Summer Thoughts

My experiments with woven text continue. I wound a warp of 6/2 unmercerized cotton and tied on to the previous warp of 8/2 unmercerized. The 6/2 is noticeably coarser feeling and produced thicker and heavier towels. The weaving proceeded slowly but uneventfully (or so I thought!). I used the fonts that I created from embroidery stitch patterns and they are definitely more readable that the Photoshop fonts.

Below you see the weaving draft for “iowaweaver”, both front and back views.

Below is a quick snap of the “iowaweaver” towel. I was still working out how to space the words in the towel and it ended up longer than I would normally have woven. The letters have issues, but I can live with them. The real problem emerged when I realized that I had three different instances of pulling the wrong lever for a particular pick. This resulted in floats across the back. Longer than I want, but still livable for my personal stash of towels.

Here’s the clue: Below, I drew around one of the places where the mistake occurs. If I had been paying better attention, I would have noticed that the broken twill had turned into a straight twill. Whoops. Also, the bottom of the E was not quite right.

Looking at the draft at the top of this post, we can see that there is nothing wrong with the draft. It wasn’t that. It was me. I wove this little piece at the end of the warp, and I did manage not to make any errors. So it can be done.

I use iWeaveIt on an iPad set up next to my Ashford table loom. I use it when threading with the Threading Tracker and I use it when weaving with the Treadle Tracker. I have found this program to be quite handy, but when I misread the line of levers I am supposed to be pulling, it can be a problem. I briefly (briefly!) thought about the Tempo Treadle. The Tempo Treadle connects to the levers or treadles on a loom with magnets and sends signals to a little box mounted on top of the loom. When you pull the wrong lever, it apparently beeps at you to tell you have made a goof. Then I looked at the price of it for a 16 harness Ashford and …. well.

I’d like to hear from anyone who uses the Tempo Treadle with a table loom and if they love it. It might make me change my mind, but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I am still thinking of different ways I can use text in weaving, and wondering if this technique is really that useful, or merely a parlor trick that won’t stand the test of time. I think I am going to try placemats out of 5/2 cotton next, sett at 20 epi. here is the design I am thinking of:

The draft on the left is 3/1 broken twill and is the structure that I have used so far for my first towel projects. The draft on the right is 3/1 straight twill. It’s my hope that if I go with the straight twill I won’t have any trouble noticing a mistake in treadling.

Buckle up!

Weaving Words

Just when I thought I might never stop geeking out on woven circles, along comes a new obsession. This one is harder to get my head around. It is imprecise. It takes a lot of technical deep diving. It hardly ever turns out the way I picture it. But it is so intriguing that I can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Weaving words.

Here is the drawdown for my first weaving since back surgery. Mind you, I haven’t even wound the warp yet. It has taken me pretty much the entire recuperation month to get this far. But soon, I will be winding a warp for towels on my 16 shaft Ashford. You are looking at front and back, upside down:

I got inspired for this when I was going through the tutorials in Alice Schlein’s book The Liftplan Connection: Designing for Dobby Looms with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Along with all the other chapters (including one one circles!), she has a chapter on weaving text. Granted, this technique works better with 24 and 32 harnesses, but it is still possible with 16.

Without going into too much technical stuff, it is necessary to have installed a set of pattern presets in Photoshop. Working with layers, the presets are copied into designs on a grid, foreground and background. When finished, the grid represents a liftplan that can then be pasted into a weaving program. Thanks to the Complex Weavers’ lending library, I was able to gain access to the preset library from the book The Woven Pixel by Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek.

I also consulted an online tutorial by Margaret Coe, which was much less comprehensive, but still helpful, and began using Photoshop Elements in addition to Photoshop 2020.

You can see already that this is a fly by the seat of my pants operation. Photoshop 2020 does most of what I want very well. Photoshop Elements picks up the slack. (This is much like my relationship with Fiberworks and PixeLoom. They each have their strengths.)

I plan to wind a prototype warp and weave a couple of towels for myself. Glad to be about to be weaving again! FYI, I am slowly opening up my Etsy shop to other items besides the digital patterns. Yay!