This design was inspired by a friend who loves great blue herons. Out of my 12 yard warp I wove 3 table mats, 2 placemats, fabric for 2 totebags, and three towels. I will tie on to part of this warp for table runners in natural and half-bleached linen.
This project is for my guild's tied weave challenge, due in June. After the samples are woven to exchange, I plan to make dish towels for the fall sale. As tied weaves tend to be thicker than regular weaves, I went to a finer thread for the warp/background in the hopes I will get the designs I want, at the size I want, AND a decent towel weight — not too thick.
I spent considerable time planning this warp. The original motif was 72 threads. Using 10/2 warp at 24 epi, the box would be nearly 3" wide. Too big for a 21" wide towel. I decided to reduce some of the blocks down and use 16/2 for the warp, leading me to a pattern of 60 threads at 30 epi, with a motif a 2". That was still too big for my taste, until a guild mate recommended using "half blocks". So instead of 1(tie down), P(pattern shaft), 2, P, I just used "Tiedown", P, "Tiedown", meaning I used an odd number of pattern warps in each block, and then just re-ran the tie downs on shafts 1 & 2 to alternate. This gives me a motif of 1.3" wide using 20/2 cotton at 36 epi, which is just right.
You'll notice my treadling is illustrated a bit oddly. This is how I would illustrate it if I were weaving on a table loom and lifting levers across each row.
The basic idea is tie down 1 + pattern, tabby a (1+2), tie down 2 + pattern, tabby b (everything else). The "trick" for me is that I am using half blocks, so we'll have to see how these motifs come out (balanced or what) when I treadle. Software makes it look nice and square, but when weaving, maybe not so much because you have a tabby between these pattern picks.
Next, I spent another bit of time figuring out my actual treadling on the floor loom so this wasn't too complicated for the "muscle memory" between my feet and head. I will take a scan and post that photo. I sat at the dining room table and sketched it out (feet dancing under the table) until I felt I could follow the pattern steps with the fewest errors.
I decided to time my warping:
30 minutes to wind 200 ends at 8 yards, so 2 hours winding 768 warps.
An hour to beam (with the help of water weights.)
About 10 minutes to thread 1 repeat (48 threads) @ 16 repeats across the warp = 3 hours
Checking my threading ??
Threading the reed 1 hour
Fiddling with everything, the tie up, tie-on and tensioning...??? Maybe an hour or two?
This project is moving along rapidly! I took Bonnie's suggestion and tried the Dukagang treadling with tie down 1 (in blue). I also changed the number of repeats, which elonagated the box a bit. I'll make a final judgement after washing. I plan to set aside 1/2 of the sample to leave unwashed, and wash the other half for comparison. (And yes, I changed the tie up so the motif was on top, and delightfully, it is less weight to lift.)
In terms of project timeline, this is the part that I should measure! The previous stuff was mostly "mechanics". This part is the critical step — maximizing what is on the loom for the best design and color potential. I like to build in a day or two to process what I am seeing on the loom and think about how I want to proceed.
This draft is from The Carol Strickler book of 8 shaft weaves, but it has been modified from the original source.
Here is the somewat "cleaned up" draft of both treadlings, Bricks (green) and Dukagang (blue) treadlings. Since I left the tie down treadles independent of each other, I step on both 1+2 when I need to weave one half of the background (plain weave or tabby). 1+2 (tie downs) alternate with "all the rest" of the shafts.
First sample washed, and I lost 8% in width, 10-12% length. (Take up was 4%, shrinkage 4% in width)
I'll get a better read on this information when I wet finish a larger sample at complete width. For my guild, I wanted to keep part of the first sample unwashed, so they can see what a difference wet finishing makes. (As in toss in the washing machine, dryer, and steam press, not just hand swishing in warm water with an air dry.) It's gonna be a dishtowel, so it better be able to stand up to some true wet finishing! ;-)
After taking a few samples off the loom, I wanted to explore more color options, so I dug out the cones of yarn that were contenders for pattern wefts (10/2) and background wefts (20/2). Then it was fastest to just use colored pencils to sketch up some possible combinations.
I have woven all my samples for the guild exchange, and completed the first towel in Southwest colors. I'll do three sets of matching towels, each is a different colorway and possibly different treadling. I decided after sampling that I prefer the bricks treadling, even though the Dukagang treadling might be simpler. I am about equally fast at treadling either of them at this point.
Here is the technique of cutting off samples while maintaining warp tension and incurring very little loom waste. I paint a mixture of glue and water on the cutting line after weaving a rod or dowel into the web. It is important to weave at least an inch of material before the dowel. After the glue has dried, I cut the fabric off, relash the apron to the dowel, and keep weaving with only about 1.25" of loom waste.
I was also thinking about something someone told me a few weeks ago —about how she spent a whole day at a workshop learning how to weave plain weave. When I was doing the middle part of the towel, I was reminded about that comment and paid special attention to my weaving so I could get good selveges and balanced fabric. At 36 epi, inconsistencies have a way of showing up! Also, typically I like to use a temple, but it wasn't needed on this project.
Only 2 yards left to weave. I am going to try something different for the last two towels (I think.)
Maybe something like this...it's a variation in the Stickler book, but it may not look the same when woven because I switched to half blocks on this pattern. Only sampling will tell!
This project is a set of dish towels in summer and winter. I played around with S&W on two samples, and for both, the selvedges were a nightmare. Why I decided to proceed with a long warp of dish towels, I may never know. But I think I licked my selvedge problems. First, I threaded more warp ends on the two edges, something I had seen discussed at ravelry. Second, I used the make-shift temple idea that has been linked on this site many times.
My final break-through was realizing that fewer weft colors was better, and I am quite happy with the result (so far). Now, if I could only make fewer treadling errors.