Over the past few weeks, I’ve been learning how to weave knotted pile, which is a series of knots “tacked” down with a foundation weft. I started with a simple square/rectangle/line design. This was also an attempt to use split-complementary colors. I don’t think I would have chosen mustard yellow, rusty orange, and indigo blue otherwise, but they kind of work together. Here’s a little animation. The picture above shows how it looks after I trimmed it to about 1/2″.
An internet search for similar projects will most likely bring up Sara Lamb’s lovely book, Woven Treasures, which is where I learned how to do this style of weaving. You may also enjoy reading about the shaggier version, rya (or in Finnish ryijy) or flossa, which hails from Scandinavia and has an interesting history that begins as a warm covering for fishermen and progresses into colorful wall hangings and rugs. You can even weave rya rugs off loom, as shown in this video:
The 1970s are cool again–if you’re a fiber nerd, that is. Maryanne Moodie was the first weaver I spotted who was calling upon the age of shag carpeting to create a more-modern-but-still-earthy wall hanging. There are several weavers out there doing very creative wall hangings nowadays. If you’re inspired to give it a try, here’s a nice tutorial to get you going.
I wove mine on the little Goodwood Pocket Loom, not made any longer, but pretty much any small loom or picture frame will work. This measures 4″x5″ off the loom, not counting the fringes. This was a fun, fast project that I’d like to do on a larger scale… maybe on my new loom. And, no, I’m not talking about the new loom I just posted a few weeks ago but another one, a Hagen tapestry loom that I’ll blog about soon.
Here’s a new-to-me addition to my loom family, a 25″ Schacht Tapestry Loom.
It’s a deceivingly simple loom, basically a frame with a tension bar, but it has the ability to do a continuous warp, which means you can weave something 60″ long, plus it has four harness dowels for patterned weaving. I warped the loom with what I had left of my churro warp. Spacing it at about 5 epi, I have a 15″ width. I wove a footer with some beautiful blue indigo wool, and then I used string heddles to add a twill pattern. It takes four harnesses. My plan is to only do small areas of twill, followed by some wedge weave.
Wedge weave is a type of weaving style that gives a distinctive look as the “rows” are woven diagonally. According to what I’ve read, this style of weaving may have become less popular as buyers of rugs wanted a straight edge, and this gives a very unusual scalloped edge due to the way the weft pulls against the warp. There are many different ways to use this style, and some weavers drop in a little here and there while others weave this way for the entire project.
Here are some resources on wedge weave, also known as pulled warp:
Here are some image searches from Google (hopefully without the wedge shoes that keep showing up!): wedge weave images.
My little sample, about 4″ x 5″, worked out okay for a first try. I learned how to start and stop threads, add new colors, and carry a pattern. I also found out that the loose threads should be woven back in otherwise they’ll pop through to the front. I have some floats here and there, as I puzzled through how to reverse directions. I wove this on a Goodwood Pocket loom.
On the loom:
And off the loom. I was pleased to see that even with my loose and sloppy weaving, the scalloped edges came through:
I’m using my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom as a stand-in tapestry loom, and it works great. The loom is a super star when it comes to tension–that thick, sturdy wood and metal pawls and ratchets make it possible. If I learn how to warp it better, I can see using this for tapestry weaving quite often. As it is, I started out perfectly with a warp wound on a warping board, but transferring over became very difficult, so I ended up snipping the ends and tying it on. My plan had been to try for a non-fringe selvedge. Oh, well… that’s how it goes.
I had started another project using greens and browns on this warp, but when I discovered wedge weave, I unwove the other project and started this. I’m now sticking with all greens, probably inspired by the ongoing WAL in Ravelry’s tapestry group. The first two months were monochromatic, and I wove a tiny tapestry in blues, but I was never happy with it. So now… greens! These are mostly needlepoint wool found at an antique store:
The warp is a four-ply Churro, and it’s spaced at about 5 epi:
The string heddles I rigged up proved to be helpful only when weaving that footer. I don’t think anyone trying something similar needs to go to the trouble if using a widely-spaced warp like this one. The day wore on, and at 10 p.m. I found myself still weaving. Wedge weave is really fun–and fast as far as a weft-faced weaving goes. Now, I’m at a difficult spot in deciding what to do with the pattern. I’d like to make the center area stand out somehow, and the easiest answer is to use a different set of greens. The hardest answer is to inset some type of tapestry design, but I’m not certain how that will work out. Best idea is to try one, and if it works, stick with it.
The cheerful sailboat is starting to come to life. If you think it looks kind of angular, you’d be right. At some point, I’ll post about the design, but because I’m usually willing and able to tear out and do over, design is an ongoing thing for me.
All the different sails. I knew it would look downright odd, but it was actually kind of fun to try out different colors and designs:
I need to do some work on the right side of the right sail. There’s also that odd blue wedge between the two sails that needs to be toned down or taken out completely:
The second challenge in the Tapestry Ravelry WAL is a complementary color tapestry. I know nearly nothing about color, and so it’s been very educational. Of course, I didn’t pick subtle, soothing color combinations… just the eye-sizzling ones! That blue water is very loud.
I’m using my C. Cactus Flower Mini… upside down. Oops! It was a mistake, but I don’t think there’s any real difference with the weaving. Ergonomically, it’s easier to weave with the bottom bar on your lap. I’m using a tatting shuttle here and there, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It catches on the warp threads. The tapestry will end up being about 7.5″ x 11″.
More water. I’m totally experimenting with this, using a dark blue cotton embroidery thread and a lighter blue. The complementary color to blue directly across the color wheel is orange. Get ready for an orange boat!
The boat started out a little shaky. I had framed it on either side with too much muddy-looking water, and I didn’t care for the angle of the boat. This design is very geometric, and so I unwove the top section and started over. The “old” one is on the left, and the “new” one is on the right.
Because this year’s WAL in the Ravelry tapestry group is about the color wheel, I organized my cotton embroidery threads as closely as I could. Some colors only have one or two shades, but I’m learning as I go so it doesn’t matter all that much.
It only took me about ten months to finish this 4″x6″ weaving. Honestly, the Lightning Weaver is an awesome loom and I’ve used it for several small tapestries, but quite awhile ago, I wished I hadn’t started this type of a project on it. I used embroidery thread and needles to weave it. At 12 epi, it was pretty fine. My goal when I began was to work in more curves and colors. You can tell I jumped into “finish” mode where the lines start traveling from selvedge to selvedge. I went back to shapes near the end.
The Lightning Weaver has little hooks on either end, which makes it impossible to weave up until the edge. So, I’m left with some white threads poking out, but that’s okay. Throughout the weaving, I overlapped where I started and stopped threads. This keeps the back very tidy. Any loose threads can be safely trimmed away.