The Scientific Method – 8 Shaft Turned Taquete

(This blog post was originally published November 2, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

Hypothesis: In weaving it is generally the case that 8 harnesses will yield a more complex cloth than 4 harnesses.

Experiment: Weave some Turned Taquete tea towels using an 8 harnesses threading.

Results: Not so much. Here’s the deal. The towels that I wove on 8 harnesses could just as well have been woven on 4.

Turned weaves are a trade-off. You turn a weave, often, for the convenience of being able to weave a complex weave structure which, unturned, would require two shuttles. Turning, you weave the cloth with one shuttle and speed up the process.

Here’s my basic weave draft:

Ok, basic in that I didn’t really use the threading. What I did use here was the tie-up and the treadling. Yup, I only used four treadles and the only difference between Block A and Block B was alternating the tabby treadles (1 and 2).

I used two threading blocks. Block A was threaded using harnesses 1-4, and Block B was threaded using harnesses 5-8. Each block was four inches wide and I used Block A three times and Block B twice. The towels were 20″ wide in the reed.

One tactical error was in the colors I chose and how I used them. You really need high contrast colors for Turned Taquete to work well, and I had gone crazy buying new 10/2 cotton, but the colors I went with, though nice and pretty enough, didn’t have the contrast I needed.

But, I love, love, loved weaving the towels. It was so much fun deciding what the next sequence would be. The texture is wonderful. Still, I could have done them with four harnesses. What do you think? There is so lttle published on Turned Taquete, and maybe I could have figured out a different tie-up or something, but maybe not.

Here is one of the towels posing for its portrait:

And a detail:

If I had threaded this weave on 8 harnesses using a standard summer and winter structure (which is what Turned Taquete basically is) and woven it with one shuttle, would I have ended up with towels that matched my original vision? What the heck, I have tons more 10/2 cotton…

 

Turned Taquete Tea Towels — Terrific!

(This blog post was originally published November 13, 2012 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

The final results are in. The Turned Taquete Tea Towels are finally done, off the loom, washed, hemmed, and ready for their close-up.

Wow! If I do say so myself. The color combinations are fabulous, the structure is never boring. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

To recap: I used 10/2 cotton for both warp and weft, sett 30 ends per inch. The warp was 20″ wide, and (ahem) not nearly long enough. I wove the first towel 30″ (under tension) plus an additional 1 1/2″ on each end for hems. The second towel was not nearly as lucky. I was only able to weave 23″ plus hem allowances on that one. (When will I learn?) So the second towel is really a Tea Square. A new genre. I just made it up.

Off-loom, the measurements were 28 1/8″ x 19″ and 21 1/4″ x 19″ respectively. I hand washed the towels for their first laundering. The colors barely ran at all, so I probably could have put them in the washing machine with a regular cold wash load with no worries. Air dried, and steam pressed while still damp.

Finished measurements are 26 3/4″ x 19″ and 20 1/4″ x 19″ respectively. So, I calculate about 11% shrinkage in length and negligible shrinkage in width. I used mini-cones of 10/2 cotton from Halcyon yarn that I bought in the mid-90’s. This yarn has been more than patient, wouldn’t you say? I’ve only got a few colors left now, and I looked online to see if it’s still available, and it is. And at the best prices you are going to find for mini-cones anywhere! I see more 10/2 cotton in my future….

So, here’s one more picture for the road:

 

Turned Taquete Tea Towels

(This blog post was originally published October 30, 2012 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

Like the alliteration? This blog is practically going to write itself. And the tea towels? They’re practically weaving themselves. Really, this Turned Taquete technique is a real blast. [For the record, turning a weave structure basically means taking a two-shuttle weave and making it a one-shuttle weave. The warp will alternate colors (dark/light) or thickness (thick/thin), and the weft will be one color or thickness and on one shuttle.]

Taquete used to be called Summer and Winter until somewhere in the 90’s (yes kiddies, it’s true) when the weaving magazines suddenly decided the correct term was Taquete (there is supposed to be an accent on the last “e”, but it’s too much trouble to figure out how to do it, so just pretend it’s there 🙂 . And, by extension, Turned Taquete is the same structure as Turned Summer and Winter.

I worked up a sample weave draft in WIF ‘n Proof. Rather than an exact drawdown, this is a visual of the color and structure, from which endless variations could be teased. The threading is just a four harness straight draw. Easy peasy, right? Colors alternate on even and odd harnesses, and then switch to odd and even, creating blocks when woven.

Here is the Treadling sequence and Tie-up. One shuttle is used in the weaving and this is where the “turned” part comes into play. The treadling sequence,

 

1323, 1323 or 1424, 1424

 

is the sequence that would normally be used in the threading of (not turned) Taquete. I changed colors when I changed blocks, and sometimes I didn’t change blocks, I just changed colors. It was all pretty much stream of consciousness weaving. On the reverse side, the color blocks will be the opposite of front side.

Here is a Fabric view of the above threading and treadling:

And here is a complete draft with a detail of the actual fabric superimposed below (I love digital everything):

 

The weaving of these towels has gone super fast. Changing colors produces a mix in each block, multiplying visual interest seemingly infinitely.

Here is another shot of the loom:

I am using a temple to weave the towels, and I love that the color goes with the weaving project.

The warp is 10/2 cotton, sett 30 epi. The width in the reed is 20″ and I’m weaving each towel 30″ plus extra for hems. I’ve got one done, and one to go. Next project I’m going to make an eight harness draft, and see what I can do about combining blocks in the design.

 

 

My Left Pinkie

(This blog post was originally published September 11, 2012 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

The weaving projects chez moi have been far between. The last one, the diversified plain weave version of a crackle design, came off the loom in June. I was all set to do something completely different.

In early summer I was reading Weaving Today, and it seems the Handwoven folks had just put together an e-book compilation of projects using 10/2 cotton. I thought, just the ticket! I have a bunch of mini-cones of 10/2 cotton that I acquired in the, uh, mid-90’s. (They don’t go bad. Really.) So I bought it and downloaded it to my iPad. I liked the Turned Taquete Tea Towels project and I’ve seen other towels in the same technique, so I went ahead and wound a warp for a couple towels. Starting small.

But. The warp was going to be 20″ wide, and my inclination was to go ahead and order a temple to keep the weaving at an even width while weaving. I remember struggling with drawing-in cotton warps in years gone by, and really didn’t want to deal with those kind of problems any more. So I did order the temple, which is a whole other saga, and took a month+ to be delivered in one piece and in a box that didn’t fly open in transit. (They know who they are.)

Turned Taquete Warp

So now it’s the end of July, and HOT. My sister is visiting, and we are suffering in 100+ heat. My studio is the sun room, on the south side of the house, and with no air conditioning. ‘Nuff said. No loom work going on then.

In mid-August the husband and I traveled to California for 12 days. On Day 5 I stumbled on stairs, going down to use the bathroom, and whacked my left hand on the bannister. I was so sleepy that I didn’t notice pain until I was sitting down and, you know…

I thought my pinkie was sprained. Really. It swelled, bruised up, but wasn’t really immobilizing. I could still function and attend fun vacation-type events. When I got back home, I scheduled a doctor visit as soon as I could, and got it x-rayed. Yup.

Fractured.

Turned Taquete Warp and Pinkie

So what you see here is the total progress I’ve made threading this warp through the reed. I have threaded 3 bouts out of 5. Each bout has 120 threads and the grand total is 600. Hovering in blurry close-up is my hand, with my pinkie and 4th finger splinted together. I am in the 3rd week of 4 weeks of splinting. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen after that. I hope, fervently, that I can take it off for good and get some hand therapy for a while.

And don’t get me started about how much golf I’m missing.

 

 

Circles 2.0: Color

So this Turned Taquete Circles draft is enjoying some further refinement, thanks to another blog reader. The tie-up that Peg provided (see previous post) had some four-thread floats, which were not hugely problematic. In fact, Peg is weaving scarfs using that tie-up as I write! But with that tie-up color order in warp and weft became touchy, and could emphasize those floats in at least one scenario. Thus, LaJean worked with the tie-up some more and came up with a draft with the longest floats being only three threads.
Well done! Here is LaJean’s version:
Readers who request the wif for this design will now get the new and improved version. If you have Peg’s version, no worries, just adjust the tie-up a bit and we’re all good.
Now, the following is a short demonstration how color order in Turned Taquete can make a difference. The first graphic is all structure and no color. White warp and white weft. You might be able to see the circles if you have the eyes of an eagle, but you probably don’t.
This second graphic reveals the circles by the addition of a light gray alternating with white in the warp. White weft. Very subtle.
Now changing out light gray for black in the warp really shows those circles. You could weave a scarf alternating a light neutral and a darker handpainted warp, with the same neutral in the weft.

 

This graphic shows the difference changing the warp color order makes. Instead of white/black, we have black/white.

This has the same warp color order, but changing the weft to black. Very dramatic.

 

Now, add color. Suddenly, the variations are infinite. The Fiberworks program has a nifty tool that lets you substitute colors pretty quickly, so if you don’t like one combination, there are many more to try.

 

Peg recommends shortening the treadling sequence on treadle 7 so that the circles will be more round. That was a freebie! 😉

 

Errata, Mea Culpa, Etc.

Mea culpa, mea culpa…
In my last blog post, I shared my circles design, which I was so proud of. I worked and worked to get the circles to conform to my 8 harness limits, and then I convinced them that indeed they could be Turned Taquete. I worked with not one but two weaving software programs, going back and forth, and figuring it out. I thought I had it!
And mostly I did, except for some issues with floats. In the weft. Which you have to check for.
Luckily, someone did, just not me! Intrepid weaver and blogger Peg Cherre who weaves and share her weaving in the blog Weaving a Gem of a Life (check it out!) noticed floats. And not just a few, but a lot! Some as long as 19 threads!
So here is the new and improved design. Peg redid the tie-up, which I had been uneasy about all along, and tweaked the treadling here and there. And here it is:
 
I have scarf plans and dishtowel plans for this draft, but am still mulling over colors, and fibers, etc.
If anyone would like a copy of the wif file, contact me in comments with your email address. And I promise to do several more mea culpas….
 
 

 

Around and Around in Circles

I like things with circles. This is vase is a case in point, and it had me at the dots. (The rest of it is pretty good, too. Unknown student artist from Iowa State University, c. 2003.) And don't get me started about stripes!

This scarf, found in a tiny store in Paris, is another example. I blogged the story of it here. I loved all the variations of circles in a woven fabric. I just had to bring it home with me.

I have an on again, off again obsession with weaving circles, made all the more of an obsession by the fact of my limitation of 8 harnesses. If I had 32, 24, or even 16 harnesses, the difficulty in designing for circles would be much less. But for now, I only have the one loom, and I am stuck. I designed a scarf in Diversified Plain Weave for Handwoven Magazine, May/June 2013. And it started from this graphic:

That graphic became this profile draft:

And then it beame this color profile draft:

And then it became this scarf on the loom:

At the time I played with complicating the design by moving the circles into two repeating offset rows. To get to that, the profile draft increased to 8 blocks. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of weave structures that I could substitute into that profile draft that would make an interesting, clean rendering of it, given my 8 harness limitation. Crackle Weave came close, but no cigar. I wanted to try Turned Taquete, and I gave it the old college try, but I soon realized that the way these circles are positioned was not working for me.

,
So I tried positioning the circles farther apart. This is the profile draft Ifinally came up with. The cirlces are four blocks each, and I had to tweek the tie-up until I got it to work.
Since moving, I have upgraded my computer and software considerably. I purchased a Macbook Pro and installed Fiberworks PCW (new to me) and upgraded my Pixeloom. So now I have dueling weaving software and they don't do everything equally. I tried echo theadings on both programs, and I was much more satisfied with the result from Pixeloom. Just sayin'.
Here is the final Turned Taquete Circles drawdown. It took a LOT of trial and error and tweeking, but I finally did it. So what shall I weave?

 

Turned Taquete: Next Generation

Over the years I've had several projects published, mostly by Interweave Press. My earliest project was in 1984 when I had two dishtowels accepted for the Design Collection series. I was soon to start an MA program in Craft Design at Iowa State University and I was beyond excited! The next two were a woolen scarf for another Design Collection and, sometime in the 90's, a necktie with palm trees in Theo Moorman technique that was actually in a Handwoven magazine. (BTW, all of my magazines and books are in storage right now so I can't actually check dates or anything.)

After a huge block of time, decades, I was invited to submit a project for a scarf in Diversified Plain Weave to Handwoven and wrote about it here. The project was a 6-block houndstooth pattern woven using Diversified Plain Weave (DPW for short) for the structure. The next year I submitted another DPW project for Handwoven's color themed issue, this time the concept being woven circles (a neat trick using only 6 blocks I might add).

This attention is fun, but in the back of my mind, I always wonder who (if anyone) ever actually weaves these projects. Okay, show of hands: how many of you have actually woven the Circles Scarf????

Well.

Fast forward to … 2015. I wrote in this blog about a Turned Taquete scarf that I designed from a pattern called Jitterbug.

It was my first attempt at using the book Weaving with Echo and Iris. That design was both fun and very challenging. I was so happy when I finally got it right and wove it and shared it in this blog.

And it didn't go unnoticed! Denise Kovnat, who is in the Rochester, NY area, and writes the blog Random Acts of Color, asked my permission for one of her students to use my design in a workshop she taught at MAFA in Pennsylvania. Of course I said yes! And then recently she sent me an image of the finished piece that her student wove. And. Oh. My. God. Take a look at this:

 

 

This scarf was woven by Tina Kiethas and it won an award! Says Tina: “The scarf was in the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers “Celebration of Fibers” show, and it won the Katherine Wellman Memorial Award for imaginative weaving incorporating design, color, and texture.” She hopes her piece will inspire others to try Turned Taquete.

I am so happy for Tina, and so proud that she used my design for her weaving. Well done!

 

Stashbuster Turned Taquete Towels

I am slowly cleaning out my studio, going through my yarn, some of which has been on the shelves for literally more than a decade. We plan to pull up stakes next year and move to be near the grandchildren (yay!), and moving every last little cone of yarn doesn’t really make sense. To that end, I decided to finish up all the mini-cones of 10/2 cotton that I bought in the 90’s in a Turned Taquete Dishtowel warp. I supplemented judiciously with newer 10/2 cotton that I bought last year, but I did it! I can cross one more thing off my inventory list.

I designed a very simple Turned Taquete warp:

This is my standard straight draw threading. I alternated dark/light threads for the first block, then alternated light/dark for the next. The third block is back to dark/light. You can do that as many times as you want to get the width that you want. For the treadling, I go 1314 with a color, then I might switch to 2324 for another color, but you don’t have to. You could treadle 1314 for the whole towel, and just change colors without changing the treadling at all. Easy peasy.

For blogging purposes I took some informal iPad photos of the towels before they are cut apart and wet finished.

This is Destash Towel #1:

On all of these I was aiming for 1″ checks, but I wove them 1 1/4″ or so to allow for shrinkage. I had six colors on bobbins in a rotation that I repeated 4 times. My notes are bad on this one, but I think I alternated 1314, then 2324.

This is Destash Towel #2:

For this one I again used six colors in rotation. I wove each color on 1314, then 2324. I still ended up with 24 checks, but this time I would have 2 repeats of the rotation.

This is Destash Towel #3:

This one was more complicated, using 5 colors in rotation, but alternating them like this:

[color] a on 1314, [color] b on 2324, [color] a on 1314, [color] b on 2324

[color] c on 2324, [color] b on 1314, [color] c on 2324, [color] b on 1314

[color] c on 1314, [color] d on 2324, [color] c on 1314, [color] d on 2324

[color] e on 2324, [color] d on 1314, [color] e on 2324, [color] d on 1314

[color] e on 1314, [color] a on 2324, [color] e on 1314, [color] a on 2324

[color] b on 2324, [color] a on 1314, [color] b on 2324, [color] a on 1314

I was starting to do anything to keep the interest up….

This is Destash Towel #4:

Desperate to finish at this point. I just treadled 1314 for the whole towel, using 6 colors in rotation, repeated 4 times.

Destash Towel #5:

Oops, I had enough warp to weave another half of a towel, and save it for myself. It’s kind of a tradition now.

I treadled 2324 with just one color, going for the stripes.

Now I am moving on to all those odds and ends of 6 ply rayon for a stashbuster rayon scarf…

 

Jitterbug and Turned Taquete: Step By Step

I’ve always been intrigued with this design.

I found it in the book A Handweaver’s Source Book: A Selection of 146 Patterns from the Laura M. Allen Collection, edited by Marguerite Porter Davison. It is the first pattern in the book, appearing on page 12. This pattern collection differs from most in that the draft is given in a shortened version and it is assumed that the weaver will be able to derive a useable draft from the information given. Certain conventions apply: a standard twill tie-up and tromp as writ treadling.

Meanwhile, I have been studying Marian Stubenitsky’s Weaving with Echo and Iris. I love the designs in this book, and I wanted to weave them, but I also wanted to understand how to take a profile draft all the way to a Turned Taquete draft. Not easy. Not intuitive. Also, when I try to get my head around network drafting, which Stubenitsky relies on a lot, my eyes roll up in my head, and I reach for a glass of wine.

In this post I will take you through the steps that (I hope) will get any weaver from a four harness pattern draft to an eight harness Turned Taquete fabric. (Disclaimer: I’ve only done the one design, so this process is only for the bravest of the brave. Expect setbacks. But persevere.)

First Step: Take the pattern and write it as a four block profile draft. Treadling is tromp as writ.

Second Step: Rewrite the four block draft as eight blocks. (You will need eight blocks to translate to eight shafts in order to interleave the threading.) Treadling is still tromp as writ.

Here is the eight-block threading, also known as the Design Line:

 

In her book, Stubenitsky devotes a huge amount of space to four-color threadings, but I was more interested in two-color threadings. I zeroed in on interleaved threadings that can be woven as Turned Taquete, see pages 195-199. Once the eight block Design Line is established, the next step in the book is to take the line and pair each end on a 1/1 network. Since I don’t do Network Drafting, I prefer to just say, Pair each end with its up or down partner without increasing the total number of ends. As I see it, this pairing of ends in the Design Line will create more of a flow in the design, easing the blockiness of it.

So this is the Third Step and this is what that draft looks like:

 

Notice that the tie-up is now 4/4 and the treadling is still tromp as writ. Here is the threading:

 

The next step is to interleave the paired threading at an interval of your choice. I decided on an interval of 4, but you could do 3. This is why we haviing weaving software. I went to Threading, Interleave, and chose my interval, and then voila.

Fourth Step:

 

 

Now the number of warp ends has doubled, and has two alternating colors. Later I will change the black and gray to aqua and magenta. The weft will be lavender.
Fifth Step:
Adding tabby treadles to the tie-up (10 treadles are neceessary here) and inserting tabby shots to the treadling draft. One repeat of the threading is 264 warp ends. One repeat of the treadling is 264 weft shots. I doubled the threading to 528 ends. One, because you really need to do that to get the full impact of the design, and two, because my warp was sett at 56 epi and I wanted more than four inches in width. Here is the treadling draft and tie-up:
This color draft shows the final result.
I was a bundle of nerves getting the warp on the loom and starting to weave. The warp is 20/2 tencel sett at 56 epi, and it took forever to thread the heddles. The tencel itself is a joy to work with and it wound on just fine. I wove a few inches and was so overjoyed that it actually worked that I forgot that I was weaving top to bottom instead of bottom to top. In addition, I am weaving the back as the front. Yikes!
I threaded the warp colors magenta/aqua instead of aqua/magenta. Turns out that makes a difference ; – )
A few photos:

 

I’m using 20/2 tencel as the weft, but I’ve been reading about projects with 30/2 tencel or 60/2 silk as weft. If I had used a finer weft, the pattern motif would weave with less length. I will wait and see what the final result looks like once off the loom and washed and pressed. That 30/2 tencel is kind of hard to find, and silk is really not in my budget.

I’ve got enough warp for a second scarf, and I will try a different color weft instead of lavender for that one. Meanwhile, back to the loom!