Back in the Day [2]

This is the second in my series of occasional postings about my earlier days weaving. This blog post was originally published May 12, 2015 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.

We left off with my description of Taquete (or Polychrome Summer and Winter on Opposites) rugs. I wove these rugs on heavy linen warps sett 5 epi. For some rugs I used heavy rug wool that I ordered undyed. I then dyed the wool in small batches and created a whole range of colors that would blend together as I wove.

Plaited Rug 2

The rug pictured above is titled Plaited Rug #2, and was designed and woven in Feburary of 1988, following from the rug titled “Plaited Rug” in the previous BITD post. That first Plaited Rug was more straightforward. The blocks were all the same size, with only the colors changing. Plaited Rug #2 combines color progression creating a sense of receding space with stretching and squashing the motifs’ sizes. I exhibited this rug with the title “Flying Carpet”.

Here is a detail of that rug:

Plaited Rug 2 detail 1

The profile draft for this rug was a straight draw, using each block twice. The design resided in the tie-up and the treadling draft followed an undulating twill. To wit:

Plaited Rug Profile Draft

Later that year, in December 1988, I did another one of these Plaited Rugs. The idea was pretty much the same, creating a sense of space with color blending and bending and stretching the design motif in various ways.


Here is a detail:


Here is a scanned page from my notebook showing the color gradations (which didn’t scan very well!) I used in my profile draft:

Plaited Rug 3 Notebook Page

Eventually I decided that these kinds of weavings were too expensive both to make and to sell, and too cumbersome to store and exhibit.

I did some rugs with commercially dyed rug wool, and it was this one that set me on a path:


Ironically, that path was not to weave more rugs, but to weave small tapestries with cotton warps and cotton wefts. The technique, though, Taquete, would remain the same.
I called this rug Straight Draw Rug #1 (working title, not exhibition title). and it was the prototype for my method of design from quite a while after that.

More next time!

Back in the Day

(This blog post was originally published March 11, 2015 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

In which I begin an occasional series of blog postings on the body of my work that began seriously in the late 1980’s.

Back in the day, I produced a lot of weft-faced rugs and small loom-controlled tapestries based on block weaves, mostly 6-block Summer and Winter, woven on my 8-harness loom. I could squeeze a lot of design out of six blocks. There would be a background, and for contrast, up to three other shuttles with different colors. I rotated the shuttles carefully, always keeping them in a certain order, and would change the colors out as the design progressed.

While I referred to the technique I used so often as “Polychrome Boundweave on Summer and Winter”, many now have replaced those six words with the very economical term Taquete. Woven without a tabby, the pattern blocks are woven on opposites, combined and defined by the weft colors.

The rug above is an example of this technique and was part of my Master’s thesis, written in 1987, titled “Computer Design in the Handweaving Process” at Iowa State University. (There is a scanned copy of my thesis available on-line now (sans pictures). You can find it here.) Titled “MacKintosh Variation #2”, this rug is one of several riffs I did off the design work of Charles Rennie MacKintosh, a Scottish architect working at the turn of the 20th century. I did two other rugs as part of that thesis. Then I graduated.

Another piece titled “Plaited Rug”, woven later that same year, and using the same technique, is shown here:

Here is a detail, which shows the color blending a lot better:

Here is a copy of the page from my weaving notebook, showing how I planned this piece:

The draft shown is a profile draft with 6 blocks. (Going back through my old records I am constantly amazed at how consistent my design ideas have remained!)  My rubric was using a straight draw in the threading quadrant and in the treadling quadrant, and finding the design in the tie-up. I wanted to express the image of a plaited twill. I used at least two shuttles. When there was solid gray, I used two shuttles to maintain the same texture throughout. Mostly, I would alternate between gray and a pattern color, but there were times when I would need three shuttles, when there were three different color areas across the same row. Since this didn’t happen often, I guess I must have figured the overall look of the rug wouldn’t suffer.

I only have ten treadles on my loom, and the combinations of tie-ups were many more. I would have had to do a a lot of crawling under the loom to keep making changes (I think I’ve blocked that memory out…).

Anyway, this Plaited Rug really marked the beginning of the series of loom-controlled tapestries that I worked on for the next 8 or so years. I quickly shifted to a smaller format, from wool to cotton, from the floor to framed pieces. I have been scanning the slides of the work that I did, and am just beginning to appreciate the intensity and consistency of this body of work.

More to come! I’ll keep you posted 😉

Blast from the Past

(This blog post was originally published May 16, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

I wove the rug pictured below in 1988, right after I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Craft Design from Iowa State University. I did an in-depth study of block weaves and computer-aided design. At that time there were a LOT of different little micro-computers and weave design programs. I used a funny little program on an Atari computer to run a compu-dobby attached to a Macomber loom in the university weaving studio. At home I purchased a program for the Apple IIe called “Pattern Master IV” from the company that later became AVL Looms.

I used that program to design this rug, and wrote it up in an article for the long ago defunct weaving magazine The Weaver’s Journal. They wanted to publish it, but they ran out of funding and were never able to do so. So my article sat in a folder ever since then. I always liked my design and the rug I wove. I’m not sure if I still have it. But the design remains one of my favorites.

The rug itself is woven using boundweave on Summer and Winter. This is a weft faced structure in two colors of rug wool with a linen warp. The article (see below) has more specs.

I recently scanned the article to PDF and uploaded it to Scribd, where it is now available to read. But I warn you, there’s a lot of writing about designing double two-tie twills, which kind of made my head explode. Also, there’s a lot of stuff about working with Pattern Master IV, which you can feel free to skip over (after you stop laughing). The article is mainly valuable to me for the profile draft of the woven rug, which I can use in other weave structures. My old fave Diversified Plain Weave comes to mind…

Theory and Practice and Weaving from Times Past



Ok, I am working on a dishtowel warp and this is just a quick follow-up post to my last post. That post was all about how my Turned Taquete threading (which is actually just a straight draw) could be tied up for twill treadlings.

I’ve got enough warp for four towels and this is number three. And looking pretty good. As I explained before, threading stripes of solid color in between the stripes of contrasting color will ensure that the twill will show well.


Now, on a completely different subject, I have begun “scanning” my slides of weaving from times past. I finished my Masters Degree in Craft Design in 1987 and began weaving and exhibiting for a period of time after that. I took many slides of my work, and have just finally begun the process of sorting these slides, and reproducing them digitally.

My gizmo of choice is this:

The Lomography Smartphone Slide Scanner works with my iPhone to capture the slide images quickly and easily. While not the super quality of the slide scanners I used to work with in my former life as a Curator of Visual Resources, the images I am getting are good enough and sometimes even great. I edit them in Photoshop, and upload them to Flickr. Some blog readers may have already noticed them on the Cooliris Flickr Wall on the right. More are coming!

And I will talk more about these weavings in a future post. For now I will say that I did a ton of work in boundweave with Summer and Winter threadings. Inspired by Peter Collingwood’s book on rug weaving, I called it polychrome Summer and Winter on opposites. Now everyone calls it Taquete. (Who knew?)