Thursday, February 5, 2009

DESIGN CONTINUED: HOW MANY BLOCKS?

Posted by Peg in South Carolina

My attention may be on the handspun shawl I am getting close to being able to warp, but I still continue to think and make notes about the silk crackle shawl which will follow. Here are some of the issues I am concerned with.

1. NUMBER OF THREADING BLOCKS

The most immediate issue is to determine how many blocks across the width of the warp I want. The art pieces, all of the based on Zielinski’s notion of creating 8 crackle blocks on 4 shafts, consisted of 17 blocks across the warp, but that was a much narrower warp. This shawl will be 28” wide.

2. SIZE OF BLOCKS

But even before I can decide the number of blocks, I need to determine how many units in each of the blocks. Yes, I do plan (at least at this point) to keep each block the same size. To determine the number of units I need to determine how wide I want the blocks.

3. ENDS PER INCH (EPI)

The epi for the shawl will be different from that for the art pieces: 60 epi instead of 72. 72 epi is generally the best setting for 60/2 silk woven in a twill pattern. Since I am weaving this crackle in what is essentially twill fashion, 72 would be the right sett. And it worked quite well for the art pieces.

But weaving a much wider piece at the same sett as a narrow piece would, for me, create difficulties. More difficult because it would be easier for the closely sett warp ends to hang up on each other and so create bad sheds. It would also be much harder to pack in the weft on the wider piece than on the narrow piece. So I have decided to make life a bit easier for me and sett this shawl at 60 epi. I will also consider using a temple to help with both issues.

Changing the epi from 72 to 60 will in and of itself make the blocks a bit wider. But my inclination is to make the blocks even wider because of the larger proportions of the shawl. So I am for now settling on 10 units per block. With 4 ends in an individual crackle unit, plus 1 accidental end at the end of any given block, that would result in a block being 41 ends wide. That means a block would be approximately 2/3-inch wide. With 44 blocks, I would get a shawl requiring 1,804 ends, four more ends than I had originally planned on in order to achieve a shawl with a final width (off loom and washed) of 28”.

4. ORDER OF THE BLOCKS

I have also made another design decision regarding the blocks. I had intended on trying ordering the blocks differently from that in the art pieces. There they were aligned in straight twill order, but reflected:

A B C D E F G F G F E D C B A

And in reflecting, the center of the scarf had some repeating blocks which created a change in the design there. Always wanting to try something a little different, I started to think about changing the order. But then sanity prevailed. The weaving itself is going to be a challenge, and by weaving, I mean, the planning of the treadling combined with the colors. I have physically available to me what can happen with threading twill order reflected. But not any other kind of threading. So I am going to stick to the concept of straight twill reflected.

But just how and where and how often that reflecting process will happen—in other words, the actual block order—I have not decided.

Related Posts:
Temples
Temples (these are two different posts!)
Much Ado About Not a Whole Lot
Threading Four-Shaft Crackle
8 Crackle Blocks on 4 Shafts


"Design Continued: How Many Blocks?” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving
and was originally posted on February 5, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina

2 comments:

fibresofbeing said...

It's very interesting to follow all your design decisions plus the reasoning behind them. Plus there's always the little thrill that right up to the last moment you can change your mind and direction :)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Yes, and I am, even now, thinking of going back to the original width of the blocks..........sigh...........