Friday, September 26, 2008


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

As I come slowly to the end of the silk crackle, I realize that the loom is about to be empty. Well, OK, at the rate I weave, it will probably still be a few more days before the loom is empty. At any rate, I really like to have a warp ready to go on the loom before I am finished with the current project. So I decided to get to work on our daughter’s Christmas towels.

My first plan, discussed here, way back in May, had been to do color-and-weave. A month later, I had changed my mind and decided to do simple twill. To read about this change in plans, go here. But by early July I was starting to think about crackle, as you can read here.

Crackle seemed to be the final choice. Certainly it seemed a logical choice considering my current obsession with crackle! So here and here, I considered yarn choices. I figured out the block design I wanted. Then I made the warp calculations here. I made the weft calculations here.

And now?

I’m back to simple 2/2 twill.

Why? Because, unlike crackle, the floats are limited to two. Because, while 2/2 twill creates a firm fabric, at the same time it creates a fabric supple enough for the dryer of dishes to get easily into the nooks and crannies of the dishes.

The design itself is a simple one--inspired by a photo on page 26 in Sharon Alderman’s Mastering Weave Structures. This fabric a wool check designed in browns and grays and is very elegant. The wool yarn, of course, is not suitable for towels, but neither are the colors. Instead, I The cones of yarnwill use 8/2 unmercerized cotton; and these towels will use the colors in the photo at the left. One color is missing—a yellow—and is on backorder.

The warp will consist of the white cotton, separated approximately every 3.5 inches by 2 ends of ? Well, I haven’t quite decided that yet. I’m thinking brown. The weft stripes could be the same brown or the blue or green or yellow. The weft 3.5 inch checks could be white, blue, green, or white. Or I could weave a solid weft in one of those colors. And because there will be so few warp ends involved in the striping (a total of 20), the idea of changing those colors in midstream is within the realm of possibility.

Each towel is going to be different.


When I photographed the above cones close up, the cones on the left slanted to the left and those one the right slanted a great deal to the right. Talk about being drunk!

But when I stood farther back and used the camera to zoom, the distortion disappeared. Well, no. It didn’t completely disappear, but it certainly improved.

This has me very curious.

  1. Why does this happen?
  2. How can I correct it in the software?

Ideas are welcome!

Related Post: Authoritative Statements

"Designing the Christmas Towels Yet Again" was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on September 25, 2008. © 2008 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Susan B. said...

Peg, I don't know anything about the photography mystery but I do know that I am like you with wanting a warp ready to go when I finish a project!

Renee said...

Hi Peg, I have the same "problem" at times when deciding what to weave. so many interesting structures! I do love twill though, it is my favorite. -Renee

Leigh said...

I think the problem with the photo maybe what's called barrel distortion. I believe it's a problem with wide angle lenses. Your photo software should have a lens correction filter. I used to use it with PSP, and I think Photoshop does. It's really a helpful tool.

Dorothy said...

Hi Peg,

The photo distortion is down to the angle of the lens on your camera. A wide angle lens (less than 43 mm) distorts close up.

I have a book on photography that explains it like this "when the focal length of the lens equals the diagonal measurement of the film frame, the image will appear normal.... any length between 40 mm to 55 mm will appear free of perspective distortion" It goes on to explain that the human eye can take in around 45 to 50 degree in sharp vision, "and a lens that comes close to this appears to have none of the distortions associated with wide-angle and long focus lenses".

Many cameras with a simple (non-changeable)lens have 35mm (covering 62 degrees of vision) It enables you to get more in the picture and is perfect for views and also good for photos of groups of people. My book says; "in crampoed sapces where the photographer cannot move back far enough to cover the scene with a normal lens, a wide-angle lens is essential. Its generous coverage gives a feeling of space to interior views and will often best convey the full sweep of a landscape. Perhaps more importnat is its abilty to include both the immediate foreground and distant objects..." they are also useful because they gather in more light, so in low-light levels, or where a shot needs taking extra quick (action photos) they are particularly useful.

My camera has an 18 - 55mm zoom lens, as I zoom in and out while looking at a subject the way the distortion comes and goes can give me motion sickness!

Bit of an essay this, but I hope you now understand what is happening ;)

By the way, I love the simple twill weaves. Look forward to seeing how this project goes.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Leigh, I had thought about barrel distortion, but when I played with that filter it only seemed to make things worse. Then I read about it and found that though it is normally associated with wide-angle lenses, it can also happen with a regular lens on digital cameras because of the smaller size of the sensors. I don't have one of the really compact cameras that you can carry in a pocket, but neither is it one of the larger ones. So the next time this happens I will try to work harder with the software.
Dorothy, I don't understand really your explanation because when I stand back and zoom in with the camera, the distortion is much much less! I suspect this all has to do with the size of the camera.

Jane said...

Good morning, Miss Peg!

It's Monday, and with coffee in hand I had to check in as usual to see what you are up to.

Your post mad me chuckle, because I have been mulling over towels for what seems to be months now, and in a few short weeks the holidays are upon us!

I took a workshop a couple years ago from Tracy Kaestner called "The Perfect Towel" and am going to dig out my notes and patterns from that.

I just love the iterations that we weavers go through from what our initial thoughts and plans are, to what the finished product actually becomes.

The 2/2 twill sounds just right and I can't wait to see those colors in action. With your eye for design, I'm certain they will not only be functional towels, but elegant to boot.

Happy Monday!

Dorothy said...

Peg you said:

"Dorothy, I don't understand really your explanation because when I stand back and zoom in with the camera, the distortion is much much less!"

This is exactly what I would expect.

When you zoom IN you reduce the distortion because you are going to a narrower lens angle, i.e. you might start at 35 mm but "zooming in" you would go into that 40-50mm range where the distortion goes away.

(Note, the reason the mm increase as the lens angle decreases is that the measurement in mm (e.g.35 mm) refers to the focal length of the lens, not the angle of vision through it).

Does this help? (Personally, I must admit it took me years to get my head around it.)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Jane, "A few short weeks.........?????" oh my goodness. Are you trying to instill panic?! (grin!)
Dorothy, thank you. Yes that helped, though I can't say I quite have my head wrapped around it. Somehow, though, it does make intuitive sense.