Weaving patterns #7 – Supplementary warp

I got interested in supplementary warps almost as soon as I got weaving! It’s such a cool way to add texture to your cloth and the possibilities are almost endless. So what is a supplementary warp?

Well, it’s where you take a yarn and add it to the warp yarn you’re already using. Typically it will be some combination of different colour, weight or texture. Here was my first go at it, with a fantastic thick/thin yarn (Pixie Dust) from Knit College:

A thick/thin yarn in shades of gray overlaying a dark grey cloth
It’s a little hard to see but for this scarf I ran the thin sections of the yarn over and under the cloth so the supplementary warp is on both sides!

The trick with weaving using this technique is to warp the supplementary yarn separately and – unless you have a second back-beam – that means weighting it. This is how I’m tackling a current sup’ warp project:

Yarn dangling from the back beam, weighted with metal washers
Metal washers to the rescue!

Of course if you’re using a different colour of the same yarn as the warp then you can just warp it with the rest, but the fun of this technique is mostly in the crazy yarns I think!

In my first project, because I was moving the warp under and over the web, I actually didn’t weight it. Instead, I pinned it to the fell line each time it crossed over/under to achieve a small amount of tension. The result of this is that the thick sections have a lovely bit of slack so they can move with the cloth.

For the current project, because I’ve threaded the Noro yarn through the heddle, the weights are keeping it under an acceptable amount of tension. I do occasionally give each one a little tug (gently!) too, but obviously the Noro Silk Garden will drift/snap under not much tension at all, so I’m being careful.

In this case, the Noro is also my weft and the affect I’m after is far more subtle than with the Knit College yarn. Keep an eye out for pictures of the finished project!

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Lunchbox project: I made dishcloths

I know I said this project mightn’t involve weaving, but you know how it is when you have yarn… in this case a bright and cheerful acrylic vari that was originally used to knit a scarf.

I can’t even remember why that project was a failure, but I pulled the whole lot back and was left with squiggly yarn:

ball of yarn

That was ages back and then I got thinking it’d make nice dishcloths, because it’s chunky (12ply), colourful and acrylic. Now, a lot of people prefer natural fibers for dishcloths but, as this is for the office, I want it to dry quickly and acrylic is good for that!

I had enough warp for 3 so I’m well supplied now. Though you can only see one facing here, this is the whole lot still all one piece, drying on the line:

dishcloth drying on the line
With hemstitching and a few rows of PW each end, I decided to texture the middle of the cloth with a pick-up stick pattern

I wanted more scrubbing power, so I did a 2 ends up, 2 ends down pattern with an offset, divided by 2 picks of PW (image above shows the reverse).

The pattern opened up the web nicely and I think it’ll make for a better cloth for my purposes. It also looks nice with this vari – kind of amps up the chaos of the colours crossing themselves – and I want chaos, because it’ll hide stains, wear etc.

My only worry is they’ll be a bit fluffy, as it is a soft acrylic. I’m going to throw them in the machine a few times before I start using them to “wear them in”.

Dishcloths for work… Tick!

I’ll report back on how they go in use… But that’s the first lunchbox item done!!

This is my new favourite pattern!

One of my favourite patterns I’ve woven so far is the classic log cabin, but it has a rival for my affections now!

You don’t get the full loveliness in this pic – it’s best seen by moving away from the screen a bit – but it’s elegant and… I like it a lot.

black and brown pattern on the loom

Can’t wait to wash it and see how it fulls.

Having fun with the loom

I’ve had a bit over a week off work and there was a list of errands and chores as long as my arm to keep me busy. But then came the weather. I’m no one’s friend when it’s either humid or over 33C so, as I said in my scarf in a day post, I was hiding and weaving.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d weave quite this much!

Finished scarf on the table
The first hot day weaving project…
A black scarf with a stripe of varying shades of pink and mauve
Having some leftover of the variegated so I decided to use it for a stripe, so here is the second hot day scarf…

I did a yarn audit in the middle of the week, so I have an excuse to buy more yarn… okay, technically it was to refresh my memory of what’s there, but the shopping part of my brain had an eye on whether the yarn store had space to grow (it does… squeeeeeeeee!). The other result of the audit was finding balls of colours that I don’t normally use.

Lemon and white scarf
A pale lemon scarf with white stripes was the result!

I did a subtle pattern of stripes on the lemon scarf and it has turned out beautifully. It also got me thinking about patterns. I haven’t done one for a while…

Black and brown warp on the loom
I love colour-and-weave patterns and I think this two-tone chestnut will look great with the black

So I’ve warped a colour pattern and, for something different, I threaded before winding on the warp (that’s the back beam in the foreground there).

The pattern will slow the weaving down some – not as much as being back at work though!

The graph-paper gene

Happy 2018 peeps.

I keep thinking that it’s almost 2020 which, to a sci-fi fan like myself, seems like we’ve almost reached the date in which most imaginers-of-future-us saw hover boards, robots, rocket packs and colonies on the moon. We might not achieve that by 2020, but I’m sure someday soon they will discover the crucial ‘graph-paper gene’.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you probably lack this gene. It predisposes you to using graph-paper for working out ridiculously complicated things that anyone else would just buy instructions for.

My dad has it. Usually it expresses itself in squiggly electrical diagrams that he could probably download from the internet.

My mum has it. Many an hour has she spent working out a design (she’s a lace maker) with painstaking dot and line confections.

I have it. I know I do, because there are no less than 4 types of graph paper in my cupboard. So it wasn’t a surprise when I saw a bit of weaving online recently (a 32 shaft pattern!), decided I wanted to adapt it for my loom and reached for the graph-paper.

Some of you will have totally stopped thinking about graph-paper at this point and are thinking “you can’t do stuff like that on a rigid heddle loom… has she bought a floor loom?”

The answer would be “yes you can (potentially)” and “no she hasn’t”. Of course it won’t be exactly the same pattern on the rigid heddle, but I have hope that it’ll be close enough to capture the wonderful yumminess of what I saw.

Many sheets of graph-paper may go to their doom in the process, but we who have the gene see that as necessary sacrifice.

Weaving patterns #6 – distorting with floats

A while back I spent a week playing with the different patterns that floats can give you, but one I didn’t tackle back then was honeycomb. Partly because this one really needs some extra shafts (you can do it with pick-up sticks, but the pattern changes often) and I was just looking at pick-up sticks.

The beauty of this type of honeycomb is that by alternating the position of weft and warp floats you distort the web/cloth slightly and this creates lines in the plain weave sections. Now I did too narrow a sample to really show it (I was obsessed with using up thrums on this!), but you can see the diagonal lines forming between the weft floats…

small sample of honeycomb weaveAny weaves that use floats to distort the cloth, work best if you use a heavier yarn to highlight the pattern. In honeycomb that means using a heavier weft (which I didn’t do) so that the “cells” have an outlined appearance.

So what other weaves use floats in a similar way? Well, you can also “deflect” or “bend” warp threads to create curves. Called deflected warp it again works best when the warp to be deflected is a heavier yarn:

sample of deflected warpHere, when the floats shrink in the wash the tug the warp in different directions and pull the warp threads into shapes.

That is another thing to note about these woven patterns; they don’t show until you take the cloth off the loom and increase in strength after washing. So don’t panic if they look uninspiring while under tension on the loom!

Weaving patterns #5 – texture

There are quite a lot of ways to add texture to weaving. Ones I’ve already talked about are:

There are also “finger manipulated weaves” which I’ll cover in another post, but I thought here I’d talk about something you see in some patterns almost as a side effect…

a textured 4 shaft weave
This draft creates a raised texture as well as a colour pattern

So here the weft is skipping sections of warp and making a surface texture as well as a colour pattern. This is a favourite draft for me since I tried it! I was so excited to see the texture on the surface (bonus!).

4shaft draft from handweaving.net

In a serendipitous blooper, I put the colours the wrong way around the first time (the first image above). I got lovely chunky sections of raised colour against a flat, black warp, and that gives the cloth a different character.  Some time I’ll do this draft in all one colour just for the subtle texture.

I suspect a few of these broken twill patterns would yield a similar result, so I’m on the lookout for this in drafts now!