Going Around in Circles

(This blog post was originally published January 4, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

And, here we go with the new year. I don’t have resolutions per se, just a list of modest goals. I have some time off between semesters and I am home for two more weeks, so theoretically, I should get some stuff done.

For instance, go through the kitchen cabinets, remove items that haven’t been used in, like, years, and take them to the Goodwill.

Sew a couple of pillows for the couch, which could really use a little bit of freshening up. It should be easy. I’ve had the fabric for about five years as long as we’ve had the couch. Just need to buy some trim and pillow forms. Easy!

On the fiber front, I’m knitting a sweater and 99% done. Knitting a second sock, always a challenge, but it works well with the bowl games in the evening.

Painting more yarn for my Etsy shop. Watch for Pashmina Purples and Winter Blues! Further, I added several of my handwoven scarves to the Etsy shop. They were just sitting around, and needed to make themselves useful.

And speaking of weaving, I am in design mode. A little background: I’ve been seeing some lovely examples of scarves with a circles motif on Weavolution and also on the Handwoven Flickr group. I was kind of obsessed with figuring out a profile draft for circles for my own work after seeing these. I have an 8-shaft loom, so any block weave is going to be limited to six at the most.

At the same time, I got hold of a copy of Alice Schlein’s The Liftplan Connection. I decided the best way to figure this profile draft out was to use PhotoShop Elements, and Schlein’s book is the go-to manual for doing just that. Even better, she included a circle motif as one of her examples. So, using her directions in Elements I copied the cirlce motif, imported it into my weaving software, which in turn generated a draft.

This is the design I used:

Ok, I know it’s not a perfect circle, and if I had more harnesses to work with it would be much smoother. However, I have just five blocks to work with for the circle itself, plus one block for the background, so that’s as good as it gets. I have an idea for a Diversified Plain Weave Scarf, and I need to paint some yarn in order to get that on the loom.

I’m pumped.


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?