist. I started with 36 picks with the dark blue; I was aiming for around 70 mm. Then the next pick was plain across the first two warp blocks (64 ends), the middle two warp blocks were then grouped in to 4 end blocks using the dark blue with a tapestry weave soumak, before finishing the pass with more regular plain weave.
The central piece of this sample was then woven in three separate groups, the two outside blocks continued in plain weave with the dark blue yarn. The middle block was tapestry woven with orange baler twine, every other turn on the dark blue being used to tie in the outside warp bundle from the baler twine block to hold the whole piece together and provide stability.
After approximately 70 mm of this stage of the weave a further 36 rows were completed with the dark blue in a plain weave. The result can be seen in the picture above.
Jackie saw snippet 195 and suggested that the baler twine could be used to produce an effective distorted weft. Definitely worth a try, so added this idea to my long list of things that I still want to do.
A little bit of time left, so on to the next snippet. This one is to use the blocks in the warp to enable squares of warp-faced and weft-faced satin/sateen to be produced. The pale blue and lilac yarns both have a slight shine and this will work well in the weft-faced elements.
The weft-faced block was effectively plain pale blue (or lilac), whilst the warp-faced block showed the warp stripes.
Each block (set by the warp) is approximately 24mm wide, to make a square of satin / sateen, this will require 8 repeats of this pattern. After one set of 8 pattern repeats, the pattern was changed over, so that the warp-faced was on the left of each pair of blocks and the weft-faced on the right.
Thursday 13th February 2020 saw snippet 196 progress with a three-block repeat in pale blue. Then the weft was changed to lilac and the blocks swapped once again, so that the pale blue sateen block was followed by a lilac satin block and vice versa.
Monday 17th February 2020 and snippet 196 was finished. The final piece had three rows of pale-blue blocks, then three of lilac and finished with a further three in pale blue.
Tuesday 18th February 2020
The aim for today was to explore distorted weft. I started by consulting Woven Textile Design (2014), Jan Shenton. This showed a distorted weft based on a 4-pick repeat. I think that my ground yarns are rather fine for this, so adapted the pattern to an 8-pick repeat.
I used this pattern with my dark blue yarn as the distorting weft (O) in rows 1 and 9 and started with pale blue as my field yarn. This full pattern was repeated twice before replacing the field yarn with lilac, then the mid blue and finally the orange. Jackie saw the work during this phase and suggested doing a simple repeat rather than a reflection as the orange would draw the eye to the middle of the piece if it was used as a pivot point. Thus snippet 197 came into being.
Overall, I was quite pleased with snippet 197 and it gave me some ideas for development:
1. I don’t like the raised single orange warp on shaft 4.
2. I would like to try something similar but exploiting the warp blocking that was included when I set up.
3. I want to try using baler twine as the prominent weft.
4. I haven’t used the purple yarn for a while and this will make a good colour contrast with the orange baler twine.
So, for my next snippet, 198, the field yarn was purple and it was woven in blocks, with the same pattern as the last sample used for one block and a single warp lift used for the second block.
The first repeat was woven and this measured 24mm, perfect for a single block. Thus, after each pattern repeat the blocks were swapped over such that all odd numbered repeats were woven 1-16, whilst the even ones were woven 9-16, 1-8.
I had intended to make 9 repeats, however, the baler twine being used as the prominent weft was only long enough for 8. This resulted in a piece 218mm long.
From snippet 198 with the baler twine, I particularly liked the longer warp carries. Thus, for my next piece I decided to repeat this pattern (one of the two blocks used) across the whole width of the warp, using dark blue for the main weave and my new sparkly yarn in rows 1 and 9.
I did two repeats of this pattern and then a further two blocks lifting just shafts 2 (10) and 6 (14), so that the long warp is really exaggerated. I then did three repeats lifting 3 (11) and 7 (15), before two more repeats of the 2 and 6 lift and finally two repeats of the original plan.
This gave a total length of 236mm, enough for snippet 199. Next on my list of things to try was a honeycomb. I like the idea of using the blocks again, so produced two reflecting honeycomb lift patterns.
The idea was to rotate five yarns through the weft: dark blue, mid blue, light blue, purple and lilac using the orange in each row 4 and the sparkle yarn in each row 8. Each of the main weft yarns would be used until approximately 25mm of weaving had been achieved to make roughly square blocks before swapping over the weave patterns.
I completed a few repeats but found the impression too busy, the texture of the honeycomb being lost in all the colour changes. So I stopped this idea, but will return to it later to try blocks of the pale blue and lilac. These worked well in the satin / sateen blocks which rely on texture rather than colour. For now though, it was time to go home. (Once off the loom, this tiny piece became snippet 200. It showed that the use of single picks of orange yarn had given a very interesting “square” effect on the surface, so will develop this too.)
Thursday 20th February 2020
To complement snippet 195 I wanted another piece. Thus, snippet 201 was a pure baler twine weft and used the warp colours and threading pattern to create interest.
A very simple lifting pattern was used. Plain weave in half of the warp (initially 1-8), and then a simple four and four pattern in the other half (9-16). Just four picks of baler twine makes a piece between 20 and 25mm long, thus the shafts were reversed every four picks until the piece measured more than 20cm in length.
Monday 24th February 2020
The first piece in this collection exploited the colour weave potential of this warp and I decided to return to this for the next sample. Again, using a twill, but this time a variable twill throughout, allowing the warping to achieve a chevron effect in the weave. This was the same weave pattern as the second piece, using the yarns in the same pattern as the warp, thus 8 picks of pale blue, 3 of purple, 2 orange, 3 purple, 8 lilac, 3 purple, 2 orange and 3 purple repeated.
One colour repeat is four separate weave lift blocks, whilst the weave pattern is 14 blocks in total, with the 14th repeat (the turning point) always a purple and orange block.
Tuesday 25th February 2020
As the yarns haven’t got any heavier since I started this warp, the weave is fine and thus slow. 4 full pattern repeats gave a finished length of 190mm, which is enough to show the impact and make snippet 202.
Although I had been focussing on Hockney for this collection, previous research had been on Anni Albers and there is still so much that I want to explore around her techniques, so for snippet 203 I worked a wandering line of baler twine over the top of the plain and four-shaft plain blocks that I had used with the baler twine in snippet 201.
A very simple weaving plan, which created a distortion as the four-four block is a much less stable weave than the plain weave. Again, I wanted to make blocks that were roughly square and 20 picks of plain weave in the mid-blue seemed to achieve this.
I love the result of this piece with interest in both the background and the foreground, but the flowing nature of the baler twine giving an overall feeling of peace and ease. I now have four pieces using baler twine.
I still wanted to explore the wandering line more and had been trying to work out how to make this continuous, rather than an obvious start and stop point, a line that wanders up both sides of the sample. The baler twine is rather heavy for this warp and so I decided to try this different approach with the sparkly yarn. This yarn is more subtle than the baler twine, so it seemed that the contrast would be greater with the pale blue field yarn. For the weave pattern, I opted to allow the warp to generate movement and decided on a simple 4/4 twill throughout; this would create vertical chevrons at two points across the width of the piece.
To make the wandering line, I cut a good length of yarn and found the centre point, which was included in the base line in the woven piece. I worked backwards and forwards with the two ends of this over the twill weave. I hadn’t realised quite how much interest yarn I would use and only created quite a short snippet 204 before it ran out.
For many of the pieces in this collection the option to split the warp into a series of blocked stripes was exploited. More use was also made of baler twine as a waste product that would other wise go to landfill.
With the weaving of snippet 188 well under way, Jackie suggested that it would be timely to return to the jacquard. I only had one sketchbook with me, but there is an image that I have created in a couple of forms, that seemed to suit the jacquard. Although the original intention had been to scan in an image, the one that I selected was painted in ink and the colouring was not as solid as it could be. Thus, it was suggested that I recreate my pattern directly in the jacquard software, snippet 189.
The second image, snippet 190, is a development from snippet 189; still using gel pen and ink, but this time using two colours with a stripe in the intervening space.
As this was converted to a weave plan the white and orange elements were both done on the white warp, using a warp faced weave, so that the white would mostly appear as warp floats. (Orange was used on feed 1). The chosen blue was then used on feed 2 and the white warp to produce a mid-blue and the purple (on feed 3) was used on the black warp to strengthen its tone. The two sides can be seen in the image for snippet 191.
After roughly 30 cm of fabric had been woven the purple was changed to a darker blue to show a different colour-way for the same basic pattern (snippet 192).
To go alongside the handwoven pieces, the more pictorial detail that can be produced using the jacquard was exploited to add to this collection.
Based on my holiday research of both David Nieper and David Hockney I had developed a blue based colour palette. Two key aspects of David Hockney’s work were the primary influences for this. Blues coming from his swimming pool range; his later i-pad work, particularly of trees, brought in purple and orange.
At various stages David Hockney has also used smaller pieces to make a larger impression, this has been done through collaging photographs, painting one large image but on a number of smaller canvases and then joining them together and also as a sequence of similar subjects presented sequentially around a room.
With this theme in mind, I had hoped that I would be able to try using a split warp so that I could weave blocks of different shaft patterns at the same time. In this way, I should be able to create a single piece but with distinct blocks of pattern / texture.
Thoughts about fabrics for Nieper’s had led me to think about producing a tartan type based on different colour weights, so predominantly blue or purple with orange as a highlight colour.
Jackie started the session by asking us to think about colour weaving and also plan what we intended before we started. This is the first time that I have started with a weave idea and then set up the warp to achieve it. Very exciting, but also slightly scary trying to predict an outcome.
The first step in doing this is to determine which yarns to use, what warping pattern to follow and how many ends will be needed to make the required width (in this case about 20cm). Jackie had suggested using two colours for the warp but agreed that this could be increased, so I was able to think about my tartan effect. For each selected yarn 1cm worth of turns were made around a ruler in order to estimate the ends per centimetre (epc). Each turn was made leaving a small space (a similar width to the yarn) for a weft thread to pass through.
With 10 ends of each yarn wound around a card it is easy to see that the dark blue is the heaviest (thickest) and the orange the finest (see snippet 186). In order to create an even warp, I decided to use the light blue, the lilac and the purple and orange combined. Working in sets of 8 with blocks of the light blue and lilac and blocks of the purple split by two wraps (ends) of orange produced the pattern at the right hand end of this yarn card as in the picture.
So, this 32 end pattern is likely to form the basis of my warp. I wanted to weave this in a twill to create a fabric suitable for soft tailoring, or simple dress making for a lined jacket. In order to establish the nature of the pattern that would be created I drew out a suitable square in my notebook and coloured the centre based on whether the warp or weft yarn would be visible.
The colours used are not exactly the same as those of the yarns, however, the small amount of orange does stand out well against the other colours, achieving the effect that I was hoping for, as shown in the picture for snippet 187.
I discussed with Jackie using this warp group as one of my blocks (weaving on shafts 1-8) and then repeating this for a second block (on shafts 9-16). The intention being to do one block as a 2/2 twill and the second as a 5/3 (weft-faced) twill.
Having agreed that this would work I needed to calculate the number of blocks and so the number of warp ends to set up. With a warp repeat of 32 and an epc of 10, this means that each warp block should give 3.2cm of fabric, thus 6 blocks should give 19.2cm. As I wanted to reverse the middle two blocks there were two change points, one at the start of the third block and on at the start of the fifth block, in each case I would only need to do 7 ends of the pale blue, rather than 8 as in all the other blocks.
By the end of the day the warp was on the loom and the first set of ends had been threaded through the shafts.
Wednesday 29th January 2020
Returned to the studio to finish the warp. As I was working on 10epc and I wanted to place 2 ends through each dent, I chose one that stated 5 per cm on it. Having threaded everything through, my warp looked rather narrow.
A quick measure showed that the dents were actually 6 per cm, but they didn’t appear to be making the warp any narrower than it should be, in fact it looks as though my yarns come in at 12 epc. Lesson learned here is two-fold:
· Don’t leave too big a gap between yarns when measuring epc.
· Don’t use a ruler with strong 1 mm lines as the yarn tends to slip into these (hence why most of my yarns came out at 10 epc!)
I was quite disappointed to have made the warp narrower than intended, however, I do like the colour and I am definitely drawn to the finer yarns, so I’m going to stick with it.
Wove a few picks of plain weave with a waste yarn that was already on the shuttle to get the warp ready for weaving.
Friday 31st January 2020
Today was the day I actually started weaving. In order to create the planned tartan effect, the weft pattern of yarns has to be the same as the warp, so 8 light blue, 3 purple, 2 orange, 3 purple, 8 lilac, 3 purple, 2 orange and 3 purple making one block. This would also be the number of picks of one pattern before reversing the blocks, to create a squared effect in the weave (as per my Hockney inspiration).
Completed one weft block with the first shaft pattern (32 picks) and then another weft block with the second shaft pattern (32 picks). It is reassuring to see that the result is similar to the idea that I was trying to create. These two repeats measure 4 cm and in this pattern the warp has settled to 14 cm, so I will need to do eight repeats in total to make a sample slightly longer than it is wide. So not quite squares, but rectangles 1.9cm long by 2.3cm wide.
Meanwhile I have ideas for the next 4 pieces, so will need to discuss these with Jackie when I return to finish this one next week.
Tuesday 4th February 2020
Back to finish my first sample. Jackie explained that the piece will need to be long enough to “fill” one end of an A3 landscape board, thus needs to be at least 20 cm long. 4 pattern repeats created 74 mm of weaving, thus 3 sets of 4 will be needed to exceed the target length. Indeed, twelve repeats measured 225 mm, long enough for the final piece (snippet 188).
The start of this semester is all about weaving to a brief. With two competitions to enter it was essential to weave suitable samples. We were also asked to think about exploiting colour in our weaving through the warp and weft. So weaving was planned bearing both these objectives in mind.
With the rotation requirements just about complete there was still plenty of time to develop another warp. This time on a 16-shaft. I had already decided that I wanted to repeat the “castellated” border effect created by using two different colours on alternating warps and that I would keep this warp in two colours.
By using the dark blue on each outside edge and the pale yellow in the middle, this would create a natural trimming effect. I chose to make the first four ends (and thus also the last 4) dark blue, then the next alternating 4 dark blue and pale yellow. A simple warping plan of shafts 1-16 repeated across the full width (of 80 ends) was then set up. The pale yellow was rather slippery and creating the warp required two-person wrangling, so many thanks to Kirin for her help with this.
Warp in place with the concepts of fastening and recycling in the front of my mind I wanted to produce a piece with baler twine. I chose pink as it is linked to the fuscia in my existing colour palette and decided to use a honeycomb background; this will make a very textured sample.
I already have a shaft pattern for an 8-shaft version, so I started with this, repeating it in shafts 1-8 and 9-16, but it feels that there is little point having a 16-shaft loom if the extra shafts are not exploited so I alternated this 8-shaft pattern with a 16-shaft version.
With the 8th weft pick I also passed a length of bailer twine through the shed and returned it 8 picks later leaving a loop extending beyond the warp. This was repeated with each 8thpick with the baler twine being wrapped around the previous loop to help to stabilise the piece.
With a mixture of 8 and 16 row patterns the position of the baler twine in the shed moved such that sometimes it is nearer the top and sometimes more hidden. The original top / front of the warp is shown in snippet 176.
Once off the loom, the other side of snippet 176 is shown in snippet 177.
I like the way that the baler twine used in snippets 176 and 177 distorts the warp causing some of the spacing to have very irregular shapes. I also liked the depth created by the large honeycomb so produced another piece based on this pattern.
Three colours were used for the weft, dark blue, pale yellow and purple. Initially two 8-shaft repeats and one 16- were done in each colour, then the pattern was reflected by doing two of the 8-shaft in purple, then one 16- and two 8-shafts were woven in each of the pale yellow and dark blue. The top produces a weft face piece as shown in the picture for snippet 178.
The reverse of snippet 178 sees the warp becomes more prominent as shown in snippet 179.
Friday 13th December 2019
Before starting this rotation I had wanted to try mixing plain and basket weave in the same sample. I did this in my second sample on the 8-shaft. However, due to the size of the pattern there was a strong diagonal effect. Now seemed like a good opportunity to try this again on a 16-shaft.
This time I wanted to use all the colours from my palette; so, I started with the dark blue, then the purple and fuscia.
Monday 16th December 2019
Last week on the rotation and I still want to change the warp one more time, so came in to finish off snippet 180. Added light blue and pale yellow blocks, before reversing the pattern with light blue, fuscia, purple and dark blue.
Tuesday 17th December 2019
I like the graphic images that other students had been creating by using a thicker yarn to create a shape and using a finer weft in an odd then even pattern to hold the fabric together. I had an idea about creating circles again, but this would work better (I thought) with the edge of the piece warped on shafts 1-8 and the centre of shafts 9-16-9.
I tried various yarns and patterns, these were mostly taken out again as they were nothing like the pattern that I was trying to create. I finally settled on one and did two repeats of this in a thick blue, then some plain, followed by two repeats in purple. Still really not happy so gave up on this idea, which can be seen in snippet 181.
Snippet 182 shows that once off the loom, the purple wasn’t too bad, particularly when the reverse is considered.
To finish this warp I decided to take advantage of the reflection in the warp to create a simple two colour pattern using a dark blue weft and inserting a pale yellow “wire” thread every 8th pick to create simple loops on each side of the sample. Using 2-2 twill created a dramatic zig-zag pattern as in the image above.
Thursday 19th December 2019
The last rotation requirement is to further manipulate two of the jacquard samples. I really wasn’t sure what to do, I thought about using embroidery to add some tree images to the square and circle pattern, but in the end decided that it has been so long since I have been in the print studio that a reminder in how to make a screen would probably be of greater benefit to my skill set.
Alison kindly agreed to help with this, (it has only been a year since she did this, versus the three years since I did my first print rotation). I wanted to keep the circle theme going and also keep playing with scale, so I simply produced some circular images on a piece of paper (larger than my jacquard sample pieces).
Before starting the drawing I coated a screen, so that it would be dry by the time my image was complete. Transferred the image to the screen and ready to print. I wanted to try two different techniques, so used the screen to add glue to the tree jacquard, this was subsequently then used to apply foil.
Once finished there were two apparent problems with the foiling:
· Some of the solid areas had not transferred completely – I think this is probably a result of not pulling enough glue through the screen to get the fabric sufficiently tacky.
· There are additional flecks across much of the image – Camilla explained that this is probably the result of using paper that was thicker than the light exposure is set for. This can be resolved by using thinner paper in future or by increasing the exposure time during transfer of the image to the screen.
Really glad I tried this as it did provide some useful learning, as well as a modified piece of jacquard shown as snippet 184.
During my first print rotation I had enjoyed the slightly unpredictable effect of using discharge over blue dyes. As my jacquard uses two different blue yarns (along with fuscia in the weft, black and white in the warp), I was really not sure quite what would happen.
I had predicted that the effect would be variable, what I hadn’t expected was that the discharge would allow the weaving pattern to be seen so clearly in the dark blue sections of the weave. Although this particular sample snippet 185) does not add to the collection as the image that was discharged is not the most relevant addition, it does show the potential in developing this technique for future fabrics.
The challenge for me with weaving is that everything I do leads to more ideas and things to explore. Various ideas were implemented on a 16-shaft loom, with variations in warp set as well as weave patterns.
I now had 5 possible pieces, so it was time to think about the jacquard.
For my first jacquard I want to return to the circles (holes) in squares pattern of my first knit sample. This time I would like to be able to play with scale slightly, by using two different size squares in each sample.
The full jacquard width means that with a 12” x 12” square sample, there will be 3 repeats across the width, to form the basis of three samples of each pattern.
12 is a beautiful number as it is divisible by so many factors (1, 2, 3, 4 and 6). I decided that in one 12” vertical repeat I could do 4 sets of 3” squares and 3 sets of 4” squares. I ended up creating 4 sets of 45 x 40 mm rectangles and 6 sets of 22 x 20 mm rectangles. With more time, I could have developed this pattern to make the squares intended, but the effect is close enough to the original plan that a single weave run is sufficient.
The plan was to create a checkerboard effect with each size of squares and place a circle in the middle of each. If only two colours were used, this would result in each side of the jacquard potentially looking the same, so I decided to do the squares in light blue and dark blue and the central circles in the fuscia. Giving two very different sample effects.
Both the light blue and the fuscia were woven on the white warps, whilst the dark blue was woven on the black. This gives the impression that the sample is essentially black and white, again if this was part of a collection, more time would be spent selecting suitable yarns to create the final colour palette required, but this is enough to demonstrate the idea.
This image (snippet 172) shows the “front” face. Closest to the original design colouration. The reverse became snippet 173, the third sample being used for subsequent embellishment will appear again as a later snippet.
The second jacquard was created in just two colours (the dark and light blues). I drew a large and a small palm tree directly onto the jacquard software and used these to create a diagonal effect repeat. This image was chosen tying my woven samples in with my print ones, to bring the whole semester’s work closer together.
The dark face is shown as snippet 174. As with snippets 172 and 173, the reverse face of snippet 174 face is shown as snippet 175 and the third piece used for further development.
For the jacquard element of this rotation the trees were used on their own. Starting with a palm tree image that had been collaged in my sketchbook I created a new image in two colours. Then used the squares and circles of fastenings to create a three colour piece as shown.
Tuesday 26th November 2019
And so back to weave. I had watched the previous two years complete this rotation, including creating a warp and producing samples suitable for trimmings. With this in mind, I had been gathering ideas for things that I would like to try.
I have lots of ideas; the first being to create a warp that uses my five yarns that were used in knit (thus keeping the colour palette across all three rotations). I want my first warp to be symmetrical in colour, starting with the darkest (in this case dark blue) on the outside and fading to the palest (pale yellow) in the centre. I already knew from knit that my yarns are of variable thickness and fibre content. In fact, two of them, the pale blue and the fuscia are not really strong enough to create a warp. I found two alternative yarns, but these are even finer, so my warp has a very mixed epc.
Jackie had suggested that we limit our warps to two or three colours, so I went ahead with my 5-colour plan (sorry, Jackie), but did keep the warp relatively short and offered to use an 8-shaft leaving the 16s available for those with other ideas. (The plan is to create a 16-shaft warp with less colours later.)
So with 5 colours my warp started with 4 ends of dark blue, then 4 alternating dark blue and purple, followed by 4 of purple and 4 alternating purple and fuscia, before 4 of fuscia and 4 alternating fuscia and light blue, next came 4 light blue and 4 of light blue and pale yellow before 4 of yellow and then reversing this pattern.
Thus, I had 68 ends and an estimated epc of about 10 across all the yarns. It took until the middle of the afternoon to get this warp set up, then finally it was time to start weaving. The plan for my first piece was to weave in plain weave the same weft pattern that I had in the warp, thus starting with the dark blue, “fading” to the pale yellow and the returning gradually to the dark blue.
Wednesday 27th November 2019
Back into the studio to complete my first piece (snippet 165). I knew from counting the warp that the first colour repeat would be 68 wefts, a second one would, however, be slightly shorter at 64 picks as there is no need to repeat the block of dark blue. Two pattern repeats gave me a piece a little over 30 cm in length and thus a perfect place to stop.
This warp produces a really tidy edge which had a castellated effect similar to one that I had produced in knit. So, when I produce the next warp, I would like to use dark blue at the edge and make the main body of the piece pale yellow. Thus, the warp will be 4 ends of dark blue, then 4 alternating dark blue and yellow, before the main body being yellow, with the reverse repeat at the second side.
Now for my next piece. I had wanted to try weaving a mixture of plain and basket weave in the same row, my original idea had been to try this on the 16-shaft, but I decided to try this on the 8-shaft for now.
This time I used each of the warp colours in blocks, the same pattern (dark blue, purple, fuscia, light blue, pale yellow) but this time no “fading”.
When woven on an 8-shaft this pattern produced a visual diagonal; but did not show the variation in texture that I was hoping to achieve, so I will repeat this on a 16-shaft. It is also clear from the two samples that a more consistent warp tension is achieved by beating both before and after passing the pick.
In comparing snippets 165 and 166, it can be seen that the warp colour dominates when the weft is used in the fade pattern, the weft colouration only becoming more obvious when large blocks of each colour are used.
For my next piece, I wanted to return to my diamond image. Using the warp colouration to determine the width of each central space, I decided to keep the weft all one colour (dark blue), the aim being to produce a series of diamonds initially increasing in size and then decreasing.
The weaving around each diamond being a 2/2 twill running in the same direction as the edge of the triangle. A little experimenting showed that the central pale yellow block was too small, so started with the full width of the pale yellow, including where it was mixed with the light blue. A couple of false starts also suggested that row 2 of the pattern was the best place to start, (so with shafts 2, 3, 6 and 7) lifted on both sides of the unwoven centre.
Monday 2nd December 2019
I knew that this piece would be slow, so returned in the hope that it would be finished for our taught studio session tomorrow. Ever the optimist despite 3 hours of steady weaving this piece was still only half completed.
Tuesday 3rd December 2019
Felt like stopping this piece and just using it in my technical folder, but I did like what I had done, so persevered and after over 6 hours of weaving I was glad that I had completed the full pattern. This makes snippet 167, which can be seen in the photo above.
During the day we also had a talk from Trimmings by design to help with the semester brief and a lesson on how to use the jacquard software.
Thus, again there is still lots to do. I feel that I need to sit quietly and work up some ideas for the jacquard, so will return to this next week. Meanwhile I wanted to re-shed my current warp.
I had started with 2 ends through each dent, but now wanted to try to manipulate the spacing by grouping the fine ends as a four (the light blue and the fuscia) and threading the thicker ends as singles (the pale yellow and the purple). All other ends and combinations were again placed in pairs.
Now snippet 168. To keep with my inspiration theme of trees and fastenings I planned to use paperclips to create an edge on one side of my next piece. In order to maximise the impact of the variable shedding I kept the weave to a single colour (again dark blue) and the pattern plain. I created a repeating colour pattern with the paperclips and wove one in after every 6 picks.
Friday 6th December 2019
In previous warps I have had success with variable twills, so this seemed like a good thing to try. I started by using the weft yarns in the same pattern as the warp, creating a fade effect in both the colour and the twill. However, this looked very busy and the impact of both patterns was lost but shown as snippet 169.
Monday 9th December 2019
I had already produced one sample based on fading the colours in the weft, so decided to focus on the variable twill pattern by using just the pale yellow.
Returned to the variable twill starting with 1/7 twill, which moved through 2/6, 3/5, 4/4, 5/3, 6/2 to 7/1 before reversing the journey. This zig-zag effect was done twice. The piece was still slightly short, but as I won’t be using this as one of my selected samples for the Trimmings board I stopped here, making snippet 170.
Once off the loom, the reverse side of snippets 169 and 170 could be seen as snippet 171, still not quite the effect I was after.
Continuing with the trees and fastenings colour palette used throughout this semester. These colours were then replicated in the weft for many of the pieces . The one shown here has a single colour weft to enable the weft to shine in the non woven diamonds.
Back in front of a computer with the mission to make a set of 6 possible files for a collection to be printed on to fabric. I didn’t expect to have final versions of all of them, but at least 6 that would go together.
I really liked the last two samples, snippets 156 & 157, based on scanned images of my knit samples and these set the colour palette for the range of samples. Having chosen these two, the white trees on stripes that I had produced yesterday, no longer works. So, I created a new striped repeat based on the stripes in the squares sample and then placed white beech trees over the top of these (snippet 158).
I also liked the leaf pattern that I had created early on but, felt that neither the scale nor the background colour worked with the prints taken from my knit samples. So, I started with the blue and yellow leaf pattern, but increased the scale and changed the ground to a dark red (subsequently matched to the red in the knit sample stripes, which took it into the final 6). This is now snippet 159.
At this point I thought I had five potential final samples and three more that didn’t quite fit, but might be a starting point, so it felt like significant progress had been made and I could discuss these with Camilla next week.
Tuesday 12th November 2019
Mission, by the end of today have 6 files saved as 33cm * 33cm canvas TIFs for printing out. Showed Camilla my ideas and it became clear that some further work would be required.
The three samples identified above were effectively all good to go. (The background of the leaf print was tweaked to match the colour from the scanned knit samples.)
My original leaf pattern was to form the basis of the fourth sample. By increasing the size of the leaf image and then creating a striped background from the knit piece used in the grid sample two ideas were completely brought together. (Snippet 160).
This had given me an idea for how to tie my collaged tree images into the collection. I used the pale-yellow stripe from the knit sample to make a textured background and slightly increased the size of the inverted trees in the stripe pattern for sample 5. I also managed to interlock the leaves of the tallest trees, although this was not originally intended, it gave an additional shape to the repeat and had an additive effect on the background, so was kept in the final print. (See picture above.)
The last sample doesn’t involve any form of pattern. Using an image scanned from my sketch book, I used photoshop to adjust the colours slightly and then saved into the appropriate format in illustrator, this is snippet 162.
At present it is only colour that makes this part of a unified collection. However, after the flock and foil induction in the afternoon, I think it may be possible to use the lines and circles of these “lollipop” trees to overprint one of my samples. Need to discuss this and other options with Camilla next week before the final steps can be taken.
Wednesday 13th November 2019
Back into the design hub to load the files prepared yesterday onto the Mimaki printer and then watched the samples appear. Kath will steam these, then they need washing (at 60°) to fix the images and then remove the chemical residues.
Thursday 14th November 2019
Design hub again. This time for embroidery induction. I have a file ready for converting to a stitch file for the embroidery machine, however, there would have been a long wait to do this. So, arranged to return to complete this induction next Friday, by which time it should have been possible to create a file that will be suitable for embellishing one of my samples. Thus, the induction opportunity can be used to test this prior to booking a session to complete the collection.
Tuesday 19th November 2019
Last week in front of a computer and two things to do.
* Produce some images in a suitable format to be used as embroidery to tie my collection of samples together.
* Insert some of my patterns into images to show how they could be used in an interiors collection.
With considerable help from a couple of other students I managed to insert some of one of my prints into a room image to show how it could be used as a wallpaper, as per snippet 163.
Wednesday 13th November 2019
For the embroidery challenge I took two separate images. One is the tallest “palm” tree from the Hockney inspired collage in my sketchbook and now the stripe on a textured field print sample. I outlined this to make the leaves one continuous line and the trunk a single unit.
The second image comes from the “lollipop” trees taken directly from my sketchbook for a print sample. This is currently only tied to the rest of the collection by colour, so I though that if I could embroider some similar trees onto another sample this would tie them more closely. I took two of the trees and created lines for the trunks, the little circles and a suggestion of the shape of the top of the tree. In order to maintain the hand-drawn uneven feel these were each over drawn as separate lines in illustrator.
Thus, I had a series of line drawings to take to my embroidery induction on Friday. I hope to be able to embroider one of each image on my test piece, so that I can decide how to use these with my printed samples.
Friday 22nd November 2019
The more I look at my Mimaki printed samples, the more I like them as they are and don’t feel that embellishment would improve them for use in an interiors’ environment. However, this decision can only really made when I have some suitable embroidery test pieces to consider.
This morning Alison and I returned to the design hub to complete our embroidery induction. First step was to take the files created in Illustrator and convert them into embroidery stitch files and then to have them embroidered. My test piece contained both types of tree image, it was reduced to 90% on the embroidery machine to ensure that the piece fitted within the embroidery frame.
I am pleased with both images. I feel that the lollipop trees have really captured the hand drawn effect from my sketch book, whilst the palm tree is much crisper, like the collage that it was taken from, see snippet 164.
Although pleased with both images I still don’t want to embellish any of my existing Mimaki samples with these, however, I feel that adding them to my jacquard pieces my well work and help to bring the print and weave elements together in my collection.
With print this semester being based on digital technologies, this last section saw the production of 6 Mimaki printed 30*30 cm squares for the final collection. Also an example of one of these used in a virtual setting, plus two different styles of machine embroidered trees.
Back for another day in front of a computer screen. Quickly asked Camilla how to manipulate one image in photoshop without affecting all of its copies. (The answer is to not use image!) So, went back to the collaged trees inspired by Hockney and played with repeats based on a pair of images, one upside down, to create snippet 151.
Was really pleased to find that I could now achieve what I was trying to achieve, rather than things happening by random accident.
We were also introduced to the idea of producing a colour gradient across a whole screen; used repeats of the collaged trees to demonstrate this. Snippet 152, while definitely not my colour palette, does show the potential of this technique and the “sunny” feeling inspired by this colour gradient works well with this image that also has a “tropical” feel.
After this we moved on to using an image in photoshop brush. For snippet 153 I took my copied version of a beech tree for this and tried producing trees in different colours, loosely based on my colour palette.
I also used this technique to over print white beech trees on a striped field for snippet 154. I really liked the effect, unfortunately the colours don’t really work with my other samples. Nevertheless, this image was then used for sublimation printing onto two different fabrics (now in my sketchbook).
Now another new technique; this time using photoshop to create an image that can be used in repeat as a tile, by blurring colours and patterns at the edges after “turning sides to middle” horizontally and vertically. For this activity I scanned two of my knit samples and used these as the basis for development.
The first of these was then moved into illustrator and used in a vertical repeat, snippet 155. Then again in a horizontal repeat for snippet 156, subsequently printed using the Mimaki.
For snippet 157 I did something slightly different with my other knit sample, having cropped it to a single square I then made a pattern using half the squares in a horizontal orientation and the other half rotated through 90°. (This too made it to the final set of six printed by Mimaki onto fabric.)
Another couple of weeks working on the computers produced a range of pieces, mostly based on repeats ready for printing onto textiles using a Mimaki printer.
Knowing that a lot of this rotation would be computer based I was (am) slightly wary of the whole four weeks. Some of the work produced by the other half of the year and seen at the crit. last week was exciting and this has given me some hope, but even so it was with a feeling of trepidation that I sat down in front of the computer.
Logged in to the computer, found photoshop and illustrator, so was feeling a little more confident by the time Camilla arrived. No more hiding, it is time to start producing some repeats. Advised to keep this simple to start with, I found the leaf image that I had used with the Shima and scanned it (fortunately the leaf fitted on an A4 scanner).
Then with lots of guidance (and possibly some luck) managed to produce my first repeat with a coloured background! (Snippet 144.)
This was done using a hexagon repeat in Illustrator. I realise that I simply struck lucky with the shape of this image but felt that this worked quite well.
Feeling slightly over-confident I tried to do the same process with another simple shape. This time a circle in a tree. This time round got confused about how to recolour the background and had to ask for help. (Snippet 145.) On seeing my image Camilla suggested that maybe this was a little simple, so I used the lunch break to use the A3 scanner to capture some more of my sketchbook images.
Back to the leaf motif of this morning, but this time I combined it with another image in the same style. This time I inverted one of the leaves and simply made vertical stripes, which because of the shape of the image has almost made a grid pattern. The colour of this background is better matched to my knit and this repeat is a good development of my large Shima sample. (Snippet 146.)
By this stage my brain was in overload, so when asked to find an image to use for the laser cut I simply went to a tree of life image that I had painted, knowing that this provided a solid central image. (Snippet 147.)
To convert this image into one suitable for the laser cutter a line had to be placed around each edge. Once transferred to the laser cutter this had to be set at 0.01mm in order for the appropriate size line to be burnt through the fabric. I have now recreated the image in my sketch book; both the direct image and the negative are shown here. (Snippet 148.)
Wednesday 30th October 2019
Felt that I should return to the computers as soon as possible to try to repeat the type of activity we had covered yesterday. I had looked at my images and felt that a set of collaged trees would work quite well as stripes, either for interiors or fashion, but that I wanted a “plain stripe” of colour between columns of trees.
Managed to open my image in Photoshop, removed the background and place the image in the centre of a larger “frame”, so that when it was transferred to Illustrator to make a repeat there were gaps between the images. I created a repeat and saved it to a swatch, but then struggled to find it again when trying to fill a blank frame (worked it out eventually) and then using Camilla’s printed instructions I was able to fill the background with a pale yellow.
So, I had achieved exactly what I set out to do. This was very reassuring and I’m pleased with the final repeat, which you can see in the picture.
Now I was on a roll, so found another image with the intention of making copies of various sizes and rotations. Discovered that I couldn’t do this, so have some questions for next week, but in trying to remove the background from a simple image Photoshop did some wizardry and created an unintended effect that I really rather liked. Took this new image and made a simple wall repeat in Illustrator. (Snippet 150.)
Still have the original image scanned from my sketchbook and also a single modified image before making the repeat. With help next week I will be able to develop this image in line with my original intention. Also have a couple more ideas for things that I would like to try, but have no idea how to achieve, meanwhile, back to the sketchbook.
Printing this year is all about digital, not something that I was particularly looking forward to. Soon found that I could do it - yeh. Indeed, was really pleased with some of the patterns I created with just one session in the computer lab.
Excited to be back. The first year that we have started on a grey day, still it had stopped raining by the time I walked from the car park. Back into the knit studio and sat in front of a domestic machine, where I realised that in the two years since I had last sat here my mind had emptied.
Despite not remembering how to knit by machine I was still able to select some suitable yarns based on my summer palette of dark blue, pale blue, mauve, purple and pale yellow (which seems to have become cream). Then a fellow student reminded me how to cast on and I was off and knitting.
Started with 10 rows of knitting, made a row of lace holes, then another 10 rows of knitting before picking up the cast on row to make a picot hem. I can remember something after all!
Changed yarn from pale blue to dark blue and practised making some more holes, spaced every third stitch this time, changed colour again, now pink / mauve, for another set of holes, but this time used to make ladders so not all the stitched were re-engaged on the first part, but they were done successively from the outside in.
Now complete brain failure when it came to casting off. So again, with expert guidance from another student I was reminded how to do this. First tiny piece complete, but the dark blue now looks black so went in hunt of a slightly less black blue.
Having found a new blue a test swatch was knitted starting with dark blue and then inserting each of the colours in turn to ensure that a blue hue remained in every combination.
So, I have five yarns! Now to start using the sketchbook for inspiration. Stripes and holes seem to be the order of the day (for now at least). Another quick lesson from Charlie (technician) in how to use punch cards and fair isle knit and I was off on sample three. Only two colours, but a good starting point for ideas. I like the squares and I like the stripes with holes in them, so will develop these two ideas in the next samples.
(These can be seen in the gallery as snippets 128 and 129.) However, I also think that the square motif needs a “harder” bottom edge the picot looks too soft to really support this – perhaps some squares?
Leaving the domestics for a little while it was now time to engage with digital knit using the Shima Seiki machines. I selected this image from my sketchbook (snippet 130). It was scanned into photoshop and cleaned up in 3-colour, before transfer to the knit software.
I ran out of time at this point, so returned on Thursday to see how it had knitted up, I was hoping for an offset repeat.
John had worked his magic with the leaf image on the Shima. Looks like the original sample was a bit large, so both the image and overall size were decreased for the second sample, then a couple of goes at introducing lace holes into the background. John was disappointed that the machine was still dropping some stitches, so more work to do on this, but largest sample and one of the lace hole ones are shown in snippet 131.
Now my turn on the domestic. First sample of the day was to create a checker-board effect of squares four stitches wide by four rows long, using the dark blue as the main colour and swapping the primary and secondary yarns in the fair isle distribution to alternate the coloured squares.
Mostly this went quite well, but there were a few lessons learned:
· Ensure cast on stitches are under tension, otherwise everything drops off with first pass!
· First row of fair isle doesn’t engage across full width, find out why – is this a machine or knitter issue?
· Cream yarn is “slippery” so needs extra tension provided by weights at edge of sample.
· The fuscia (pink) and pale blue both knitted well.
· The purple yarn is a little thicker and may benefit from an increased stitch size.
· The cream yarn is a little thinner and may benefit from a decrease in stitch size.
· Stitches are not as long as they are wide, probably need to do 6 rows of 4 stitches wide to create squares.
· Overall very pleased with the impression of the sample.
So now to try a zig zag effect with holes made left to right for four rows and right to left for four rows. Also look at the impact of placing the holes in the centre of 5 coloured stitches and then 3 coloured stitches on an overall pattern block of 8 stitches.
Again, there were some lessons learned:
· I like the left / right zig zag created by the direction in which the holes were made.
· This would look different if the 3-stitch column was centred on the 5-stitch column rather than both being “formatted” to the left.
· Purple was worked at T6.2 and cream at T5.1 and these both worked better (the other colours were all at T6).
Finally, it felt as though the squares would look better with holes in them. So, based on a four-stitch wide square, the middle two stitches in each non-background block were used to make a hole. The finished piece showed rather more ladders than holes, need to work on the technique. I know that I can only introduce one needle at a time, so will try again next time.
Overall good progress: I still have some things to work out, as I also notice that the first row of any fair isle pattern is the same as the last row of the previous set. Again, I suspect this might be a machine error, but can find out this out by trying another machine. I also need to work out where the pattern sits in relation to the centre of a sample and either find, or create, a punch card to make 5 / 3 then 3 / 5 stripes.
I came into the studio with plans for my first sample. Before starting there were a couple of things to work out. The pattern card is 24 stitches wide and I think this equates to the “red block” of needles marked on the machine. To confirm where the squares would appear, I cast on 24 stitches on these needles, knitted a few plain rows, engaged the fair isle pattern then ran the carriage back and forward with the top lifted to engage the pattern. (I had been told that this would solve the delayed pattern pick up by some other students.) Knitted 6 rows in fair isle, which resulted in much squarer squares. A few more rows of plain then a row of two stitch holes, remembering to leave one needle back for row one and move forward for row two. Cast off and sample confirmed that this method leaves a lace effect rather than a lace hole.
Tried again, moved cast on stitches one stitch to the right so that fair isle would fit exactly. Made squares and then moved on to holes. Big learning point here – remember to move back to regular stitch when second yarn is removed from carriage! Fortunately, only a test sample, so recovered dropped stitches and made two stitch holes again. This time when the second needle was returned the lace stitch was hooked over the returning needle resulting in much cleaner holes.
Testing all done, it’s time to produce my first sample. The pattern is 8 stitches wide, so each square for the hem will be 8 stitches wide, the sample needs an odd number of these; 4 squares and 3 gaps give a sample width of 56 stitches, which should be about right.
Dark blue was the background colour and each other colour was then used for two sets of 6 stitches to produce a checkerboard effect. A two-stitch hole was made in each colour block by knitting two rows, then making the hole, bringing the needles back one by one and finishing with two rows. The pattern was repeated twice to create the full sample (snippet 134).
So far, so good. Snippet 134 sorted, time to start on the next one. Maintaining the same colour mix but changing a 5/3 and 3/5 pattern and single holes. A quick discussion with Kay and it was decided to use all the colours in both the “background” and the fair isle, but to change the two at different points in the pattern. This would reduce the stripe effect and emulate the projected edge effect of the bar in the leaf on the Shima sample.
I decided to place the single hole in the middle of each 5-stripe by moving the stitch left to right and in the middle of the 3-stripe by moving the stitch right to left. This alteration in direction of the hole making should produce a zig-zag effect in the finished piece. It also seemed that a picot hem would complement the holes and slight wave in the pattern, so this was made in the dark blue to ensure continuity from the first sample.
This piece was started and 5 lots of background colour and five lots of fair isle colour completed before running out of time. Back in tomorrow to finish this one.
Wednesday 9th October
The second piece was close to completion yesterday. Another couple of colour changes and this was now long enough to be cast off to form sample two.
With time remaining before our afternoon lecture it made sense to start on the next piece. Kay had suggested doing some work on “hold” to produce a wavy edge; a sample in the corridor provided inspiration and a wavy hem seemed like a good way of introducing the energy of trees into the knit sample.
I cast on 24 stitches (in the dark blue) and started to use needles on the left-hand side in hold to enable the right-hand side to grow more rapidly. Different colours were inserted and variable numbers of stitches held to introduce “godets” of a range of lengths and widths. After a couple of colour changes the non-held knitting jumped off; probably insufficient tension / weight on the knitted work. This piece was removed but demonstrated that the concept would work.
After the abortive attempt of snippet 136, a second attempt was made. This one continued until 18 cm wide, which should be enough to cover around 50 needles for the sample body, perhaps slightly narrower than A4, but the frill on the hem will be wider.
Working on a sample width of 50 stitches, I planned out a scheme for creating a diamond pattern in lace holes, however, to keep this balanced I needed an odd number of stitches, thus 49 stitches were to be used. This created a 24-row repeat, where row 25 = row 1.
Tuesday 15th October
Progress review with Kay where we agreed possible developments for the Shima using a mixture of scale and colourway changes to develop the image. One idea is to make an even smaller repeat as a border changing the colour placement on alternate images. Then a central larger image – ideally with the lace detail in the background again. I will need to arrange another session with John to achieve this.
For my domestic machine samples, Kay explained a technique for reducing the tendency of a picot hem to “kick up”. This is done by reducing stitch size every two rows of knit – increasing for the hole row – return to smallest size, then increase every two rows until pick up. Need to try this on a future sample, also want to try picot hems on flaps created by knitting extra on hold. Definitely needs a test piece!
Meanwhile back to sample 3. The frill for the hem was completed last week. Picked this up over 49 stitches, knitted a couple of rows of dark blue and realised that counting needles for placing the holes was going to be a nightmare, so took the work off and picked up again starting with the left-hand stitch on “0”. Knitted a couple of rows and realised that I created some ladders. I must have picked up two needles in the same stitch on the frill. So off again – re-hooked – carefully and finally started the sample.
The intention is to move away from a dark blue background, so in this sample more pale blue was used with the dark blue. Setting up a 6-row dark blue, 6-row pale blue, 6-row dark blue repeat. Each block was separated by two rows of one of the other three colours. This repeat was a suitable length to allow each additional colour to be used in a 3-drop repeat of the lace holes.
In making the lace holes; when the line of holes was moving left to right across the sample (on the reverse side, as seen when being knitted) the hole was created by moving the stitch from left to right. Conversely, when the lace holes were travelling right to left, the stitch transfer was moved in the same direction (right-hand needle to left). When the sample was complete this revealed an additional textural element with a stitch line running underneath the lace holes. (This can just be seen in the picture above.)
Third sample successfully completed, now time for number four. This time the background is to be pale blue and all the other colours to be used as inserts. Similar to the frill on sample 3, using needles in the hold position to enable shorter rows to be knitted in another colour.
The inserts used all four of the colours, different numbers of needles and a variety of numbers of rows. The intention being to make a random but balanced sample with long narrow inserts and shorter but wider ones. In order to avoid holes appearing at every turn, an extra needle was placed on hold on the second of each pair of rows. (Snippet 139.)
Wednesday 16th October
Back in to steam sample 3, finish sample 4 and start knitting columns for sample 5.
Sample 5 is based on a suggestion from Kay, after seeing the Shima samples. The tab extending outside the leaf motif inspired a series of strips of knitting of differing lengths and widths joined to together with uneven start and finish points.
One strip of each colour was knitted and two of these joined by hooking up one strip with right side facing and the second with wrong side facing then knitting one row and casting off. In this way the pale blue and yellow stripes were joined and it was possible to plan the rest of the sample.
Tuesday 22nd October
Last week of this knit rotation and lots still to do. A plan of the vertical stripes suggested my next actions; including producing another long wide pale yellow stripe to add to the other edge to provide stability to the piece, and another piece of pale blue knitting to join the final stripes, this one was done horizontally to add a different element to the piece. The resulting sample is quite abstract as shown in this photo. (Snippet 140.)
I now had five samples completed and plans for the two more from the domestic machine, so arranged with John to complete another sample on a Shima.
The original idea for this was to produce two rows of the leaf motif, each row having three of the six possible colour combinations with three colours. The two rows were to be separated by a larger leaf, however, in creating this an asymmetric pattern (closer to A3 in size) was achieved. This unintended pattern looked interesting on the screen, so it was agreed that we would knit this and only produce the original design if this pattern didn’t work in a knitted format.
Once knitted the sample was washed and steamed and although larger than the other samples in the collection has been kept as a development of both the colour and design elements. (Snippet 141).
And so, to sample six. The intention this time was to continue working with the pale blue background, starting with a picot hem, to which an additional colour was added to the tip. In knitting the hem the tension number was reduced every second row until the lace hole row (which was knitted larger), then increased again every second row until reaching the original size, at which point the cast on stitches were hooked up. Then throughout the sample additional lengths were to be knitted by keeping most of the needles on hold.
The length of these extra “flaps” was varied, as were the colours and the patterns used. In some cases, quite long pieces were knitted and simply picked up to create a loop. In others more stitches were retained to make wider tabs. Some of these were knitted with their own picot edge, others had lace holes included to tie the sample to the ones completed earlier in the collection.
Due to the nature of the yarns, the pale blue, dark blue and fuscia were all knitted at T6, while the yellow was always at T5 and the purple at T7.
Wednesday 23rd October
This morning started with a “crit” for the first rotation, in my case knit. I still had two samples to complete for knit, but discussions didn’t really suggest any changes to these. I have, however, got some starting point ideas for print.
Back into the studio and it didn’t take long to complete sample 6 (snippet 142).
For my final sample Kay had suggested combining elements of snippet 139 and longer pieces as per the loops on this piece. Pale blue was kept as the background, the yellow was used to knit four long narrow pieces to be added to the surface of the sample, and the other three colours were used to create inserts by keeping a few needles on hold. The big difference this time being that the “wrong” side of the knitting would be the right side of the sample.
The yellow pieces were hooked up and stitched in across the sample to produce a range of effects. Three pieces were all knitted in at the bottom in the same pale blue piece. Two of these were twisted around each other and knitted in much higher, which the other piece was hooked in at two different points, again in pale blue blocks. The final piece was hooked up to make a loop flap towards the top of the sample, which was deliberately knitted shorter than the other samples to leave room for a fringe hem.
Friday 25th October
Last visit to the knit studio, this time to finish sample 7 (snippet 143) with a “fringe” of strips of the yellow yarn knitted across 4 stitches and 17 rows in each case. The plan was that in the finished piece, each of these would curl in on themselves to produce a tassel effect.
By the end of this rotation I have three Shima samples and seven domestic machine knit samples all based upon the initial trees and fastenings theme. Due to the nature of the fabric I feel that knit is more suited to fashion than interior. Knitted fabrics of this format are too prone to snag to be of use in furniture covering and the structure is too stretchy for items such as curtains, however, the warmth does make them ideal for blankets and room dressing.
This rotation was primarily about digital knit and an introduction to the Sheima Seiki machine. To support this a series of domestic machine knit pieces wre also produced developing the skills learnt during the first year (three years ago for me).
Using baler twine and inspired by the work of Annie Albers. This piece in the picture (snippet 117) is based on a pattern already used.
It was identified in sample 112, that the top of this pattern creates a diamond motif in the weft yarn, thus brown was chosen for the field colour and orange was introduced through the use of baler twine, which was woven at random backwards and forwards on top of the brown weft.
The piece was started and finished with a complete repeat of the pattern with no additional baler twine.
Snippets 118 and 119 are again based on a predefined 8-shaft pattern.
The nature of the pattern for snippet 118 is symmetrical such that the front and reverse of the fabric are effectively the same. As the warp hasn’t changed yet, the same colour pallet was retained and this piece, too, is based on stripes. The first set of stripes is a single repeat in the order: red, grey, orange, pale green and brown. This order was used again with a double repeat of the pattern.
Of these colours with this weaving pattern the orange was chosen to do a central three repeat stripe and then the colour rotation altered slightly for a double followed by a single repeat. Thus, the return stripes were: brown, pale green, red, grey and orange.
For snippet 119, there were a number of false starts with the pattern as the plan printed on the sheet did not produce a suitable pattern – it kept “jumping”. Finally, it was settled into a twill of 4-1-1-2, producing a very striking effect, particularly when woven in long blocks of the same colour.
This sample was started in July with three times repeat of this pattern in brown, red, orange and grey. After a short break I returned to the studio to discover that my brown yarn had vanished, a replacement was found, but the colour is not quite as strong or warm and has less differentiation from the red.
It was also apparent that continuing a three-repeat followed by two and a single would give a very long piece. The pale green was repeated only twice along with brown, red and orange, before moving to 1½ repeats for grey through to the final grey and pale green which were halves.
This pattern has a strong left to right warp bias on the top side of the weave. The reverse shows a strong right to left weft bias. The weft is more predominant in the reverse, which makes the warp grey stripe look even stronger in the twill (snippet 120).
In many ways the pattern in snippet 121 is similar to a honeycomb and so produces a very textured weave. This effect was exploited by initially using grey as the primary weft colour and introducing a secondary colour on rows 1 and 8. This was repeated twice, giving a double row of the secondary colour in the middle of each repeat.
Each colour was used in turn: brown, pale green, red, orange and then the same order but this time using the colour for rows 1, 2, 7 and 8. Again this was done twice, so that four rows of the same colour appear at the centre of each block.
Finally, the grey was used for rows 1 and 8 and the secondary colour for the other six rows.
The two faces of this fabric are quite different. The reverse is much more grey, particularly at the start (bottom) of the piece where it is the primary weft colour.
There is nothing new in weaving a double cloth, but snippet 123 was my first attempt at working out the appropriate weaving pattern.
My plan was to weave the top piece on the odd shafts and the bottom piece on the even shafts. Thus, for the bottom I needed to keep all the odd shafts raised and make the pattern on the even rows.
To see easily that this is working I decided to weave the top in grey and the bottom in red and to ensure that both layers grow at the same rate I would need to weave one grey pick and then one red pick, so these two shaft patterns need to be combined.
After 6 cm (24 repeats) the colours were swapped over so that the bottom was now grey and the top red. Another 6 cm were woven before repeating the process to create a 2-2 twill top and bottom.
To make a similar length piece of cloth 17 repeats of this were woven, before swapping the colours over for another similar length.
Snippet 124 saw a return to unwoven warp, this time with the intention of making small square / rectangular gaps.
Started weaving with the red in plain weave, creating 8 picks with gaps and 8 without, leaving 4 gaps across the 10 red stripes. The first set of 8 picks of tabby, 8 with holes and 8 more plain weave gave a piece of 5cm.
This showed that: a) the holes are not square and b) the holes don’t show up very well when in the self-coloured element of the warp. So, continue with the red weft, but now put gaps in the middle of the central grey stripe and also in larger groups of 24 warps centering on two red stripes. This gives three lots of gaps toward the centre of the warp.
After 8 more picks of plain weave this piece now measured 8cm.
These larger gaps work better in the red, so tried the same pattern in grey, ie. 8 picks of plain weave, 8 rows with 4 holes in the red warp stripes, 8 picks of plain, 8 with the three central gaps and 8 more plain. This pattern in grey takes 7cm.
To make the final sample at least 30cm in length an extra set of 8 rows by 4 red warp holes was made before reflecting the original pattern so far. 8 * plain, 3 central holes, 8 * plain, 4 red holes and 8 * plain in grey and then in red.
Getting close to the start of term and I needed to get this warp finished.
Another chance to play with baler twine in snippet 125. This time I chose a pink twine and matched this with the pale green yarn used in a simple nearly plain weave, which leaves no long warp or weft carries.
The piece was started with one repeat of this pattern, which was continued throughout, while a piece of pink baler twice was allowed to wander over the top being caught into the weave at turning points.
Finally, snippet 126 was woven using an idea suggested by Jackie. The aim was to create a roughly triangular piece by taking each warp thread in turn and using it to weave across as a weft pick, leaving the unwoven end to create a “fringe”.
I decided to take the warp from the right-hand side to the left, using a 2-2 twill also working from right to left.
This started really well, but it gradually became difficult to maintain the tension so that the picks got tighter and tighter and the final corner effectively collapsed on itself. This could be avoided by producing a waste edge of perhaps 20 warps and removing these after completion of the piece.
A few months after finishing the warp it was time to do something with it. So the pieces described in snippets 109, 111 and 122 were used to create one side of a cushion cover for a 50 * 50 cm cushion.
The other side was made using the suffragette warp that was described snippets. 99, 100, 101 and106 and the cover shown in snippet 107.
Snippet 127 shows the autumn colours to their best effect and with a mixture of weave pattern makes for an interesting and textured piece.
Having set the warp and chosen my autumn colour palette these samples were woven to show these to their best effect through a variety of 8-shaft pattern woven in stripes. The picture shown is the exception as here the brown is used to show the warp off, whilst allowing the baler twine wandering line to really stand proud.
Based on 2/2 twills to both left and right depending upon the slope of the diamond. Three separate diamond holes were created centred in grey warp stripes and leaving a full red warp stripe between each “hole”.
The number of wefts feeding into each diamond meant that 44 picks were woven on each side, making a diamond 88 picks “tall”. As shown in the picture (snippet 114).
The next piece (snippet 115) was an exercise in stripes with another 8-shaft pattern. The 8-row pattern was repeated twice in each colour in the order: red, pale green, orange, grey and brown. This was enough to show that the top face produces warp-based diamonds, whilst the reverse is weft-coloured. (The opposite of snippet 112)
The nature of the pattern means that it shows up well in the stronger colours and orange was chosen as the main colour for this piece. The orange was used first for 3 rows and then red from rows 4-7, before repeating this pattern. In this way each 8 rows was repeated twice with red, pale green, grey and brown, then orange was used for one full set in the middle before reflecting the whole pattern back, finishing with two repeats of the red.
The reverse of snippet 115 gives a weft faced pattern so the diamonds of the 8-shaft weave pattern used are now seen in the colour travelling across the piece and is particularly clear in the orange stripes.
The warp and its colours were the most important feature developed here. The firm structure of the twill that supports the unwoven diamonds allows real movement in the unwoven warp ends.
Revisiting one of the first-year weave patterns; snippet 99 was an experiment in distorted weft. The full pattern consists of two separate 8 row blocks, however, for this piece although the two blocks were alternated, each 8 row block was counted separately for the weft colour changes.
The six weft colours were used in the same pattern throughout. Starting with dark green, then dark purple, warp purple, warp green, bright green and finishing with white. In the first rotation each weft colour was used for one 8 row block, then for two increasing to the final repeat which was of five blocks.
As row 16 and row 1 are effectively the same when a single weft colour was being used for more than two blocks row one was omitted on subsequent repeats.
When the sample was taken off the loom and the warp relaxed, the elasticity of the purple warp resulted in this holding very straight lines allowing the green warp to distort. Not the effect that I was expecting, but nevertheless a good introduction of irregularity. The two sides of the fabric look very similar, although the free warp is in a different position within the warp stripe. The final sample measures 344mm long by 243mm wide and can be seen in the picture.
The aim of the snippet 100 was to create a diagonal pattern with some carried warp threads. It is a progression from snippet 99, woven in blocks of 8 rows, with successive blocks having the carried warps move one shaft across. Thus, a full pattern has 8 blocks of 8 rows.
Only three weft yarns were used, the dark green and white were chosen as they showed both the green and purple warp threads most clearly. The warp purple was also chosen because the elasticity in this results in a very different look to the weave, keeping it much tighter.
The first set were woven as white, warp purple and then dark green. The middle set were woven with the shaft pattern in reverse so that the travel direction of the carried warps was reversed, this set was done as warp purple, dark green and white. The final set returned to the original pattern direction with dark green, white and warp purple.
The sample measures 306mm long by 248mm wide. Again the two sides are very similar with the direction of travel of the unwoven warps simply being reversed.
I have always had a love of colour, weaving enables me to combine this with texture. Snippet 101 really explores the impact that texture can have on colour (and vice versa) by using a honeycomb pattern for the weave.
This piece focussed on green for the weft. 10 sets were produced of each colour, dark green, warp green, white, warp green and dark green. The first and last three pattern repeats in each colour were single colour. For, the central four sets (repeats 4 to 7) rows 3, 4 & 5 were woven in dark purple.
This produced a sample 276mm long and 252mm wide. On the front of the sample the dark purple picks stand proud and appear quite dominant, whilst on the reverse the dark purple is at the “bottom” of the honeycomb creating a very different effect (see snippets 101 and 102 in the gallery).
Snippet 103 shown in this picture is the one that I had been working up to all summer, having been inspired by weaving exhibited as art at the Museum of Design in Copenhagen.
First challenge to work out where to start – I need to know the centre of my warp.
I started by calculating the full number of warp ends, then I realised I could simply count warp stripes! Solution split so that green goes to the left and purple to the right.
The lhs of the sample starts in 2/2 twill to the left and the rhs in 2/2 to the right.
The aim was to take the weft one warp less each time to create a diamond shaped “hole”, it looked as though a hole this large would not be stable, so I tried to insert a diamond into the centre leaving a warp stripe (16 shafts) unwoven on each side. At this time I couldn’t work out how to do a small enough starting point (I think now that it could be done using twill split in the centre moving in opposite directions – will try this another time).
So, the revised plan was to start with a two warp block of plain weave and increase one each side as the external weave “cleared” the next warp block. I also anchored the weft using a clove hitch to the first warp not to be woven.
In some ways this is harder to describe than to do. See image.
Once the widest point was reached the twills were reversed so that the left facing twill was top right and the right facing twill top left.
I found a sheet of 8-shaft patterns in the studio, so took a copy to play with. Snippet 104 is the first of these patterns, produced using all the colours in my palette, but with a large central panel of one colour.
Each colour was used for a single repeat of the pattern in the order: dark green, bright green, warp green, warp purple, white and dark purple. The same order was repeated doing two repeats of each colour. This gave a sample length of 8cm. The reverse order of stripes was to be completed at the end, giving a total of 16cm. Thus, to produce a sample in the order of 36cm, the central panel would need to be 20cm long.
The final piece measures 331mm long by 261mm wide. The elasticity of the warp resulting in a shorter sample when the warp is removed from the loom.
Although I had previously experimented with fading the warp stripes in and out (see snippets 94 to 98) by adjusting the predominance of the weft in the weave pattern; this time it became clear that the effect of the warp stripe is more visible in large blocks of single colour weft, where the weft is striped, this effect predominates minimising the impact of the warp.
Snippet 105 used the same principle as snippet 104. Using the next pattern on the sheet, one set each of: bright green, warp green, warp purple, white, dark purple and dark green. Then two sets of each in the same order before a solid block of the bright green and then the stripes in reverse.
The single and double stripe of each weft measured 9.5cm, thus approximately 17cm of the bright green central block was required.
Another piece on the same lines creates snippet 106. Single repeat, double repeat, solid block, reverse double repeat and reverse single repeat.
This time the colours were used in the order warp green, warp purple, white, dark purple, dark green and bright green, with the central panel being in warp green.
The shaft pattern used was the third one on the sheet. There is a small directional difference between the two sides this time. The image shown is the “front” with a left to right slant, the reverse has a right to left feel.
The finished piece measures 305mm long by 250mm wide.
A year after finishing the warp finally it’s time to do something with it. So the pieces described in snippets 99, 100, 101 and 106 were used to create one side of a cushion cover for a 50 * 50 cm cushion shown in snippet 107.
The other side was made using the warp that will be described over the next few snippets.
This side shows the suffragette colours to their best effect and with a mixture of weave pattern makes for an interesting and textured piece.
The pieces described here rely on texture to add an extra dimension to the weaving. Various weave patterns are used and the elasticity of the warp purple yarn, creates a 3-D weave.
Snippet 103 (shown above) is part unwoven showing the warp to its full effect.
Walking the dog every morning I regularly pass a shrub which has bright yellow/green leaves and tiny white flowers. Growing in front of this are tall dark purple flowers on dark green stems. This four-way colour combination forms the basis of the colour palette used for this set of weave samples.
I intended to do a stylised drawing of these plants and started with the green and white background and then to superimpose the purple flower images over the top.
Having done two initial drawings I decided that superimposing them would make the design too busy, so a new background was produced using the same green but simply relying on the page to provide the white, before the purple flowers were drawn on top. (Snippet 84.)
With the colour palette set it was now time to find some suitable yarns. Having gathered four that seemed to reflect this combination it was clear that more would be needed so a darker green and a darker purple were also chosen.
There’s a first time for everything and this was the first time that I had created my own warp. Without having any idea of the implications I decided to produce a striped warp using green and purple (my two main colours). Using an 8-shaft loom I decided to do double this per stripe (warping 1-8 twice for each colour).
Having no idea what I wanted to weave I initially decided to do a 9 metre warp, fortunately C talked me down a little as with roughly 10 epc I decided to to 10 stripes in each colour making a massive 160 lengths of each yarn.
How was I to know this was going to take hours?
Eventually the warp was prepared with a final modification that I decided to do each of the two end stripes as 1-8-1, thus eventually the two end stripes were slightly narrower using only 14 warp threads instead of the 16 in all the others.
Another lesson learned at this stage is that although using yarns with two different levels of elasticity makes for some interesting fabrics, it introduces some additional challenges in managing the warp. It also becomes obvious that although superficially the yarns appeared to be similar in size once weaving they were clearly quite different.
I suspect that the only way to ensure consistency is to buy all the yarns at the same time from the same source but in different colours if an even weave is required. Otherwise the variation in the yarns can be exploited in the weave texture.
For my first piece, the idea was to produce a simple check trying to make equal size self-coloured squares of the two warp yarns. The difference in the thickness of the two yarns quickly became really obvious.
Weaving was started simply using plain (or basket) weave in the green used for the warp. Once the weft was embedded it could be seen that the green warp stripe wove up slight wider than the purple one, this difference was further evidenced by the number of weft picks needed to make a square.
The warp purple produced stripes that were 13mm wide and required 20 picks of weft to make a square, while the green were 14mm wide and required only 14 weft picks to complete. The piece measured c 250mm wide on the loom, but once released the effect of the elasticity in the purple was to reduce the width to c 235mm and finished sample length c 340mm. The stretch of the purple yarn also helped to create a seersucker effect in the finished sample, which I love. (See picture snippet 88)
For the second piece, plain weave was used again, as the aim this time was to explore the effect of combining similar size stripes of each of the selected yarns in different patterns. Six yarns had been chosen dark green (dg), dark purple (dp), warp green (wg), warp purple (wp), bright green (bg) and white (w). All the yarns (with the exception of the warp purple) were used in 14 weft pick stripes (wp was again used at 20 weft picks).
The work was started with dg and dp stripes; 3 of each and the sample was completed by a reflection of this pattern. The centre of the piece used all the yarns, a single stripe of each in the following pattern: wg, wp, bg, w, bg, wp, wg, dp, dg, dp, wg, wp, bg, w, bg, wp, wg. So effectively alternating stripes of purple (with white an honorary purple) and green.
The final sample came off the loom with variable width (again effected by the elastic nature of wp) but c 255mm and a completed length of c 315mm. This item (snippet 89) demonstrates that the dark yarns give the piece a good structure, whilst the two bright colours provide an effective “pop”.
The next piece focussed on texture (although colour is still used to explore the exaggeration or minimisation of the visual effect of texture). All six yarns are used with a honeycomb weave so the front and back of the sample look different.
This time the three “purple” stripes were blocked together and then the three green ones, so the order was: dark purple, warp purple, white, dark green, warp green, bright green. In the first cycle each yarn was used for 4 repeated blocks of the pattern, followed by 3 repeated blocks in the second cycle, 2 repeated blocks in the third cycle and finally a single repeat of each. This resulted in a final sample with a variable width from 225mm to 250mm and a length of 277mm.
Back to playing with colour for the next pieces, firstly a simple 2-2 twill was used, thus front and back look similar except for direction of travel of the twill – front bottom left to top right and back bottom right to top left.
In order to explore the effect of putting different colours together this sample was woven in sets. For the first set every alternate block of 8 weft picks was done in the warp green, then each of the other colours were interspersed for a single stripe. This makes the first block pattern: wg, dp, wg, wp, wg, bg, wg, w, wg, dg, wg.
The second block is based on the dark purple: dp, wp, dp, bg, dp, w, dp, dg, dp, wg, dp; the third on the warp purple: wp, bg, wp, w, wp, dg, dp, wg, wp, dp, wp; the fourth on bright green: bg, w, bg, dg, bg, wg, bg, dp, bg, wp, bg; the fifth on white: w, dg, w, wg, w, dp, w, wp, w, bg, w and the sixth on dark green: dg, wg, dg, dp, dg, wp, dg, bg, dg, w, dg.
These six sets of twill stripes left the piece a little short so the first set was repeated in reverse to produce a final sample 245mm wide and 315mm long. This piece demonstrated that although both the bright green and white work well when used as a “pop” colour, they are less effective when used as the background, in this latter case all the colours look slightly diminished.
Then a piece with two lots of variation. First the weave. This was a variable twill moving left to right starting with two repeats of 1-7 twill, then two of 2-6, two of 3-5, 4-4, 5-3, 6-2 and finishing with two repeats of 7-1, before changing direction and moving right to left with two repeats each of 7-1, 6-2, 5-3, 4-4, 3-5, 2-6 and 1-7.
This set makes one “zig-zag”. Within each zig-zag the colours were used in an attempt to produce some shading. So, the first full set of twills was started in dark green and moved to dark purple. This was blended into warp green then warp purple to complete the second repeat and then into bright green and white for the third repeat.
Due to the stretch in the warp purple this made a very dense pattern without much length, thus final zig in dark green and zag in dark purple was used to complete the sample at 290mm long with a variable width of 211 – 240mm.
The mixed colours produced an unusual piece, however, the blocks of colour in the last zig-zag gave a really interesting image with the warp stripes appearing to fade and strengthen. The reverse side of snippet 93 not only has the zigs and zags going in the opposite direction but the weft heaviness is reversed, thus the front of the sample turns on a warp predominant point, whilst the back turns on a weft dominant twill.
Having seen the effect of the warp coming and going in snippet 93, this piece set out to develop this principle over the whole length of the piece. The same shaft patterns are used again. From snippet 93 – one zig-zag measured approx. 64mm, thus 6 repeats of each twill in each direction should produce a sample about 370mm in length.
Each zig (and zag) was two repeats of each of 7 different twill patterns, thus this full sample would be 6 * 7 * 2 = 84 sets of 8 weft picks. If just two weft yarns are used 42 sets of each, to balance the sample this was done as 21 in dark green followed by 42 in dark purple (where the change in direction occurred) and a final 21 in dark green to finish.
When off the loom, this had produced a sample 239mm wide by 300mm long. The front of the sample clearly shows the warp stripes being dominant in the centre of the sample but virtually disappearing at the ends. (Great when something works as intended although the length was much less).
The reverse of snippet 95, shows the opposite – clear warp stripes at either end of the sample and virtually vanishing in the middle. This shows that the warp visibility effect is a consequence of the twill pattern rather than the weft yarn colour.
Another sample playing with the shaft patterns used for snippet 93, using all 7 twill options in each direction.
Having used the two darkest yarns for the last piece (shown in snippets 95 and 6) the two brightest were used this time. This time each twill was repeated only once to create a zig-zag of 8 * 7 * 2 weft passes. Although at the turn in the self-colour one weft row was missed to create a sharp turn.
Based on previous samples I decided to do 8 full zig-zags but in order for the sample to start and finish on the sample colour this meant doing a bright green “zig” followed by 7 full “zag-zigs” in alternating white and bright green, before finishing with a “zag” in the bright green.
The aim of this weave was to try to produce “wavy lines”. This was achieved to some extent but the weft stripes have a more feathery effect than anything else (particularly on the right side). On completion the piece measured 300mm long by 236mm wide and is the one in the picture above.
A very exciting time. Designing everything from scratch, colours, warp and weaving pattern. The colours, although inspired by nature, are those of the suffragette movement, hence the name for this collection.
A range of ideas were tried and explored using this two colour warp.