Posted by: lavernewaddington | May 13, 2022

Backstrap Weaving – Pieces

I am still working on the bag project! But I do believe that I have just warped the very last piece of the puzzle. Then I will be hand sewing everything together. I’ve already made what I feel is a good start on that. While sewing, my mind will be free to start thinking about which project comes next.

The last piece is a band that goes around the mouth of the bag to cover the small pleats that will be in the main body. I really wanted a bag that is less box-like than the usual things I put together with my woven cloth. Using pleats seemed like a way to create a slightly more interesting shape.

Here you can see the warp for the 1 3/4″ band that will encircle the bag. I haven’t yet put in the two sets of string heddles for this sturdy intermesh structure. It’s a dense (complementary-warp) structure of three-span warp floats that can sometimes fool the viewer into thinking it’s plain weave. I might edge it with plain-weave tubular bands when I am done. If I decide to do that, well, I guess that means that this isn’t the final piece after all. There’ll be two tubular bands to warp and apply. I love those tubular edgings and am always looking for an excuse to use them.

The odd-looking thing to the left of the band warp is the left-over warp from the three-color flap piece. I had given myself a bit more comfort room than was necessary in the length of the warp and I am finding it hard to throw this away. I guess I will put it in a bag with the idea of maybe using the yarn for tassels, extra fringe etc. some day. Six months down the track I will discover it in the closet, realize that I am over my attachment to it, and throw it out. Surely I am not the only one who does this kind of thing!

Wide 3-color pebble weave warp.

This is what the warp for the flap looked like on the loom. I was setting up for 3-color Andean Pebble Weave using 1476 ends of 20/2 wool spread over 12 inches…dense! I enjoyed creating the warp but once I was sitting at the loom I couldn’t help wondering what on earth I had let myself in for. I had used the same 20/2 wool for the front, back, and sides of the bag and knew to expect it to be challenging in this warp-faced structure. It is certainly nothing at all like my hand-spun wool that I used for the strap. It had behaved so beautifully! Still, I tend to forget and it’s always a bit of a shock when I attempt to open the very first shed. It was a beast! but I know how to adapt and soon there was a rhythm and I forgot all about the beastliness and just enjoyed watching the little hummingbirds appear.

I didn’t break any warp threads. Dust bunnies appeared on the floor beneath the warp where they caused no harm, but not in the heddles. I used DMC #12 cotton for the heddles.

Bag flap in progress.

I plan to cut the end of the flap into a curved shape. It’s easy to say that now and we will see how I feel once I am hovering over it with scissors in hand. I have to tell you that I am loving fusible interfacing. It helped me to bravely cut away at the gold lining fabric that I wove. However, this flap fabric with its three colors is super dense and I am not so confident about the interfacing’s ability to hold everything together. I don’t know if it is considered a “cheat” using the fusible interfacing in this way. I am just making this up as I go along! This is another piece of the bag that I plan to edge with a plain-weave tubular band. It will reinforce and cover the cut edge. I have used it before on shaped pieces like this in cotton.

Curved flap edged with a tubular band.

I have a tutorial on this blog for doing this kind of thing.

The last repeat before weaving the pattern that will appear on the back of the bag.

Quite a lot of people have been asking me about the reversible three-color pebble weave…

Reversible 3-color pebble weave. The lighter reverse shows up a mistake that the dark side hides petty well. Oops!

I don’t plan to write a tutorial until I have had a chance to teach it in person several times. I find that kind of experience absolutely invaluable when deciding on which aspects I need to focus when writing it all down. I feel that I need to be able to see it through a student’s point of view and feedback from a wide variety of students who have different learning styles is golden. It is quite a step up from the basic two-color structure to the reversible three-color version that I have been doing. What I will say for now is that I have spent YEARS happily exploring the basic two-color version. There’s much that you can do to turn a piece with just two interacting colors into something that looks spectacular and complex. Clever use of color can make it seem like there is just so much more going on. For example, let me show you the beauty that Fenny in the Netherlands has created using the basic method…..

By Fenny in the Netherlands.

I really don’t believe that weaving that pattern in the three-color method could possibly improve on what Fenny has created. The block-style pattern chart for this pattern is in my More Andean Pebble Weave Patterns book. It was my attempt to replicate the very first piece of weaving that I had purchased in Peru back in 1996. It was a scrap of band that was being sold on the street and had been woven in natural wool colors. It is not a faithful replica because I hadn’t fully understood all the possible structures at the time. Still, I liked it enough to include it in the book and I continue to weave this version rather than the entirely faithful one which I have also charted in a different publication.

And if that hasn’t convinced you, I will also pull out this example again with its clever use of color because I love it so much!

By Priscilla Cardon Bradburn

Priscilla has taken several of the most basic shapes that are charted in my Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms book to create her own unique pattern. Her beautiful use of color makes this band even more eye-catching. Again, I can’t imagine the three-color technique being able to improve on this and I love the fact that she has taken these basic building blocks and used them together so creatively.

I will leave you here with a reminder that the following are my two “gateway” books to this technique. The one on the right is for those who weave their bands on standard inkle looms and includes access to video clips. The other one is for those who use ANY kind of loom to weave their warp-faced bands. You should be able to competently weave plain-weave warp-faced bands on your loom of choice before attempting this. There are detailed descriptions of the books on the Taproot Video website as well as a chance to “look inside” at some sample pages. The books are available as PDFs or as spiral-bound books.

LINKS: Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms Complementary-warp Pick-up

Complementary-warp is the name of a category of woven structures in which the two faces of the cloth are structurally identical with colors reversed. Andean Pebble Weave is a complementary-warp structure and just one of the varieties that sits within this category.

Until next time, when I will hopefully be able to show you my finished bag.


Responses

  1. I love how you make things up as you go along. Those kind of projects are my favorite ones! Some projects would never get started if we had to have everything designed before we started.

    • True! Thanks, Cindy. I like looking back at my notes and seeing how much the original seed of the idea has grown and changed.

  2. Your bag’s incredible design and each new accomplishment along the way (like taming this stunningly ambitious three color flap with over a thousand ends of 20/2 wool!) demonstrates such confidence and mastery of your medium. But what impresses me most is your ability to luxuriate in the time it takes to create these phenomenal works. Who else lavishes untold hours on a single creation like this anymore? You inspire us all Laverne! Somewhere , sometime in the distant future I hope there will be a museum that is filled with your work for all to see and draw inspiration from! Or perhaps a traveling exhibit…..I for one would be simply delighted just to see you out and about in the States again, sharing so freely what you have learned through so many patient hours of planning ,designing and creating with sticks and strands!

    • Your comments are always so lovely, Lausanne. Thank you so much. You are right in that I am indeed luxuriating in all this time at home. But I do miss those days on the road visiting and weaving with good friends like you.

  3. Yes I save thrums. No, I do not get over the attachment. I tie presents with thrums and even garbage bags. I weave tiny tapestries with thrums. I make fake warps for the big loom if the thrums are long enough. Love my thrums!
    Kate

  4. Looking at your bag flap, if you stabilize your weaving with the fusible, then stitch just inside where you are aiming to cut, before cutting, this will both help prevent the curve from stretching as well as helping with the fraying. Call the line of small tight stitches an insurance policy. Good luck. I’m sure your end result will be exquisite.

    • Thank you so much for that great advice. I’ll definitely do that.

  5. I use fusible interfacing on the bags I make with my handwoven fabrics. I have also used it when I have made garments for handwovens as well. It gives that extra bit of firmness and confidence when approaching with a scissors:-)

    I have really enjoyed watching you create your bag. Your blog posts are always so informative and entertaining.

    I will watch for more information on 3-color pebble weave as I have been using your books and 2-color to weave straps for musical instruments. It’s so fun having a pretty band on the loom and it feels even better to put a woven strap around my neck when I play. Your books are such a wonderful resource.

    • Thank you, Theresa. The flap fabric is off the loom and I am about to iron on the interfacing. I may have to sit and look at it for a while before cutting! Thanks for your feedback. It’s nice to hear from readers and know that what I write is helpful. It encourages me to keep going and write more.


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