double weave

I used garden wire as a warp – the green stuff, plastic coated.  It was quick to warp on  6 epi.  I wove in double weave to make a tube and used lots of different strips of plastic.  Green, transparent green, white, yellow.  It sort of matched some of my art work.  Of course it was flat and looked more like a squashed caterpillar but it would TRANSFORM magically once released from the loom (aka chryslis).

Well………  3 hours of work later…. it did not look at all caterpillar like.  I can hardly bear to post a photo of it.  Should I ? 

Even my husband was lost for words (and that doesn’t often happen).  I don’t think I have ever woven anything un inspiring before.

I didn’t give up. A lot of time and energy had gone into getting the PVC, I couldn’t just give up on it.  I tried warping up on my 8 shaft table loom.  I used polypropolene garden string as warp.  It comes in lots of different colPVC Weavingours and isn’t slipperly, knots well.  I chose yellow and blue and warped it in stripes. 

It wasn’t as bad a disaster.  It was colourful.  It was PVC.  It looked a bit like plastic deck chair covers.  I persevered for a while.  Honeycomb weave didn’t work particularly well – I think I would need more shafts to make it look 3D with PVC.  Basket weave looked OK. 

I looked at it critically.  Did I want to spend 4 more months trying to make something look OK, when it was only looking fairly mediocre at the moment (with rose-tinted glasses on).?  Did I want to be a PVC Recycling Hero ?  No.  Why not do something that straight away looks quite good and with some more work and inspiration could look fab.  Well, I tried…….. Do I get environmental brownie points for trying ?

But not to worry….. I have inspiration for a new project……..


I’m a bit behind with blogging.  this is partly due to holidays (camping in Ireland – a little damp but great holiday) and due to school holidays which means that I have no spare time.  By the time it gets to evening, I’m shattered.  I have also had camera problems that meant I took photos on my mobile phone and mislaid them on my computer.  Anyway………….

IMG_2751I decided not to use display boards for my samples this time.  As I had based my design on a pinecone, it seemed a good idea to use a fir tree (aka xmas tree) to hang the samples on.  I was working on the assumption that we are aiming to present our product in show or similar.

I was happy with it.  Tutor seemed a little bemused but agreed that it was a good idea.  I was a bit rushed this project so it suited me – it was much quicker to do this than attach samples onto boards and do all the artwork.    Tutor thought samples were fairly good – some more than others.  Reminded me that double cloth should be pleasing to look at from both sides.  As I had used double weave in some samples as ‘structural’, the back of some samples weren’t very interesting.  My mood board worked well.  I had used paintshop pro to design a background (blurred a photo of autumn leaves) and overlaid it with other photos suggesting autumn, crisp, outdoorsy.  I got it printed at Staples onto A2.  Not cheap but I was in a rush for this project.  I could well do this again for my final show (apparantly I can use Bradford College print facilities if I get my act together).  It’s a bit expensive to do it for every project.  I also need to ensure that if I am designing Mens scarfs, that all my samples are for men.  Some of mine were a bit feminine.  Everyone liked this sample best.dwsample7b – the most feminine.  As most of the students are female, perhaps that is predictable.









The tutor liked this one – and this is the one that nearly didn’t make it to the final cut – only selected because my husband liked it.  I find after a bit of weaving, tiredness creeps in and I feel the urge to do a really wacky mad sample.  Like  a personal joke.  It’s amazing how often these samples are picked out by other people as good ones. 


The funny thing about the process of producing samples, presenting your work (visually and verbally) and getting feedback  is… by the time you are at the presenting stage, you have mentally moved onto the next project.  Or I have.  My brain works faster than the time I have.   I’m sure I’m not alone.

The next project is on recycling.   I suppose it should have a new heading.  Or should I talk about Ireland next. 

Hmmmm   I’ll sleep on it.

Having horrified even myself at the brightness of the last warp colours, I picked brown, brown and more brown for the next warp.

2 shades of linen/cotton for one warp and acrylic boucle for the other warp.  (in hindsight, doing both sides in the same colour misses a bit of an opportunity with doubleweave).  However, as I usually do ‘in your face’ colours, I am determined to be a bit more subtle this time, IF IT KILLS ME.

I found a M & O threading in the Margarite Davidson book that looked quite pineconey.weaving

I reduced the number of ends in the sequence so I would get more repeats.


I tried using an orange yarn to get the waves on the right but there was not much distortion.  The block pattern on the left was good for giving a pine cones scales impression.  I liked this sample where I increased the amount of silver yarn in each block.  I used felting yarn plied several times – I thought this would make the fabric more stable.  I added a bit of padding under some of the ‘scales’ to make it more 3D.  When washed, it all pulled together a bit and the padding (welsh black fleece tops) is safely concealed


Everyone who had seen this one says ‘ooooh  so tactile’ – so a reckon this one is OK.   

I also wanted to experiment with pleats – basically, you use 2 beams for this.  Once you have woven about an inch (or more) of the top layer, loosen off the top layer end beam.  Pin the loosened cloth to the bottom cloth with sewing pins, across the warp.  Very gently tighten up the warp on the top beam, weave a few picks of tie down (tying down the top and bottom layers), tighten the warp again, weave a few more tie down picks and continue.   On a previous college sample, I liked how using lycra on a pleat made it crunch up.  Using cotton/linen and lycra gives a dry Pinecone crunchiness.


I particularly liked the areas next to the pleats/pockets which rippled up. 





My favourite sample is my next one – pleats again – subtle (yes, I’m getting the hang of this) colour gradation over the pleat.  I used the lifting plan that gave me blocks like sample 1.  This meant that when I came to pin down the pleats, there were sections of the bottom cloth that weren’t as stable (the blocks with the longer floats in).  I could only pin down the pleat intermittently across the warp.  I added a bit of slip, when I was doing the tye down, so that there were quite long warp floats on the back of the cloth.  These oval gaps showed the front colours through – fab effect.  I might use this later on.

dwsample5 (2)


Front side pleats








Reverse showing the oval reveal sections – love it!!  




Happy accidents – where would weaving be without them. 

Off to Bradford this coming week to present all this stuff.  I have to catch up with the paperwork (now ….. what was it I did???.  shh.  Don’t tell my tutor.)

Hope everyone’s weaving’s going well.  Jane

It’s hard to pin-point the ideas I have at one time because, by the time I’ve finished the sample that was my way of exploring them,  my ideas have moved on.  

I will try and explain the thinking behind my first set of samples (even though some of my ideas have changed now).

Pinecones    – blocks of dark and light ( the scales being light andthe shadows in between being dark),  generally brown (oh… I know… I will add a contrast…play around with photoshop for a while…)

brightened image of pinecone scales

brightened image of pinecone scales

OK – so orange, yellow and red.  Pinecones symbolise rebirth, and winter so maybe fire colours are a good idea.  Or so the thought went at the time.

I wonder what would happen if I developed the spaced twill scarf idea, (see pinecones pinecones pinecones post for photo) using 2 warps.  I put a brown felting wool on one beam and multcoloured cotton/linen warp on the other 2nd beam.  I wanted the 2 warps to loop over each other – you know, blocks of colour and blocks of shade..

looping the warps from the 2 different beams

looping the warps from the 2 different beams


I was being driven by my aim of making mens’ winter scarves.  But I really wasn’t very happy with the result.  The fabric wasn’t very stable (maybe might have improved with a bit more rigorous washing.).   The colours and texture looked less than sophisticated.

The rest of the same warp yielded one interesting sample.  Where I had done pleats in the warp, (need the 2 beams), interesting little pockets appeared on the reverse. 

Pockets on reverse of double weave pleats.
Pockets on reverse of double weave pleats.

But all in all, I was not happy with the warp or choice of colours.  The way the warp had different stripes of colour meant that it was not easy to hide the colour, so all the samples looked similar.  The colours were too strong.  I was hoping for more subtlety in this this project (all my other projects had been described as having  ‘strong use of colour’ – not bad in itself but I wanted to prove I could do ‘subtle’ too. ) I mentally started on the design of warp 2.

Well, I’m well into the first year of a 2 year course at Bradford College – THE weaving course, apparantly – there’s nothing much else like it round the country.  Distance learning with long weekends in college every couple of months.  Great people on the course.  Learning lots.  Spare time since I started it in Sept- Nil

We’re on project 4 now.  I may go back and do a few photos of previous projects but for now, I intend to stick to this current one.  My design thoughts (in varying degrees of practicality) come thick and fast.   Getting anything down on paper in time before the next urgent idea blasts through is a challenge in itself.  I hope blogging will help me keep track of all my ideas.  A bit like a notebook that I can’t lose.

Project 4 – is about Double Weave (or Double Cloth).  I’ve done some of this before and loved it.  Easy on 4 shafts.  Can make it look like layers of leaves

Double Weave - 2 layers 'stitched' down along centre


Double weave -2 layers with all layers stitched down in centre



Cabbage leaf

 This Spring Cabbage leaf was the inspiration
Or the layers can be stuffed….
Stuffed double weave sample

Stuffed double weave sample

 In this case, the naturally cotton (onion skins) was stuffed with indigo dyed sheeps fleece.

Large Totem Head
Large Totem Head

The inspiration for the stuffed double weave.  Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.