Posted by: lavernewaddington | January 22, 2021

Backstrap Weaving – Within These Walls Part 2

There really wasn’t any other name that I could give to this post except “Within These Walls Part 2” because that is pretty much all that I have been working on in the relatively long period of time that has passed since my last post. It’s partly about ikat. That alone is slow stuff. And, then there’s something even slower going on in this project…Andean Pebble Weave pick-up over 1200 ends of 60/2 silk.

Here’s the first finished piece that I showed you in my last post. It may actually end up being the third in the sequence when all is done. I haven’t quite straightened out my idea for Part 3 and so, who knows in which order the three pieces will end up in the final sequence.

Part 2 is the opposite of this piece color-wise. All the red areas will be black and vice versa. You can see the warp in the picture below after it had been dyed and partially unwrapped. I am using two sets of heddles for the two pebble sheds in the Andean Pebble Weave structure. Yep, that’s a lot of heddles but I love making them!

But really, apart from the time spent wrapping the warp threads with tape and dyeing, the thing on which I have probably spent the most time so far is planning what I am calling the “chaos section”. Coming up with a chart for that had me covering my floor with eraser dust. I wanted something that looked like an impenetrable maze. I drew maze-like patterns on my charting paper but the problem was that they looked like patterns. They made sense. I needed something that looked chaotic and unpredictable and I wanted the dominant color to be red. Once I had decided that what I wanted to see was pretty much “a mess”, it was much easier to get it down on paper. Just doodle a mess. Draw lines every which way. It was fun.

The first section was all about birds. And then came the chaos. I love the sheen of the silk that the camera’s flash picked up in this picture. The silk that I am using generally doesn’t show any signs of sheen until the finished piece has been washed and pressed. It can be disappointingly dull on the loom.

Weaving the chaos section wasn’t so much fun until I came up with a way to color code sections and match those to color markings on the charting paper. Then I also discovered that when you are trying to create chaos, nothing really counts as a mistake unless, of course, it is structural.

So, while I do manage to stick very well to what I have drawn on paper, an occasional line that wanders off to the right when the charts says it should be going left is no big deal at all…thankfully!

There will be some hummingbirds hidden within the chaos. I like how some of the chaos shapes can start to look like recognizable forms if you stare at them long enough…one shape might look like a llama, another like a rabbit, another like a demon, another like a flamingo. If you blink, you lose the spot on which you had been focusing and chances are you won’t find the rabbit again! It’s sort of like when you see figures in fast-moving clouds. 

And so, I am creeping along with this. It’s slow but I would say that it’s painlessly so! There’ll be an addition to the story when I get to the center. Once I get to the main black shape that the ikat tape had enclosed, I won’t be picking up across 1200 ends any more and the number of threads of pick-up pattern will gradually reduce. I am sure to feel as if I am zooming along at that point.

You can probably spot the hummingbirds in amongst the chaos in this shot. They are on a journey, the end of which will be revealed when I get to the center of this piece.

I am still not able to capture the richness of the red in these pieces. Once Part 2 is finished, I’ll put the two finished pieces together and get to work trying to figure out how to photograph them better.

I hope I’ll be able to show where those hummingbirds are heading in my next post.

Zoom meetings are still keeping me good company. I so love being able to get together with weaving friends on a regular basis and my Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms workshops have been going really well with students turning out some really pretty bands, some of which have their own original patterns. By the way, the new book that I am currently writing is another project that has been keeping me busy behind the scenes.

Take care everyone and please continue to stay safe.


  1. I love the project. Chaos seems hard to draw. Every time I try to make randomness, pattens always seem to appear. I’m glad your still healthy and able to ‘meet’ with people. Take care and can’t wait for the new book.

    • Yes, I know what you mean. I have that very same problem with randomness. Now that I have this one down on paper my subconscious won’t be able to interfere and direct my hands to rearranging things in a more orderly fashion.

  2. That is fabulous Laverne! Thank you for sharing.

  3. When randomness is down on paper is it still randomness? Nice patterns that remind me of weft ikat that gets out of line.

    • I am not trying to weave ramdomness. I am trying to weave a pattern which to me represents chaos. The randomness came in my drawing of the lines on paper. Now I am following that pattern and replicating it in my cloth.

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