Patterned gauze weave – Choosing a direction

December 29, 2012

Graphed pattern using graph paper and pencil

It immediately became clear, upon graphing the gauze weave draft, that the rigid heddle loom was going to impose its own limitations upon this effort.  Not having any direct experience with weaving with a rigid heddle, that had not occurred to me until that point.

Each line in the paper pattern at right represents 4 warp threads.  My rigid heddle is 10 ends per inch and is 21 inches wide, giving me a maximum warp ends of 210.  The partial pattern as drawn is 340 warp ends.

It appears that my choices for moving ahead with the first sample are as follows:

  1. Warp the entire pattern as drawn on my floor loom.
    • Pro:  Use a finer yarn and a sett, something that I think approximates the extant piece more closely.
    • Pro: See more of the pattern as it emerges.
    • Pro: Uses a loom I am familiar with warping.
    • Con: Project isn’t portable. (I want to be able to demo it at an upcoming SCA event.)
    • Con: Ties up my big loom until the sample is completed.  This is hand-manipulated lace; I anticipate that progress will be slow.
    • Con: I don’t learn how to warp up and use my rigid heddle loom.  Part of the reason I picked this project was to be able to incorporate learning about rigid heddle in this process.
  2. Warp a subset of the pattern and weave as drawn on my rigid heddle loom.
    • Pro: Learn how to warp and weave on the rigid heddle loom.
    • Pro: Project is portable
    • Con: Unknown whether weaving a partial pattern is enough to understand the mechanics of the pattern.  By this, I don’t mean leno, as a technique, but the pattern itself.  One of my goals is to understand the development of the pattern on the loom without having to refer to a paper graph.
    • Pro/Con:  will have to use a heavier yarn, however this could make the hand-manipulation of the pattern easier and quicker.
  3. Modify the leno technique, i.e. instead of using 4 threads, use 3 or even 2.  This is the least attractive of the options, in my opinion.  After all, the main point of the exercise is to teach myself leno in the manner of the original artifact.

As I’ve been thinking through the goals for the project, (weave on a rigid heddle loom, learn leno, create a piece based on the Shanpula artifact) I’ve believe the project will need to be broken down into 3 separate phases.

The first phase has to do with learning the techniques necessary to complete the piece.

The second phase has to do with sampling as closely as possible the yarns and sett to be used to recreate the piece.

The final phase will be producing the recreated weave.  I’m undecided on what the final project will be.  It might be a scarf, a shawl or even enough yardage to recreate the Shanpula shirt entirely.

For now, I’ve decided to go with option 2 – warping a subset of the pattern on the rigid heddle loom.



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