I'm really fascinated by the versatility of the backstrap loom. I'm also fascinated with creating designs in cloth. One of the ways to do with is with weft substitution. I'm thinking that the term means the same thing as brocading but would be glad to have someone put a finer definition to these techniques.
Here is a video I found on youtube...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2EER_GrZzo
Here is a backstrap weaving that a friend in the fiberguild loaned me. The warp is cotton and the there is the ground weft of the same size cotton as the warp and then the secondary weft with is bright colors that are much thicker---at least twice the size...of the warp and ground weft.
I have one book on the subject which is...
"Latin American Brocades: Explorations in Supplementary Weft Techniques" by Suzanne Baizerman and Karen Searle with special weaving instructions for rigid heddle frame loom, backstrap, and floor loom.
I've got that one, and several others all on Guatemalan weft patterning, but the granddaddy of them is is this little volume;
this is a teaser as its my bedtime:
I'll scan some piccies off tomorrow. They rival the ones on the Mallet website on the Miao.
Ohhhhhh...that is a tease. Looking forward to more! Thanks, Virag:>
Those weavings you show are made in San Antonio Aguas Calientes near Antigua in Guatemala. I studied there with a weaver in February and March last year-I almost feel like those examples you show could have been made by my teacher's sister-they are so familiar!
These are the pieces I made when I got home. I brought the warp and the weft back with me and have gone through all the warp. The warp is cotton-thinner than my 8/2 and the weft is also cotton-a thinner variety which they use doubled or tripled or even quadrupled according to the pattern. I think it would work with my 8/2 and three strands pulled out of embroidery floss. I am dying to do a black ground weave with multicolored design. Above there are examples of single and double face brocading. THe designs that look like embroidery are the double faced ones. They re exactly the same on the reverse and all the ends get hidden between the sheds so you get a beautiful neat design on both sides. The single faced designs show just ground weave on the back-again all ends are neatly hidden within the weave. Getting the right warp to supplemenatry weft ratio is important with this weave.
It is called supplementary weft rather than weft substitution as there is a ground weave with its own weft and the patterning is done with a supplementary weft which has nothing to do with the the structure of the ground weave.
Carmelita above working on a piece very similar to that posted by Lisa above.
On the right, the piece that I worked on with my teacher, Lidia. Extra sticks in there which hold the warps under which the supplementary wefts pass.
This is awesome stuff! Thank you for the correction on the name...that sure explains why I was having trouble finding info:>:>:>.
I have seen something similar to the double faced supplementary weft thats been called Chinese embroidery in embroidery books. I'm pretty certain it would be this technique instead, as the back is identical to the front and there are no stray threads. Probably a lot of brocade gets incorrectly identified as the work is so fine. I still come across websites that describe Guatemalan and Mexican work as embroidered.
Once I've got some more coffee into me I shall p/c samples from my Chinese book. There is no copyright claimed - there is no copyright law in China. Some of the photos will be very large so I shall upload them to Flikr and give a link, then they can be studied in detail. The talent and skill of these weavers is awesome!
This is done with a white cotton warp and a velvet yarn weft. Flikr is definitely the best place for these photos - the original scan of this is enormous! I'll post the link once its done.
I am traveling right now but I thought you guys would enjoy this video from my old web page. I teach about the Lao pattern storage method for brocade pickup. How to make the equipment, ect....The Lao do supplementary brocade with the back facing the weaver.
the video posted above by virga is very similar to the northern Thai method of using porqipine quills to do inlay. I don't have a video handy to post right now but the northern Thai's do a wonderful supplementary weft brocade with the design facing up.
I am working at Stitches right now but will be home after Sunday night to post my other video.
I do guild programs about Looms of Southeast Asia so weavers can see the many different methods that are used in Southeast Asia. We all get to the same textiles using different paths...it is so cool.
I should add that I started out as a rigid heddle weaver and recognized the Lao way a s a cool way to store pickup. regards Deb
Wow! Any chance of you coming to Australia? I will check your links out - this is fantastic! We are learning do much from one another! I'm so exited I'm babbling! I have a book on South East Asian Textiles so I can learn more about this. Its the usual story, not enough time to sit down and read it as I'm preparing for a craft show just before Christmas and need to make the spindles and things that support my hobby.
I have posted the first set of scans to flikr and you can find them here under the Chinese Ethnic Weaving set.
Plenty more to come!
Your pictures are great. I couldn't get the video to play but could hear the sound...might be my computer at fault so I'm going to go update the player must in case. Do you have any info about backstrap in use for any of the Central Asian peoples by any chance?
These pictures are amazing. Have you done any of this weaving?
How wonderful to have you here to share all this with us. The video that Virag posted above is incredible-two minutes are just not enough. We all look forward to seeing your video when you get back.
We have a member in this group who goes by the name of Russian Princess and she is working to set up a weaving workshop with Burmese refugees in Indianapolis. These weavers also do brocading. You may be interested in contacting her. You can read about her project on this page here in the Backstrap Group forum..............
When I make my trip to the US I am hoping to go visit with them. Maybe my trip will coincide with one of your Lao Ladies presentations someplace. Where exactly in the US are you?
Stunning pictures Caroline. Are these contemporary pieces? What does the book say about when these were made? Are they parts of garments and, if so, which parts? Any pictures of the looms or processes? Sorry for so many questions-you'll be scanning all day!
If you go to this video then follow the related videos, the first one, called tissage, was made in the Textile Museum in Sucre, Bolivia. Ignore the french bit, just make sure you have a cloth to wipe the drool off the keyboard!
I am totally in awe of these weavers! The patience and skill at their fingertips is far more than I can ever hope to achieve, and can never be reproduced by a machine.
Lisa, thank you do much for that link!
Back to the caffeine! And to follow wherever those links may lead!
That one in Sucre is actually tapestry-there's no ground weave there. I am really not sure about the origin of those tapestry weaves-personally I just think that the men wanted to get in on the act as the women were doing so well in their coops and at the museum-the figures in the weaving are certainly traditional-you see them on other pieces woven in complementary warp weave but I have never seen these textiles in use anywhere. Certainly beautiful work though.
I don't speak or write Mandarin unfortunately! I'll scan off the Intro page, but it doesn't really say very much. I found this book on ebay and no-one seemed interested in it. Its not well made, the printing is pretty poor quality and it seems to date from 1983, when China was pretty much still off the Tourist radar. But the photography luckily is good enough to see the brocade, and tell what the woven ground is. Some of it is twill.
I haven't done any weft faced brocade - I was hoping we might have another WAL to learn some, but after seeing this and the videos Lisa found, and Debs video - its an awfully high standard to aim for! These Chinese fabrics seem to be fairly narrow as a couple have the selvedges visible, but I do think they weave much wider pieces, from the tourist pictures I've found, and the photos of traditional costumes.
I'll post more photos later today on flikr, as one set from the Dong weavers is quite different from the bright designs of the Miao and the Zhuang. Laverne, I'm sure you will see echoes from the Southern Andes in their designs and choice of colours.
The Mexicans have a male tradition of tapestry weaving, and there is another group of traditional male weavers who's name escapes me, so perhaps this is where the Sucre tapestry comes from. The dangers of "ethnic" and "primitive" weaving being taken up by the fashionistas is that tradtition goes flying out the window when the necessity is to put bread on the table. We are lucky to have records of how it was done before the Fair Trade movement started up - not that I'm against Fair Trade as such, but I think it influences the designs and colour choices made, and I also feel that the weavers that are supposed to be helped by this movement are actually exploited even more as their products have to compete with mass produced look-alikes. Then you have the situation in Mexico and Nepal, where weavers are better off making bad copies of Navajo designs, than good copies of their own traditional designs.
well, if you want to learn some Guatemalan weft patterning/brocading like the stuff in San Antonio Aguas Calientes I can teach you-it will at least give you a feel for it and you will learn about putting in the extra pick up sticks which indeed is very cool as Deb says. Once you learn the theory behind it then it's up to you to go and get complex!!
The supplementary weft for the Bolivian hat bands is nice too-some weavers do really basic ones and others manage to squeeze some pretty complex motifs into those little bands.-I could teach you that too although I think you will find the Guatemalan method more interesting with the extra sticks.
PS.......What am I doing wrong? I've been hitting Deb's link but don't see any video! Help!
Absolutely......the woman in that video I posted on my Flikr page yesterday is doing a ''dumbed down'' version of their traditional weave in colours that she says are ''ugly'' but this is what the tourists want.
Now the teenage girls in the village are learning this kind of weaving to make money by selling to the tourist market and the very much more complex traditional textiles which are used for their skirts and coca bags is being left to the older weavers who eventually won't be around anymore. Admittedly the teenagers were just not interested in learning to weave at all before so I suppose any interest is better than none.
I'd like to learn. Either or would be great. The upshot is that the Brocading book is slowly starting to make since to me as I weave more on the backstrap loom:>.
GREAT! The good thing is that the warps, at least as I learned it in Guatemala, are not rammed up right next to each other so opening the sheds is a piece of cake!
Guatemalan brocade/weft patterning sounds good to me! i have several books on the subject, as well as some Atwater and Tidball monographs.
Honestly - I go to warp up my knitters loom with some hemp (nasty feral twisty stuff) and the conversation gets busy, hehe! This is my late lunch break, OK I did have a lie in this morning!
Here is the intro to the Chinese book, not terribly enlightening:
At least it gives some idea of what the textiles are about.
i've been able to upload the best of the photos from the textiles book to my flikr pages:
The photo used for the front cover of the book is among them, if you can spot it! No prize for guessing, though!
You have no idea how happy that makes me:>. I'm going to have to got get the dh to cut me another loom:>.
Count me in on a weft-faced WAL!
Soooo many techniques, soooo much fun............................... I'm lucky, my local supermarket has a good stock of broom handles!
OK. I am going to experiment a bit beforehand with my 8/2 or perle cotton as warp and see how that goes. I have a lot of the Guatemalan thread that we used as weft but need to find a readily available equivalent for all of us. Maybe 4 or 5 strands pulled out of embroidery floss or tripled perle cotton.
Anyway I know that we are all engrossed in other projects right now so it won't be for a while..........gotta see that jajim completed and all the goodies for Caroline's craft fair.
Here is a hair sash from Jacaltenango in Guatemala. Unfortunately I didn't get to this place to learn to weave on my last trip but, fortunately for all of us, Carol Ventura has a wonderful book about these sashes called ''Maya Hair Sashes Backstrap Woven in Jacaltenango Guatemala''. It discusses the loom in detail and gives a step-by-step, row-by-row description of the weave and there are diagrams too. The book has lots of photos and background information as well as a discussion of the symbolism of weaving , colors and motifs. I highly recommend it.
I wove the sash using this book before I went to Guatemala but ran into the same old yarn equivalent problem and, although, I understood the technique, my sash came out very clumsy and out of shape. I now have a better idea of the warp to supplementary weft ratio necessary to reproduce these sashes-especially now that I have one of my own to look at!
These are really awesome, thank you for scanning them in.
Esmecat taught me how to do one of those clickable pictures-you know ''click on picture to see larger image'' and I wanted to see if it works. So click on this image to see the large version. He he!! It works!!!! Thanks Jen! This is one of the pictures that Caroline kindly scanned for all of us and I think this is my favorite.
Yes, close up and side-ways on!
When you enlarge the photos, the motifs are not so different from the ones in the hair sash above are they? Many of the design elements are similar once you put them into a similar scale.
There is a modern weft faced weaving on ebay.au at the moment,
This guy is selling off a textile collection, and its fun going through trying to work out what is hand-woven or niot, and embroidered or not. Its a good cross-section of south East Asian textiles.
Hands Off! I want this one, if at all possible!
Only joking, but I do covet it!
Oh they are lovely. Seriously, why not make a bid?
I wanted to make the above clickable picture link to the enormous version you get when you click on the little magnifying glass because that image is great but it won't work...........
My pride and joy, from somewhere in Thailand, bought home by my mum sometime during the late 70s or early 80s
Its lined, so I think I will unpick a little bit to see if its weft faced brocade or embroidery. Its decorated with tiny seeds, and very well made. I'll try and get a few close-ups and post them to Flikr so you can see more detail.
Spectacular! Funny how the seed design is different on just those two squares I can see on the right side. Is it bascially all one piece or are there strips put together?
This is why I want to carefully undo part of the lining. The seeds are sewn on afterwards, but the horizontal stripe you see across the middle is the edge of the weaving - backstrap pieces in South East Asia often have a strip of colour at the selvedge. I want to find out just how much of this is woven, and how much is embroidered Its cotton, but the colours look as if they are perle, something shiny and soft anyway. Its beautifully made, with inside pockets, and I suspect its made from fairly narrow strips of weaving. The back is in two pieces.
All I know is that my mother liked getting off the tourist trail so was exploring up near the Thai Burmese border and she picked this up in a market somewhere. I have another jacket but its very plain, with mass produced trim on it. But the fabric is hand-woven and very stiff, perhaps its nettle.
Here's another gorgeous brocaded sash I bought in Guatemala used to wrap hair. The ground weave is red cotton and almost completely covered in designs in embroidery floss. I would love to try to reproduce a bit of this with some sari silks that Caroline sent me.
That is beautiful! The colours are so alive! Is it made from cotton or silk?
It's all cotton. I wish I could capture the whole thing in a photo because every panel is different and it is 8' 8'' long!! with beautiful big tassels on the ends. My reproduction attempt will be somewhat shorter!!
I have been playing a bit with supplementary weft patterning lately making this bag with a design based on a Huni Kuin pattern......
and this table runner with a Central Asian motif..............
I blogged about this technique and how it is used here in Bolivia, a bit more about the Huni Kuin as well as about how I learned supplementary weft patterning in Guatemala in 2008. There are lots of photos of my teacher and Guatemalan textiles. I hope you will take a look.
I will be doing a tutorial on this technique soon and maybe we can organize a WAL based on it.
I posted the tutorial for supplementary weft patterning on my blog today. There are also key fob projects to inspire you and lots of pattern charts.
Check it out! :-)
Great tutorial on the blog.
I learned something just by looking at the pics!
I have to buy some stuff so I can practice.
Thanks for posting it!
Have a good day!
Great! yes, go practice and maybe later we can run a weave along. I am glad it was helpful.:-)
How do I tie the warp stripes on a double ended piece?
Do I carry the stripe yarn across the sticks? What about the knots on the end?
I think you explained that somewhere but I can't find it now.
Any clue would be appreciated.
Have a good day!
I just tie knots as usual. Try to get the knot to lie right at the warping stake and leave long tails on your knots. When I turn the warp around, I untie the knots (I work a sewing needle into the knots and loosen them up and untie them) and retie those warps directly to the wire you are using to make your smooth end. If the knots have moved up a bit into the weaving area, you can readjust that easily as you left long tails.
When I finish weaving and remove the wire, I again undo the knots and use those tails on a sewing needle to pass through the end loops. The gap left in the end loops once you have removed the wire is usually large enough to pass all the tails and your starting weft tail. Everything wil disappear inside the end loops.
This end is going to go through the key ring and get sewn down so it doesn't matter if it looks a little bumpy!
I hope this helps.Just remember when you initially tie those warps when you are warping, leave long tails after you have made your knots-that's important.
Got it! Thank you muchly!
I can do that. I'll be taking pictures as I go today.
Have a good day!
hi laverne, you provide a lot of beautiful charts on your blog .this afternoon i was experimenting a bit and trying to make some charts of my own .do you think they would be suitable for suplementary weft patterning?
you mentioned using doubled sewingthread ,was that difficult in use or did it behave like one
thread?I have a lot of thin but strong cotton in vibrant colours and perhaps could use those doubled.thanks for all your input.
What beautiful designs Jeannine.
I find that having the supplementary weft floating over a single warp sometimes doesn't show up very well.
You can see that the points on the triangles in this design are floats over single warps and you can barely see them. It works better to have the floats a minimum of two warps I think. I suppose this could change according to the weight of yarn you are using..
We are looking at this design sideways, but all the floats are over two warps except for the ends of the little ''x''s in the centers.
As for the doubled sewing thread, it took a bit of getting used to remembering that I had to treat two strands as one-I got a bit confused at first but then I got used to it. I didn't use the sewing thread for this technique, though.
Just try to get the ratio from warp to supp weft right-look at the blog photos that show both wefts close up and see the size difference. If your supp weft is too thin you will have spaces between each row. Remember that I doubled those strands of embroidery floss so it ws really thick.
Are your designs inspired by anything in particular?
you could have a point there that the floats would be better visibel if they go over at least two warps ;that is a point to take in consideration; as for the thin yarn I used it before in strands of 4 or 6 and it looks a lot like embroidery floss so it would be a case of sampling before starting anything big.
i had no particular inspiration for those designs other then yours which i like a lot.
I was at Laverne's blog on backstrap weaving where she recently posted a tutorial on Supplementary Weft Patterning (SWP). Click here to see the blog -> Backstrap Weaving Blog
Above is my first try at SWP. Using 18 WPI crochet thread on my clipboard loom, I started with single thread for the supp weft, but the result is thin. The warp thread is 3 times as long as wide so a single thread is a tiny horizontal line on a single warp. It looks like a tiny dot.
Then I spotted the instruction where Laverne said she doubles up the thread and usually floats the SWP across two warps, making a thicker dot. so you can see where I started doing that closer to the center.
By the time I started to get the hand of it, I was at the middle so I turned the loom over and started from the other side. As you can see the pattern looks more organized and bolder using the doubled thread for weft pattern. I can see why embroidery floss would work well since it is not tight spun like thread and it would spread out to fill the warp space.
That's all for now.
Have a good day!
hi franco, that looks good ;this proves that the wefttread must be considerably thicker than the warp.
I have reworked my design keeping in mind the weft must go over 2 warptreads and hope to try it out soon.more to see
Embroidery floss works really well for this. I also tried 6 strands of a very fine cotton thread which is what the ladies were using in Guatemala but the strands sometimes crosss over each other and won't lie flat and tend to look a little untidy.
In Guatemala they use only 3 strands of this fine cotton as their ground weave warp thread is much finer than what I am using. The 3 strands are easier to handle.
Your blog is looking great Jeannine. I love the word for mug rugs-''ondeleggers''.
I think your design is going to look great.
This is my first effort, Laverne. Thank you for the excellent tutorial, I'm thoroughly enjoying weaving this.