Friday, June 22, 2007

Color: Computer versus Fabric

Sara Lamb mentioned on her blog recently how she sees the woven fabric in her head before she actually starts to weave it. This started me thinking. I don't. And drawdowns on the computer don't help. Oh, I have kind of an idea of what I want to see, but it is fairly open and fluid. I know pretty much the colors I want to use, but how?

With the warp I have no choice but to make some guesses, because that must be done first, and once done, it is there. It cannot be changed. Well, I suppose I could pull some warp ends out and hang on new warp ends in the color you really want, hanging them in the same manner as you would supplementary warps. I've actually thought of doing that. But to do more than a few would get really tiresome. And it would certainly make the weaving process a bit more tiresome. Still, I do think about it, especially when I'm part way through the weaving and might want to change some colors in midstream. But, realistically, or at least for now, I know I have to make a final decision on warp color(s) and their order first and accept that as a given once I start the actual weaving.

So I start the weaving with the treadling I have designed on the computer. I may like it. I may not. But what I see certainly does not reflect what I see on the computer screen. It is not simply a matter of getting the colors the same. It is that colors interact differently with each other on the computer screen from the way they intereact in the real weaving with the actual threads.

And this happens even when I have woven samples. Somehow, when I have the actual final warp on the loom and I start weaving, it looks, well, different. And so I use the first part of the warp, doing some more experimenting, until I find what I want. .Or at least something I can more or less live with.

But the whole point is that "what I want" is not really in my head but is something waiting to be discovered in the weaving process. Indeed, if I am weaving a scarf, once I actually start weaving it, I may continue to make changes as I weave. I may change some colors. I may make some blocks larger. Keeping always in mind that the scarf still must be coherent and have an overall scheme.

I like weaving this way, where I can change things as I go. This is how many people weave tapestry. This is one of the things that appeals to me about tapestry. This is why occasionally I try tapestry, only to discover tapestry is not for me. Tapestry is not about the interaction of warp and weft, at least not typically.

I envy, in a way, Sara's ability to have the fabric in her head. But I am very happy weaving the way I do, seeing what it will become. Perhaps this is why I weave scarves. Weaving yardage, which I also enjoy, perhaps because I like to sew, precludes this kind of experimentation as one goes. Pretty much........ Of course, when I move to cutting out the fabric and discover a flaw which demands some creative rethinking about the pattern one is cutting out................

And here is an example. I had woven just enough yardage to weave this jacket, but when I took the yardage off the loom I discovered there was a serious uncorrectable error in the first 15 inches. As I result, the pattern pieces did not fit. That is, they did not fit until I decided to cut length off the jacket body and off the sleeves, cut on the cross grain bands, which I then attached to the body and the sleeves.

The jacket is woven in 60/2 silk which I dyed with acid dyes, and the weave structure is 4-shaft honeycomb.


NHWeaver said...

Hi, I found your blog interesting and was wondering what weaving software you used?

Peg in South Carolina said...

I use PixeLoom. There are several good weaving programs, but all suffer from the same issues of not being able to deal fully with color interactions, especially in a rather complex weave structure, in real life with real fibers.

Leigh said...

Very intersting post. I'm going to have to think about this because I'm not sure how I design. I'm still pretty much in the exploratory phase of learning weaving so I usually just try to use colors I like. What I end up with is always a surprise and either I like it or I don't. Since I switched to Linux, I haven't used weaving software. Even when I did, I just used it to make sure I didn't have any threading or treadling errors. Not actually as a design tool.

Can we see a close-up of the jacket fabric???