Friday, January 23, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

But to understand how the tie-up went wrong, I need to explain that this is a shadow weave threading. For those of you familiar with shadow weave, I know that sample did not look anything like shadow weave. I will get to that later. Just accept that this is a shadow weave threading I am now working on.

I knew shadow weave was not a structure. It is a threading, not a structure. Its structure, I had thought, was plain weave. I looked at the tie up I had been using. It was the traditional 4-shaft twill tie-up of 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 1-4. What on earth was I thinking?! No way was I going to get plain weave with that tie up.

An aside. I’ve always had trouble understanding tie-ups. I have had it explained to me. I have heard lectures about designing in the tie-up. I just didn’t understand. Now, for the first time, I think I am just beginning to grasp the concept.

I looked at my source* for this threading and studied more carefully the tie-up. This is not as easy as it sounds. The book is not transparent. It requires work to figure out threading, tie-up and treadling. One could say it is written in its own kind of code. I looked at some of my other books, but there is precious little written on shadow weave so I was left with trying to work out the code. I had done so with the threading and the treadling. The tie-up was my Waterloo. All I knew was that a twill-tie up would not work. But neither would a plain weave tie-up.

After much frustration, I finally navigated the code. The tie-up was supposed to be 1-3, 2-4, 2-3, 1-4. Well, that helped a lot but it still didn’t make a total sense. How would this tie up yield plain weave on a shadow weave threading?

Something echoed in my head: shadow weave is BASED on plain weave………… That is very different from saying something IS plain weave. I was an English major…….once upon a time……..long ago. Finally I understood the tie-up. The first two tie-ups (1-3 and 2-4) do produce plain weave. I didn’t try it but I knew that just a plain weave tie-up would result in just as much of a mess as the standard twill tie-up did. Something more was still needed.

That something more is a tie-up that allows the weaver to treadle opposites: 2-3 and 1-4. The result is not plain weave but a structure very similar to plain weave except for its occasional short floats in warp and weft. And it is those floats which produce (when both warp and weft alternate colors) the shadow weave effect.

wrong and right This photo of the fabric still on the loom shows what happens 1) at the bottom with the wrong tie-up and the resulting too-long overshots; and 2) at the top with the correct tie-up and plain weave with very short overshots.

More to come........

*My source is Marian Powell, 1000(+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8-Harness Shadow Weaves. Yes, the book is written in its own kind of code. I have used it a couple of times before and each time I have tried to figure it out all over again, just as I had to this time. But it is an invaluable book. It has all those patterns, but it also has photos of all those patterns. Each threading, moreover, has many treadling possibilities, and the photos show that as well. So for anyone interested in shadow weave, I cannot recommend the book too highly.

"The Tie-up Was Wrong" was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on January 23, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


fibresofbeing said...

Interesting. This is a whole major area of weaving which I haven't had to face (yet?). My class work weaving is all on table looms. My home weaving is on a dobby loom. Although I've read a lot about tie-up, my practical experience is effectively all lift-plan. My hope is that it's one less thing I have to think about (helpful when there's _so_ much to learn), but I wonder if the future holds a sting in the tail when I have to face this.
Glad you found your solution.

woolthing said...

I think my head just exploded and I had just put it together after dealing with a summer and winter tie up. Weaving = always learning.

Leigh said...

Ah, it looks much better. I agree, Powell's 1000+ is difficult to thread correctly from (ask me how I know.) Not too easy to treadle from either! (depending on which one is chosen.)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you for your comments. I can write out drafts with no problem. But when it comes to putting together and visualizing in 3 dimensions what is actually happen when you press a treadle with a particular tie-down, I have been absolutely clueless. Well, I do know what is happening. But knowing, on the one hand, and visualizing and understanding in 3-dimensions, on the other, is very difficult for me. But I am getting there!

eva said...

Hi, I'm fascinated with Shadow weave and did my Complex Weavers Fine Threads Study in 2007 on it. It's true that Powell's book is difficult to figure out but once you do you can plug the info into your weaving program and it really makes it easier to see what it will look like and to set up your loom. Also, I've been studying the connection between Log Cabin and Shadow Weave. You're welcome to visit my weaving blog to read more about it:


Peg in South Carolina said...

Eva, thank you for visiting my blog. And thank you also for the link to your blog. I have subscribed. I am a member of CW and will check out the full article in the 2008 issue.

evasweaving said...

Hi Peg, thanks for visiting my blog too. I actually wove a chenille shawl using one of the patterns from the Powell book. I'm going to post it next week along with the draft I did on my computer program by plugging in the info from the book. I'm glad to have met another CW member.

Eva Stossel