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Weaving Experiment Update

February 25, 2014

A while back I had warped up my small inkle loom with an experimental project to try to figure out some card weaving for a friend.  I finally got around to starting the actual weaving the other day, but I also made some changes to the plan.

The other examples of this weaving that I have seen used cards with four holes that were threaded through only two of the holes.  The creators of those previous works threaded their cards through to adjacent holes, which I also did in my first attempt.  However, the documentation that exists on the original piece being recreated suggests that it was woven with cards threaded through two holes that were then turned a quarter turn forward followed by a quarter turn back for the duration of the weaving.  With the cards threaded through adjacent holes, this method isn’t possible since a quarter turn will not open a new shed and will leave the weft thread floating on top of the weaving every other pick.  In this case, the cards have to be turned a half turn each time.

I was looking at some of the documentation on the earlier projects the other night and kind of had a revelation about threading my four-holed cards through two diagonal holes rather than adjacent ones.  Threading diagonally means that each quarter turn forward or back does create a new shed each time and encloses the weft within the weaving.

SwivelsAlso, since the outer two cards on each side are turned continuously forward throughout the weave, the threads would build up a tremendous amount of twist as weaving progressed.  To offset this, I decided to add a technique suggested by many other weavers, though probably not something used in the original piece – fishing swivels that will allow me to untwist the threads as I go along.

Weaving 2And here is the work in progress!  The outer edges are a little bulkier than the center because those cards are threaded through all four holes, so there’s simply more material.  The pattern is also different because of the different number of threads.  So far, it’s been going fairly well.  It takes a little mental effort to remember to turn the outer cards differently from the inner set, but after a while everything falls into a rhythm that my hands just sort of follow automatically.

Even though I’d like to keep going with this, I’m going to hold off until this weekend’s canton meeting, when I can show it to the person it’s for and give her the opportunity to get some hands-on practice with the method.

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