But the treadlings?

Regardless of the loom type(s) used – all fabrics must have a wefting order.
All the “recipes” have a tie-up given, so, obviously, they are meant for a treadle loom.

But where are the treadling orders? Or: when no treadling order is given, which is the “obvious” choice?
To me, nowadays, tromp-as-writ is what I first try – but would it have been, 30 years ago? Probably not. And I’m not (was not) alone in this: in several (modern) texts it says “if the treadling order is not given, it is always a straight order”.

Hm – since when?

This is another of the handwritten drafts:

So – what happens if this gets treadled straight?
(I know which version I would prefer, anyway...)

So, again, I asked my guildmates. They were all, at first, convinced that “straight” is the way to go, if no order is given. Until... vivid discussion followed. After a while, the prevailing ideas were that, for 4-shaft threadings the treadlings were probably straight, but for more shafts, and/or “complicated” threadings tromp-as-writ was probably where to start.

But, again: this is now.

Earlier this year, I was looking into Hulda Peters Vävbok, printed in 1925 – a slim volume with 90 threadings/tie-ups, but nearly no treadlings. (That resulted in an article on my website – found here) Many of her treadlings were tromp-as-writ, or slightly modified, without mentioning that “little” fact.
It turns out that many (most?) old-ish “pattern books” that I have lack treadlings, but most “real” books (hardbound and more pages) include them.
Isn’t that odd?
Especially as the older (pre-1900) books I have usually have treadlings...


Thoughts about looms

No weaving going on hereabouts, but lots of weaving-related tinking.
I have spent some time deciphering old-ish handwritten drafts. This has made me wonder about lots of things...

One of them is: can we draw any conclusions about looms used from drafts/tie-up used?

The most standard of all Swedish looms is the 4-shaft counterbalance, with one pulley and two horses (on each side of the loom, of course!). (Horses - in Swedish those are often called "nicke-pinnar", "nodding dowels". I don't know any other English word than horse - pls help?) Lamms have been used for a relatively long time. No lamms did not necessarily mean "direct tie-up" - it was pefectly possible to tie more than one shaft to one treadle. To prevent the shafts from moving sideways, one could use a ring of some sort (a piece of cow's horn, it says in one book) to keep the treadle cords together.

Countermarches were is use in the early 1800s, but how common were they?

The most common (I think) way to add more shafts was to use "lunor" - ie two-level pulleys (left) or dräll-pulleys:

From all the extras that came with my loom I think that, maybe, a 3-level pulley was used with horses, thus giving the loom a capacity to use 12 shafts, like this:

(Seen from the side: 2 shafts connected by horses to one cord that goes over the pulley and down on the other side - thus 6 shafts on the back of the pulley-contraption, 6 (not pictured) in front of it)

I have used such a set-up a couple of times, and it is... - well, let's say it can be done, but it takes lots of patience to get the whole thing balanced. However, I fully inderstand why one can prefer to use dräll pulleys (or countermarche) instead.
Dräll pulleys have one drawback: the tie-up has to be on opposites: what goes down in the one end must come up in the other:

So: can I draw any conclusions as to the type of loom was used, when I find several 8-shaft "not-opposite" tieups in one manuscript? As the majority of weaves are 4-shaft and of many different types, I'm not seeing the legacy of a specialist weaver (I think). There are a couple of opposite tie-ups, and as many not-opposites.
Am I seeing a weaver with lots of patience, or one with a countermarche? (From all the extras that came with my loom: maybe I'm seeing a weaver with a loom that is on its way to be upgraded?)

I asked my guildmates, some of whom have learned to weave 50 years ago, (then) using their (grand-)mother's loom. They all believed in the two-or-more-level pulleys, possibly with elastics to help balancing.

Any thoughts?


Double the fun?

When reading Andrew's musings about double layers and colour, I remembered some ideas I had many years ago. I think I did weave samples, but I can't find them - so maybe I never did?

Anyway, as you may have noticed, I like playing with colour... :) The basic idea was to have two separate layers, one colour per layer, and then slowly changing the appearence of the colours, and in the end getting the the opposite.

So I started to play.... here are some ideas:

These are threaded on 8 shafts, with every other end blue, the other red. The weft order is the same, but, as the weaving progresses, the wefts not always alternate in the layers.
Both start with bringing one end of the other colour to the top, then one pick, next part takes 2 ends to the top etc. Which ends/pick are brought up differs in the two examples. (And yes, I think it would be better with less contrast - gold and yellow, perhaps?) - click to enlarge:

Another approach: here, just the warps that change place - threaded on 16 shafts.
To the left (but needs, obviously, some more work) "going both ways", to the right are both faces of the first half.

(The left needed a lot more contrast to even show at this size...)

Hmmm - perhaps: two warp colours, but only one weft? Would make it a tube, of sorts - but that would, perhaps, make it more useable? Hmm... perhaps I should try it IRW (In Real Weave) too?



It has happened again. It has been quite a long time, but now it has happened twice in one month.

I am, as you know, a little old lady having a small business (and a weavery, to boot) out in the rural back-and-beyond.
Now and again, the "state" (or county, or the local something-or-other, or, sometimes, EU) decides to spend some money "helping" such small businesses. Especially if owned by women.
So they device some courses, especially tailored to little old ladies out in the boondocks. "Hmmm – what is it they really really need? Hmmm... ah, of course: they need to be "brought into the 21st century" – let’s teach them how to use a computer. Well, that is, perhaps, a bit too ambitious... but we can teach them how to use a small portion of it: e-mail!"

I guess this is (sort of) ok. (I think I know about 2 little old ladies that do not use e-mail, after all.) However: the invitation to such classes is sent out ... by e-mail.
Thus: in the last month I have had two different e-mails inviting me to a class in how to use e-mail. (And they want me to pay for them, too.)

What to do? Laugh, cry or perhaps start spamming all organisations doing things like that? Just sigh? I find it extremely insulting to get invitations sent out like that.

(But I do remember, after the hurricane, when all 'phone lines had come down. After a couple of weeks the 'phone company started telephoning their customers, to see if their 'phones were working. We had no 'phone for 6 weeks, that time. And the company did not want to compensate us, as we had not ('phoned) to tell them we had problems... Same thinking?)

As I am so very computer savvy (I may have worked computers before some of the "teachers" were born - ), here is a picture, too:


Seersucker mk II

or, the quill buster.

By mistake I warped one turn of the mill less than I thought, for the Halloweave project, so there wasn’t enough warp to make a second shawl.

I decided to use the thrums to see if there was a difference in the “seersucker-ing” if I used twill for the flat parts (here the brown stripes), and to use up as many left-over quills of cotton 16/2 as I had patience to. This would then also become a colour gamp of sorts.

To begin with, I meant to use a broken twill, but when I sat under the loom I completely forgot – and did not bother changing from the straight twill I had tied up for...
(Yes, I could have treadled it, but then I would have had to concentrate – I’m all for doing things the easy way)

I ended up with 11 weft stripes of different colours, all different lengths. Here it is, true-ish colours but out of focus:

Some of the weft colours used:

So, did the seersuckering differ any? Hard to tell:
The difference, if there is any, isn’t big enough to bother with, in my opinion.

And here is the “original”, draped on a dress form:


The too short reed

Laura describes (at Weaving a life) what can happen if you don’t comcentrate, and try to use a reed that is too short for your loom.
When I got my AVL, they had given me another reed tahn what I would have liked (confusion between imperial and metric, no doubt). They would be happy to send me another, but I was eaget to start weaving (well, to start trying to understand this loom, anyway). So I went to the nearest weaving shop to get another, as my old reeds were too narrow to use with a fly-shuttle.
I had seen that the AVL reed was taller than the “normal” (10 cm) reeds, but I did not reflect on tha fact. Home I came, with a “normal” (10 cm) reed in the correct width – proceeded with dressing the loom, threading, sleying the new reed – and could not put the beater top on, as the reed was too short.
What to do? Send for another reed, wait for a week.... ? Or try to fix it?
I bought a piece of aliminum profile, as near to the thickness of the reed sides as possible, and a piece of wood that would slot into the beater top. Glued them together, put the contraption in. It worked, but got a somewhat squishy beat (as the reed could move a bit in the alu profile). So I got some self-adhesive foam (for lining windows to stop draughts) – and I am still using that reed when needed.
(However, when getting new reeds for the AVL I always order 12,5-cm tall, if possible)

Lined with foam:

Slots into beater top:


My ”Halloweave”

Over at Weavolution there has been a fun event going for the month of October.

I “signed up” for a dare: to try the seersucker method that Cathie posted some time ago.

I had lots of other things to do, but, at the last moment, I managed to get it done!

On the Friday I dressed the loom.

On the Saturday I wove it (and fringed it)
(which, considering what I also did yesterday, was a bit of a feat)

and today, after wet finishing, tumbling and some press it looks like this:

As the method called for the main warp to be tight, the “seering” (or is that the “sucking” ;-) ?) warp(s) to have a lighter tension, I decided to do 3 stripes, and to tension them differently. As I got confused with the math, I ended up with approx the same tension (weight/end) for the green and the taupe stripes, less for the gold stripe.
I cranked up the tension on the brown warp as high as I could.
(All warps are cotton – the brown is 16/2 unmerc, the coloured is 20/2 merc. All are set at 12 ends per centimeter. The weft is an unmerc cotton 16/2, and the whole thing is slightly warp-emphasis - I think I had approx 8 picks/cm)

Just for the threading, I had wound the stripes on the second beam, meaning to take them all off later, to hang freely. Then it dawned on me: I could let them form loops at the back, hang the weights in the loops – it would make advancing the warp easier, too!

To begin with, I had too little weight on the stripes – after several skips I added to all three!

When weaving, the different tension did show up only when I advanced the warp. When cut off, there was just a hint of “something” in the stripes (see picture above).
So: my hope was the wet finishing would take care of the sucking... and it did. Some.

I had hoped the difference would be greater – or, I should say the visual difference. The real difference is there alright:

Try as I might, I can't get a good photo of the shawl (or "not-quite-rebozo") draped, the colours don't want to cooperate. But there are tendencies towards iridescence in both stripes and main part - maybe another day.

But there is some warp left over, maybe I should try with twill in the brown parts...


Let there be light!

For the longest time I have wondered why light reflectors aren’t incorporated into winter clothing. I have sewn on bands of reflecting material, I have embroidered with reflecting thread. I have experimented with needle weaving reflecting thread into existing garments – here I am, on a winter’s night, on the road outside my home (click to enlarge):

I have also experimented with using that “yarn” (really a narrow strip of PVC plastic, coated with reflecting material) to weave with – pictures without and with flash (pictures taken at the same time):

Before the yardage was made into coats, it was in a yardage exhibition at Convergence – it must have been ’04, I think. It was titled “nightly rainbow”. Here is a detail – top is the reverse (no flash), bottom the right side (flash), both on loom:

Basically, it is a waffle weave with the coloured and the reflecting ends placed so as to be on the reverse side most of the time.

Now, I have just completed another reflecting experiment. This time I used a reflecting thread made to use for machine embroidery. I chose that to see what hand the fabric would have if it was used throughout (together with a woolen warp and weft).
First I tried it just “doubled”, but didn’t like the result.

So... the next step doesn’t really lend itself to “production”: I tried plying it with the weft yarn. Of course (I knew it, but hoped I was wrong) the weft yarn became totally unruly... which meant I had to first unply, then re-ply the weft yarn. It worked, but for production? No...! Maybe I can talk some small spinning mill into making it for me?

However, with a coat/jacket like this, one would not have to worry about being invisible!

(Yes, it has been wet finished, and it handles quite ok. But it will take long before I will try to make a longer yardage)


Another trip

to another Big City (well – the biggest one we have, here, anyway): Stockholm.
The purpose for my trip was to discuss the changing of the by-laws for Riksföreningen för handvävning – and discuss we did! Among other things we discussed whether we (the assoc) should spread knowledge about the cultural history or just the history of weaving. Myself, I think that other aspects of the history of weaving are as important (the importance of weaving for economic purposes, for instance) as are the cultural aspects. (And I won! That is, I wasn’t alone in my opinion even from the beginning – so I’ve better write WE won.)

After the conference, we all went to see an exhibition: Royal Vintage at Livrustkammaren.
Lots of draped dresses:

The last one is not vintage - it is "inspired" by the exhibition.
(yes, it was ok to take photographs)

And... the waterspout:

There is another interesting exhibition in Stockholm now, but I missed that. (Hope to see it later.) It is at Hallwylska palatset – and here are more photos.
It would have been very interesting to see these clothes, especially as I have the rest of the (wool) yarns... my friend and I bought the left-over stock (close to 1500 kg, IIRC) many years ago, and I still have some of it. (I remember, when we came home, we counted to something like 120 different clours, or I should say nuances. Enough to sample “unlikely” colour combinations, anyway. And so many of the “unlikely” combos have turned out great!)
The yarn has figured on this blog from time to time – for instance here, but also here.
I think all of my vadmal was woven with this yarn (not all fabric in the pictures are mine – but both the brightest green and the red are), also the blankets here. And all the V-shawls, and... and, in fact, most of the wool fabric I have made since I bought the yarn!


London: some cultural observations

The view from my hotel room:

The hotel shall remain nameless, but the price was right...

This time I ventured into (by me) unchartered territory, which meant I had to occasionally consult the map. So... on which (obviously big) road was I? All the crossing (small and narrow) roads had signs - but the big did not. It appears that thoroughfares generally are signed at both ends, but not in the middle. Quite confusing, if one comes up from the underground, in the middle of the (long) road.
Common sights:

Not very common sight:

Also, there are often no numbers on the houses. Thus, I was looking for the Textile and Fashion museum. I walked, and walked, and walked... until I gave up and found a place to ask (it was Sunday). It turned out that I was about 100 numbers past. I turned around, and suddenly I was at #60 (I wanted 83). Turned again. I finally found a small(ish) door, with a small(ish) print (maybe all of 1" high) saying Textile and fashion museum... closed on Sundays (and Mondays).

Well, the weather was nice, so I went to Tate modern instead. The spoor of the (in)famous crack can still be seen:

(and to continue the tradition - here is a small water spout, Tate model:)

Later that afternoon - a sight to be seen only in London?

As it is such a good idea, they can have a link, too: pedibus.

London: fibres, fabrics and...

fancy dress (NO! But how to allitterate? F...f... fanatics? no, that's even worse... ah: 'ficionados, that will do it!)
So: London: fibres, fabrics and 'ficionados.

Fibres: for the first time, I visited Handweaver's studio, a place full of fibres

"ordinary" yarns, more unusual yarns

glitter yarns

There are also spinning tools, looms, books, magazines... However, having baggage restrictions, I didn't buy much.

Fabrics: there is a small stretch of road having more fabric shops than anywhere else I have ever seen, on Goldhawk road (between Shepherd's bush market and the common). Silks, silks, silks, worsteds, fancy fabrics, fashion fabrics... Did I mention silks? (To make it even better, there is also a pub called The stinging nettle - not quite fibres, but almost...)

As this whole block is threatened with demolition, here are many pictures:

(Should you happen to pass by in the near future, please go in and sign the petition!!!)

'ficionados: as my specific reason for going to London was the Congregation of the Burgon Society, here are a couple of pictures: