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An Oscar Beriau Sampler

Sally Orgren's picture
Gaufre, from page 159, Modele de Tissus, early 1930's?
Project Status: 
Project Date: 
Sat, 04/21/2012 - Wed, 06/06/2012
Yarn: 16/2 Cotton
Color: natural
Type: warp
Yarn: 16/2 cotton
Color: white, beige
Type: weft
Loom Used: 
8" Structo
Number of Shafts: 
30.00 EPI
Length on Loom: 
3.00 yd
Width on Loom: 
7.00 in
Finished Width: 
6.12 in

The threading is shown below. Treadling varies. Most of the time, if using a jack loom, you will treadle the opposite of what is shown.

Most of the patterns require two shots of weft (as evidenced in the photos of finished fabric in the books), but the weaving directions may not specify that.

Some of the photos of the fabrics in the books do not appear to match the treadling instructions given, when weaving or after washing.

The original material called for was 4-8 cotton, but I am using 16/2. This weight and fiber would make *excellent* towels from some of these patterns! 

I am sampling the following patterns from the following O.B. sources...

Module de Tissus & Le Metier a Quatre Lames, (early 1930's?) both French editions

> Gaufre, page 117 

> Gaufre, page 159

Home Weaving (1947 edition) English

> Broken Twill, page 120 

> Honeycomb, page 160

> Waffle Weave, page 166

> Reversed Serge, page 207

> Reversed Serge, page 208

> (Unnamed), page 229

In trying to come up with a treadling that matches the illustration on page 117 of the Module de Tissus, Leslie M pointed out a Davison threading and treadling on page 118 of her book comes close. (New Canaan Check, under "block weaves", treading XVI.)

I will post more results as I get a chance to take more photos. I have woven 11 samples to date (6/6/12)

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Sally Orgren's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Oh yeah. Why am I doing this?

Contrary to what some of my guildmates think, I am not completely bonkers. Sign up for Mary Underwood's lecture at Complex Weaver's Seminars this Sept, and you'll find out!

lkautio's picture
Joined: 06/11/2009

I have a Beriau sampler from a leftover warp from a Beriau class with sample exchange that Mary taught for WGBoston.  It was a blast!  Maybe when I am not feeling lazy I will get it posted. Looking forward to seeing your sampler :-)

Laurie Autio

Leslie M's picture
Joined: 06/11/2009
Very interesting Sally.

Very interesting Sally. Anxious to see the washed samples. Would love to see Laurie's samples too. My samples using 8/2at 24 epi are much too textured , cells are too deep and floats too long for use as house hold items or clothing. Expect the 16/2 is much better.

lkautio's picture
Joined: 06/11/2009
Beriau floats

I wove my Beriau sampler on his suggested warp and sett.  The float length was way too long for any but decorative wall use.  The sampler I did was to try to find ways to make the threading and warp work for other uses. It was a lot of fun, and in the Beriau spirit of experimentation.

Laurie Autio

Sally Orgren's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
New Goal...

Laurie, I guess I will have to bring my sampler book to Complex Weavers in Sept!

I shared what I had with Mary three weeks ago, but have woven more samples since then. She was able to share her sampler with me (was that the same class you are referring to?), so that was interesting to see. I tried weaving one of the drafts with a tabby in between (229?). It was okay, but I think it just didn't excite me personally. Could have been my color choice, too.

Actually, some of these textured weaves at 16/2 ARE prety nifty. (The serges.) Leslie, I'll have to see what you think of the float length after washing.

Laurie, why do you think the 4-8 was recommended in these books? Easier for a beginner to use? Becasue it was war time, and more suitable materials were harder to obtain? Or, was it the style at that time for draperies to be be heavier and coarser, so they would have more insulating properities, especially in Canada?

lkautio's picture
Joined: 06/11/2009

I'm guessing that the war would make wool scarce (being used for
blankets and uniforms) and I know at least one edition came out around
1939. So, perhaps this was a substitute for a similar size wool which would have been more insulating.  Finishing would stabilize the wool floats so they would not have been the same problem. 

Laurie Autio

Sally Orgren's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
"Reversed Serge"

From Wiki-

Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms,suits, great coats and trench coats. Its counterpart, silk serge, is used for linings. French serge is a softer, finer variety. The word is also used for a high quality woolen woven.

Both serge patterns I wove don't have a strong diagonal. I was curious about this fabric name. I don't think I have come across it in American handweaving sources. What's the backstory?

P.S. I need to recheck for sure, but I don't think the 1939 English edition had any drafts that match this theading. We have that edition in our guild library thanks to Mary.

rosearbor's picture
Joined: 05/27/2009
I'm signed up for Mary's

I'm signed up for Mary's class and looking forward to it.  It's been fun to see your posts here about weaving up the samples.  I remember my mother having a "blue serge suit", and when I used to work in the fabric department at Sears (boy, that's dating myself- they havent sold fabric since the 70's) we used to have many bolts of it.  It was wonderful suiting material.

Sally Orgren's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009

It looks like serge is still being sold for police and military uniforms. However, the fabric called serge woven from the book doesn't look quite like those fabrics, on either side! I am wondering if they were using the term more generally as in the last definition, "high quality woolen woven."

All the comments have inspired me to tie another 3 yards on and keep sampling...

P.S. Mary U could talk about paint drying, and make it fun! Wait until you hear about her experiences in pursuit of finding out more about Oscar Beriau. She has traveled to a variety of places in pursuit of this story, and seems to add a new chapter each year.