A new tack

I wasn’t pleased with the streaking in the background of the phoenixes – which you can see pretty clearly in the photo below:

turned summer and winter, showing streaking on left side

turned summer and winter, showing streaking on left side

After some discussion on WeaveTech and with Bonnie Inouye, I realized that the streaks would be difficult to eliminate, though (if the tension were perfectly even) I might be able to get it to happen randomly instead of on just one side. I could also have added “spots” in the background to break up the streaks (they mostly appear when there are large sections of background), but I didn’t want to spoil the contrast between phoenixes and background.

What to do?

I thought for awhile about what I could do on that threading, since I didn’t want to rethread unless absolutely necessary. Eventually it dawned on me that I could do a twill combined with double weave! So I dug through Marg Coe’s Fit 2 Be Tied and found the right pattern presets for twill and double weave. These were designed for a double two-tie threading, and I had a single two-tie threading, but I figured that would give me half basketweave on one side of the double weave, plain weave on the other, and a reversing twill in the background. All those were stable enough to work with.

So I revamped my draft and wove this:

black weft double weave - colored phoenixes

black weft double weave - black phoenixes

The very bottom section is the leftover turned summer and winter – if you look closely you can see the streaking. The second-from-bottom was my first attempt at the double weave/reversing twill – it came out rather squat and the phoenixes were hard to see, so for my next attempt, I increased the length of the phoenixes by 50% and changed to a black weft.

I have mixed feelings about this sample – the black makes the phoenixes rather dull in the front side and the black phoenixes are stark (and a little depressing?) on the reverse side. I could make brighter phoenixes by weaving with two shuttles, one black and one scarlet, but considering that there are 400 picks in each phoenix, I should live so long as to complete an entire scarf! So I am thinking that a reddish brown weft might be worth experimenting with.

Anyway, the sample came through the wet-finishing reasonably well, so I’ll continue to experiment with this structure. (I had worried that the double weave sections might collapse – the half basketweave portions are a bit sleazy and the weft migrated a bit, but I can live with that.) The next section of warp has a scarlet ground warp and a bright yellow pattern warp – meant for experimenting with an airbrushed or stenciled background, to give the impression of a fiery inferno. Of course, that means I need to learn to airbrush first…and get myself an air compressor, so I can actually use the airbrush I bought!

Or, I could just dab on paint with stencils. I think I will try it both ways.

First, however, there is another workshop to teach! I’m going down to Carmel this weekend, to teach “Exploring the Design Process” again. I’ve tweaked the workshop a bit since last weekend, so looking forward to seeing how it “runs”.

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