Final update on the Kostrup weaving

Sunday was the moment the weaving came off the loom. Total woven length is 1.36m.  And the wool used in the brocading is the same weight as the wool used in the weaving, except that the brocade uses doubled threads.  For the weft I used 60/2 silk, and in a next product I might go thinner still.

Kostrup weaving fresh off the loom

As you can see from this first picture, I handled the colour changes by cutting the brocading thread at the end of each colour.  Each woolen brocade thread passed through one weft after it’s done brocading; given the stickiness of this wool, that should be more than enough to anchor it in place. In some cases, like the small triangles, you use two colours at the same time; even beating extra hard I struggled to get both brocading wefts to lie in the weft without a smidge of gappage.  In a next attempt, I think it might be better for those areas if the brocading weft does not go the width of the band, but instead goes only part way.


On the other hand, once the band relaxed off the loom, the occasional gaps between successive lines of brocading improved already.
Kostrup weaving with threads trimmedTrimming the ends of the brocading threads carefully,  you can see that the brocading threads are visible on the back only where it moves from pick to pick; I dropped the brocading threads two cards from the edge (or halfways through the 4 card selvage), so that there wouldn’t be any colourful bumps on the very end.

Next step is to take it to the post office tomorrow and mail it off, and then I want to experiment with some pattern variations.

Continuing the Kostrup weaving part 3

Progress on weavingProgress remains painfully slow, although the netting needles have helped tremendously in picking out the pattern, and I have finally developed a rhythm of sorts.

By evening last night I had finished the first 30 cm, which was one repeat of the patterns in the paper.  I’m going to weave about a 3cm break and then repeat the set of patterns.  Three repeats should get me pretty close to a meter.

The biggest problem so far is that the wool sticks to itself, and so I am having to reverse direction sooner than I am used to, just to keep the wool from felting.

Well, that and occasionally a card sneaks in a quarter turn, and it takes me a while to notice and fix it.

Losing track of time …

We’re heading to the middle of February, and time has been getting seriously away from me.  Gulfwars XXV is just over a month away, and there’s a lot I have to get done before then.

I’m teaching a week long series of tabletweaving classes; we start warping on Monday, and end on Friday with 3/1 broken twill, stopping to play with simple patterns, as well as Egyptian Diagonals and doubleface before we get there.

Which means I have been writing teaching handouts; it was time to take some of the old ones out and refurbish them.  And I’ve added a new one which introduces some very simple patterns on the same warp you can use for the fancier patterns: Tabletweaving Starter Class Handout.


And while working on that, I also found an old class handout from a few years ago, that explains how to play Rithmomachy (Rithmomachy Class Handout)- a game that was played from the 11th through the 17th century, primarily in monastery schools, where it served as an excellent way of reinforcing students’ abilities to add, subtract, and factor.  I keep wondering if we could reintroduce the game to modern students …

Using inkscape to draft tabletweaving patterns

I draft a lot of patterns for tabletweaving, and the way I like to display the pattern includes both the turning directions and a guideline as to what the pattern should look like.

When I first started drafting patterns, I would work in pencil on gridded paper where each square represented one card in one row; first I would outline the main shapes, and then use a highlighter to add the turning directions for each card — highlighted for backwards, not highlighted for forwards. The biggest downside was that even at 5 squares per inch, a sheet of standard letter paper didn’t really hold room for a lot of cards. And heck, the squares could be smaller in any case.

I use computers a great deal, so casting around for solutions I experimented (briefly) with spreadsheets and discovered that this was too fiddly for me. Then I discovered Adobe Illustrator, which is a vector based graphics editor that has all the bells and whistles one could desire. Sadly, it also had a price tag to match, and I was at the time a graduate student, and student discounts are nice, but not *that* nice.

Which brought me to inkscape which is free, opensource, and available for Windows, Mac OS, and most importantly linux, aka my operating system of choice.  Inkscape is a very powerful program, but I take advantage of a limited number of features.

blank_patternI use layers extensively, as each part of the pattern is in its own layer, including the grid. In fact, I usually use the following layers from top to bottom:

  • Grid lines – black grid lines 0.5 px wide
  • White grid lines – white grid lines 3.5 px thick
  • Pattern – one layer per colour to make colours easy to manipulate
    • Colour 1 – line 3 px wide
    • Colour 2 – line 3 px wide
    • Rough Pattern
  • Threading – the colour in the dots indicates the colour of thread in the two top holes.
  • Greyscale – used to indicate the turning directions forward and back.  Grey squares are turned towards the weaver, and white squares means the cards are turned away from the weaver.

Setting the layers up in this way allows me to take advantage of the order in which they’re drawn (bottom up) so that the diagonal lines I draw in the pattern colours become small individual diagonals.

rough_patternOnce I have the layers set up and the grid built I usually save the file as a blank.svg file, so that I don’t have to keep rebuilding the grid.

In this case, I’m planning a very simple pattern where the cards turn continuously in one direction until twist builds up, and then they reverse direction. I’ve roughed it in and now it’s just a matter of adding the colours.

finished_patternThe basic design has all cards threaded the same way with two dark and two light colours, and we will be turning the cards forwards 12 times, and then backwards 12 times.

pattern_2In this simple variation, we have turned every second card around its vertical axis, so that half the cards are threaded from left to right, and the other half are threaded from right to left.

Weaving Class 19 Dec, 2015

Today I am teaching two classes on tabletweaving covering the methods of doubleface and brocading.  This post is primarily intended as a resource for that class, and includes links:

Some Actual Inkle Weaving …

‘Tis the day after Thanksgiving and it was more than time to unwarp the loom; I had tried to set up for some inkle weaving, but had horribly miscounted, and nothing was working right, and I’d put up the loom (on the top of a six foot bookcase so it would stop taunting me) until I was ready to face it.
And today it was finally cool enough on the porch to enjoy sitting outside in the fresh, fragrant air and unwind the warp onto four cones while admiring the lizards as they hunted bugs.  The joys of living in the south definitely preclude snow.
Threading Pattern
Closeup of Chains and startAfter unwarping, I warped up a simpler set-up as seen in this pattern.  The yellow and white threads are the pattern threads, and the background is red and black.  With simple inkle weaving I end up with short yellow and white bars on a red and black background.

However, add a few extra loops and we can turn this into something more interesting.  One set of loops went around pattern strings 1, 2, 5, and 6 of each colour, and the other went around pattern strings 3 and 4.  Now when inkle weaving, you alternately push the open strings below and above the heddled strings to make the shed.  But to make this pattern, when the open strings are pushed down, the loops are pulled back up to create floats.  By alternating between sets of loops, I could create squared off boxes, that look like chains if you tilt your head sideways a little.



IMG_20151127_150644801In this picture showing more of the loom, you can see how I’ve run large kilt pins through the two sets of supplemental loops so that I only have to grab one pin or the other as needed.

Now all I need to do is find a good tv-show to marathon, and I can finally finish this weaving project.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that …

First off, I’ve been finding interesting articles all week, and collecting them, so without further adieu, a few links:

Secondly, I’ve been (unsuccessfully) trying to design knotwork in the Snartemo 4 colour technique, but in the process ended up digging out a lot of my old 3/1 broken twill notes. So here a very brief explanation of how I weave 3/1 broken twill.

In 3/1 broken twill, patterns will have a light and a dark colour. Each of the pattern tablets is threaded with two light and two dark colours, just as one does for doubleface.  But then, using Collingwood’s 2 pack method, the cards are divided into two groups: the odd numbered cards form one group, and the even numbered cards form the other. Each group turns as a whole; colour changes are created by flipping a card around its vertical axis – which reverse the threading – rather than by changing turning direction.


Setting up the two groups:

  • In each group flip the cards as needed so that they alternate S and Z threading.
  • In the odd group, turn the cards so that the background colour goes through the two holes closes to the weaver.  This is the “vertical” position, because the two holes threaded with the background colour are one above the other (aka vertical if the warp is held horizontal).
  • In the even group, turn the cards so that the background colour goes through the two top holes.  This is the “horizontal” position, because the two holes threaded with the background colour are beside each other (aka horizontal if the warp is held horizontal)

Turning Directions:

The cards are turned in a few turn repeat.  Each of the two groups moves 2F/2B, but there is an offset because of the differing starting positions.  Repeating this turning should yield a solid-coloured band with a structural diagonal.

Turn Odd Group Even Group
1 Forward Forward
2 Forward Back
3 Back Back
4 Back Forward


250152_198275326971392_2012513524_nI draw my patterns on a rectangular grid with a brick like pattern; Tree with Birds Pattern is a  pattern that uses 32 cards, but because of the symmetry the setup is modified slightly so that the second set of 16 cards completely mirrors the setup of the first 16 cards

In the pattern, each column represents one card over all the many turns; each rectangle represents that card for two turns.  Note how the odd and even rectangles are offset, because of the offset turning directions.  In the right side of the pattern you can see the changes needed for the colour changes; if the next rectangle switches from white to grey or vice versa, flip the card.
But that would give you some ugly edges, so sometimes we also need to flip the card when the colour is horizontal rather than vertical.  Those flips are represented in the left half of the pattern by the blue < in a rectangle.