Thursday, July 26, 2007

Crackle Jacket: Designing the Fabric

Since I got my computer back and it's working fine, I have gone back to work on the crackle jacket. I had already decided from the earlier samples the particular sample I planned to use as the basis for the jacket fabric. And here it is.
The colors are fairly close to the actual
fabric, but the actual fabric has a great deal
more subtlety. The warp colors are a medium
greened blue, a medium brown and a medium
browned gold. The weft colors are a pastel blue, a pastel yellow, a pastel lavender and the medium browned gold of the warp. All yarns are 20/2 pearl cotton. It might be remembered that I had some initial reservations about the lavender. There were some sample treadlings where it just did not work. But here the lavender, subdued by the other colors, creates a little surprise which in fact, does work.

None of this would be revealed on a computer screen. Or perhaps I simply cannot project in my head from the computer screen to the actual fabric. This is why I can use the computer only for suggestions and finding errors and technical problems. It simply is of no help with color. And for me, manipulating color is in many ways what weaving is all about.

By the way, I have used computer software to pull this sample out of the fabric of samples. I know there are ways to get rid of the unwanted black parts, but I have yet to learn how to do that.

I opened my weaving program and designed a 4-block symmetrical design. I have created it as a 4-shaft design because, despite the fact that the sample I am using for the basis of this fabric was designed on 8 shafts, it is really a 4-shaft design. It just seems easier to thread and weave on 4 shafts than on 8. Had the threads been any finer (my favorite 60/2 silk, for example), I would have used the 8 shafts simply to separate the heddles a bit. Then there would be less likelihood of shed problems when it came time to weave. But this is only 20/2 pearl cotton and the yarn is very slippery.

The design for the crackle exchange and subsequent sampling had been quite wildly assymmetrical, but I decided that some kind of symmetry would make for easier making up of a garment from the fabric. Here is the block design for the threading.

Each individual unit of a block is indicated by one square. Each square consists of 4 threads. These four threads make up the individual crackle unit. What you see (rather dimly, I am sorry to say) is a block representing, when drawn out as threading, 278 individual ends. This thread grouping will be repeated 4 times across the warp. The total number of ends thus should be 1,112.

I am using the same color ordering as I used for the exchange and sampling warp. It consists of 3 colors appearing at apparently erratic intervals. There is, however, a plan and I have used my spreadsheet program to block out the 3 colors with the number of repetitions each time. The ordering and repeating of the colors, however, has nothing to do either with the blocks or the repeated design units.

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