Pulling a Pattern from a Picture

So a friend of mine asked me about the trim in https://www.pinterest.com/pin/120400990016540518/, which is a picture (source unknown, because pinterest) of the neckline of a tunic that has been embroidered and embellished by trim.

Looking at the trim, you can see that the outermost three cards on each edge have been threaded with four threads of the same colour; 2 cards are tan next to the pattern, the outermost card is all black.  Now when I first saw the picture I couldn’t see it up-close, so I didn’t notice that the inner pattern was actually three colours (each card has 2 white, 1 black and 1 dark blue thread), but the pattern is obviously based on the Egyptian Diagonals technique using 10 cards.

Weaving Reversed S keysWeaving S KeysMy first stab at the pattern; the 10 cards are each threaded identically with 2 dark and 2 light, and then arranged so that if all the cards were turned forwards you would get chevrons pointing up.  You can see the starting position below the squares: the two circles represent the colours of the threads in the two top holes; bottom row is closest to the weaver, top row is furthest from the weaver, and the | or / indicates the direction the string travels through the card.

The pattern is read bottom to top, where each square is one column, each row of squares = 1 turn of the pattern.  When the square’s background is grey, the card turn backwards towards the weaver; when it’s white the card turns forwards away from the weaver.  As you can see, most of the time the cards turn together, but there is a central part of the pattern where half the cards turn in one direction and the other half turn in the opposite direction.  It is because of these central 4 rows that the pattern is not twist neutral which is why – if using an inkle loom or similar to weave the trim – a weaver will often alternate between the two versions of the trim, since weaving one copy of each will result in a twist neutral pattern.

Note that the bottom and top 4 rows are not included in the repeat.

s_keys_2s_keys_2_reversedStill, looking at the picture, this pattern made the crossover point of the black X’s awfully narrow, and looking more closely at the picture I could see the crossover point should be wider.  Which is an easy fix: by making the repeating portion of the pattern one row shorter top and bottom, the X’s crossover point becomes wider.  It also fixes the width of the black dots at the sides, which was previously too wide.

(And here the top and bottom 5 rows are not part of the repeat.)

Instructions for a simple 3/1 broken twill pattern without a graph

Diamond in 3/1 broken twill3/1 broken twill is a type of tablet weaving that produces a very pronounced diagonal structure in the weave.  This weave is particularly suitable for designs that are very diagonal, and in this case a friend requested a yellow belt with hollow green diamonds.  In this article I am going to write how I set up the cards and arranged the turning sequences so that the weaving speed was maximized.

To maximize weaving speed, you need to arrange the cards so that they can be turned as a group, and are manipulated as little as possible.  Here, the only manipulation of cards will occur when we flip a card around its vertical axis.

 

Basic Set up

The pattern area consists of 32 cards, each threaded with two dark (green), and  two (yellow) threads.  For the first 16 cards (counting from the left) we thread the cards as below, where the woven area extends to the left, and the warp to the right, and repeating the cycle of four cards four times (since 4×4=16).

Setting up the Cards

Note that cards 1 and 3 “mirror each other” in that they have the threads going through the same holes, and similarly cards 2 and 4 mirror one another.

For the second set of 16 cards we mirror the first 16 from the centre out, so that card 17 is threaded like 2, card 18 like 1, card 19 like 4 and card 20 like 3, and then keep repeating.

Lastly we divide the cards into two packs we call “Odd and “Even”.  The “Odd cards” include all the odd numbered cards from 1 – 15, and all the even numbered cards from 18 – 32.  The “Even cards” include all the even numbered cards from 2 – 16 and all the odd numbered cards from 17 – 31.  Note that all the “Odd” cards should have the light in the front two holes, and all the “Even” cards should have the light in the top two holes.

Basic Setup (short version):

The cards are all threaded 2 dark, 2 light.  Threading alternates in pairs (i.e. SSZZ).  Separate the cards out into two packs:

  • The Odds include the odd numbered cards between 1 and 16 and the even numbered cards between 17 and 32.
  • The Evens include the even numbered cards between 1 and 16 and the odd numbered cards between 17 and 32.

Checking the Setup

If the cards were threaded correctly, all the Odds should all have the light in the front two holes (Top and bottom), the Evens should have all the light threads in the top two holes, and in each of the two packs the threading should now alternate between S and Z.

This position is called the home position. The Odds are in Vertical Front and the Evens are in Horizontal position.

Turning directions

When you first start turning, you want to use the following turning directions.  This should produce a structural background consisting of diagonals meeting at a point in the center.

Pick Oddish Pack Even Pack
1 Forward Forward
2 Forward Back
3 Back Back
4 Back Forward

To reverse the direction of the chevrons, your options are to either flip all the cards in the Even pack when the cards are in the home position or to switch over to the alternate turning sequence, where the Oddish Pack still moves exactly as before, but the Even pack changes directions, resulting in:

Pick Oddish Pack Even Pack
1 Forward Back
2 Forward Forward
3 Back Forward
4 Back Back

It is important that you flip the cards, or change the turning direction, when the Even pack is in the Horizontal position.  Other wise, they all suddenly switch to the foreground colour, which is known as an oops.

Adding the Pattern

After weaving the background for a while, it’s time to start adding the pattern.  Colour changes happen by flipping a card on its vertical axis when it is in Vertical position.  Hence if the light (yellow) thread was in the two holes closest to you, they would now be in the two holes furthest away after the flip.  Also, the threading direction is reversed.

The diamond pattern is very basic.  The first change is made after pick 3: the two center cards – both in the Evenish decl – are flipped.  Then the next turn is made.  (If the points do not make a V, undo the turn, unflip the cards, and weave picks 4 and 1.)

On the next pick, the Oddish cards are in vertical position: flip the middle 2 cards.  They will be the cards just to the outside of the central cards in the Evenish deck.  Weave the next pick.

On the next pick the Evenish cards are in vertical position.  Flip the cards outside the 2 previously flipped cards, and unflip the previously flipped cards.  Weave the next pick.

Keep repeating the flipping of the next outwards cards (and unflipping the current cards) until you reach the width you want.  I’m going to assume that you kept expanding the diamond until the Evenish cards are in horizontal position and you are about to weave pick 1.  Instead of flipping cards, switch from one set of turning directions to the other.

After this first pick, again flip cards as you did before, but instead of flipping the next card to the outside, flip the next card to the inside.  (You’re walking the diamond back to a point.)  And keep going till all the cards are unflipped again.

If you decide not to unflip cards as you go along you will get a solid coloured diamond instead.

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:

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

Patterns:

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.