The shadowy world of colour and weave

I posted a while back about how you can make patterns when weaving, with nothing more than plain weave and alternating colours in your warp and/or weft, but I gotta say doing it was just a ridiculous amount of fun.

Log cabin was my starting point for the technique called “colour and weave”, where you alternate warp and weft thread colours in a pattern, so when you weave the result is a particular effect. This was weaving heaven! Why? Because the pattern forms on the loom before your eyes.

image of log cabin pattern showing one block of the pattern on the loo
Even with just one pattern block you can see the optical illusion
finished log cabin scarf
Finished scarf

For log cabin you alternate your threads in a pattern of dark-light-dark-light-dark-light and then light-dark-light-dark-light-dark. You can change the size of each block by changing how many times you alternate between dark and light before reversing the order. In my scarf, I used blocks of 6 threads.

I chose B&W for this scarf because the stronger the contrast between the light and dark threads, the more the pattern pops out.

There is a whole class of colour and weave that is given the lovely title of “shadow weave”. Again these are patterns where you alternate colours. and in shadow weave it’s usually a single thread alternation.

Just take a look online for images of these patterns and you’ll find a remarkable range of variation in shadow weave and the other colour and weave effects.

It’s worth noting that some colour and weave effects are done not with plain weave, but with twill – which is the other main weave structure. I’ll come back to those some other time, because it is a big area, just on its own.

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