SUPPLEMENTARY WEFT PATTERNS-the tutorial.
You may remember these designs from a previous post on supplementary weft patterning. Now I am happy to present the promised tutorial on supplementary weft patterning together with a tiny project idea-key fobs.
This technique definitely falls into the category of those which are within the reach of beginners. We weave a simple plain weave band and then ”paint” in some motifs with an additonal weft.
To weave bands decorated with patterns made with a supplementary weft, I start off with a warp prepared for plain warp faced weave. For this tutorial, I have used strong primary colors which show up well in photos. My yarn is 24 wpi mercerized crochet cotton. The blue base, seen below, has a pale yellow stripe next to each edge. As I used my mini portable warping board, I have just enough warp to make two key fobs. Instead of a shed rod I am using a simple shed loop and I have put the end loops on a needle to have a smooth rather than fringed start.
You can see more about the needle start in this previous post.
We introduce the color of our choice as the supplementary weft with which to make our patterns. I am using doubled strands of embroidery floss which work really well with the 24wpi plain weave base. The supplementary weft always needs to be a lot thicker than the main weft. Embroidery floss is thick, lies flat and gives good coverage. Looking at the photos below, you will see the difference in width between the blue warp and weft threads and the yellow supplementary weft. The blue weft will continue to form the structure of the plain weave while the yellow independently forms the motifs.
THE PATTERN CHART (All the pattern charts for these projects can be seen here)
You may recognize this diamond chart from my double weave projects.
For supplementary weft patterning, we need to look at the chart in a slightly different way. In double weave the yellow spots would indicate the warps that need to be picked.
However, in this technique the yellow spots within the diamonds represent each warp that needs to be dropped in order to expose the supplementary weft.
Now let’s see this in action……..
I have opened the heddle shed and placed my beater within and I am using a pointed stick to help select and drop my warps. Reading the pattern chart from right to left and starting at the bottom, I see that I need to keep the first six warps, then drop one, keep one, drop two, keep one, drop three and so on across the row. (Note the zigzagging yellow line on the right hand edge of the pattern chart. See how it moves to the left and right as it zig zags its way up the chart. Look at the white stripe in my blue bland and see how it too zig zags.In the first row of pattern on the chart the yellow line is leaning to the left. This indicates in which shed you must start your pattern. One shed will have the stripe veering left and the other will have it veering right. Look to see in which shed your stripe veers to the left and start creating your pattern in that one.)
If you are planning your own designs, as a general rule, it is best not to have weft floats that span more than four warps. This of course will depend on how fine a yarn you are using and the purpose of the piece you are weaving. You need to consider that long floats on a key fob or bag will easily catch on things whereas on a hatband, for example, they may not be a problem. You should also take in account the fact that floats over a single warp, for example the points of the triangles in my sample design here, can barely be seen. Try to have your weft floating over a minimum of two warps.
Below are some more key fobs that I have made in a variety of techniques and yarns ranging from 12 wpi mercerized cotton to doubled sewing thread. I weave a few now and then to add to the collection and have them handy as gifts for my friends here, or back in Australia or for other travelers I meet on the road in South America. Some are finished and some are yet to be braided and sewn.
Two can be made on one warp. First I weave one and then I move the shed loop to the other side of the heddles, turn the loom around, pass a needle through the end loops and start weaving from the other end. I cut between the two small weavings when I have finished and then braid the ends or leave them as fringe.