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 weavers who are already producing good warp-faced plain-weave bands with consistent beat and width.
We weave a simple plain weave band and then ”paint” in some motifs with an additional weft.
To weave bands decorated with patterns made with a supplementary weft, I start off with a warp prepared for plain warp-faced weave. Here are some examples with cotton plain weave decorated wth silk, cotton and tencel suplementary weft.
For this tutorial, I have used strong primary colors which show up well in photos. My yarn is 24 wpi mercerized crochet cotton (approx #3 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. Although I use the strands doubled straight off the skein in this tutorial, you might find that you get better coverage in your pattern by pulling out all six threads in each embroidery floss strand and then laying them side by side. This will take out the slight twist that is in the embroidery floss strands and enable it to lie flatter. The supplementary weft always needs to be a lot thicker than the main weft. Several fine strands of thread work better than one thick one. Embroidery floss has 6 fine threads per ”strand”, lies flat and gives good coverage. You want to use something that lies flat more like a ribbon than a round piece of yarn. 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 staggered to the left and the other will have it staggered to the right. Look to see in which shed your stripe veers to the left and start creating your pattern in that one.)
I have put the pattern charts for these motifs as well as the Central Asian and Huni Kuin inspired designs on a separate page. You can design and print out your own blank diamond charts here. I also have oval cell charts there which many people prefer using.
If you are planning your own designs with this weight of warp thread, as a general rule, it is best not to have weft floats that span more than four to six warps. This will change if you use finer yarn for the warp, of course, and the purpose of the piece you are weaving will also play a role in determining how long the weft floats should be. 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.
Two key fobs 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.
As you use finer an finer warp thread, the length of the weft floats can also increase.Here is a project I recently finished in 60/2 silk which allowed me to have floats covering up to 17 warp ends….
Some more projects in cotton using supplementary weft for patterns…