I am now in the section of Bonnie’s book where one starts playing in the liftplan. I’ve discovered that Photoshop is a great tool for this – you start out with a file 64 pixels wide (or however wide you want your lines to be drawn), doodle with the brush tool, and then cut and paste, superimposing until you have a pad 16 pixels wide (which is as wide as I can “draw” since I have 16 shafts on the loom). Then you take the file and transfer it to the weaving software, and doodle around with it some more until you have something that’s weavable. Fun, albeit time-consuming. So far I’ve done a relatively simple set of curves, but am rapidly moving on to more complex designs.
What is interesting here (for the non-technical weaver) is that it is possible to design in the liftplan using a variety of textures and tones. Plainweave (over-under, over-under, etc.) produces a half-tone that is also thinner than a twill weave. A 3/1 twill (which has 3 warp threads showing for every weft thread) is a light/dark shade (depending on whether your warp is dark or light), and a 1/3 twill (the reverse – three weft threads showing for every warp thread) is the reverse. So you see, you can get dark, gray, or light colors depending on what weave structure you use. I’m about to play with this, so far it’s just been black-and-white. Neat stuff!
There are other ways of doing cool visual stuff. You can use basketweave, which is 2 pixel squares (white/white/black/black) and gives you a bolder look. You can probably also use satin weaves or other types of weave to give you other looks, but here I’m just speculating. (Most of these insights, by the way, are not my own but out of Bonnie’s book, which I highly recommend.)
You can also get furrows (textural, not visual) if you alternate a thin weave
with a thick one, i.e. plainweave against twill. Probably other textural effects, too.
Anyway, I have now pulled out my copy of The Woven Pixel and am happily learning how to use Photoshop for weaving. I figure a slight excursion into Photoshop is well worth the time and effort, not to mention being FUN!!