Making messages - other ideas

Weaving actual letters is not the only way of incorporating messages in a woven cloth.

As you know, I weave shawls with double layers, making the messages in Morse code. (And, in case you thought Morse is "out" - read a blurb about Morse-It, a new iPhone App, here. And no - I don't even own an iPhone, but I found it funny!)

Another way is "name drafting" - nearly all weaving software has some version of turning letters into overshot patterns.

The idea can be used in many ways - use colours, as does Bonnie.
Leigh has used bar codes - read here.

.... .- ...- . ..-. ..- -. .-- . .- ...- .. -. --. -- . ... ... .- --. . ...
(Here is one place to de-code the above message)


Latest woven words

This last winter, I decided that the third of the chairs should have a horsehair fabric with text. (Why horsehair? Oh - tradfitional, expensive and - today - uncommon) (Why text? Oh - because I can...)
After consulting the upholsterer it was decided that the horsehair should go from front-to-back on the chair. I also decided that the words should be in English. (Why English? - oh, hoping for worldwide fame... more people understanding English than Swedish?)


I felt that blocky letters (like for instance Arial) was too, I don't know, sinple-looking? - and besides, whenever I can, I use Garamond.
Decided on the words: SEAT, BACK - but what to put on the back side of the chair? CHAIR was one obvious option.

To make the draft, I used PCW: wrote the words in different ways and sizes, saved them as .bmp files, imported to sketchpad in PCW. The first thing was to get a draft that could "write" all my words in max 14 blocks (as I have a 16-shaft loom).
I soon found that lower-case letters were more block-hungry than upper-case.
After some experimenting I decided on Garamond 14 - that gave me 13 blocks, which meant I could use the 14th to put in the exclamation marks. I wanted them to give the surface a more "rounded" apperarance.

But... this time total size was very important - the words had to fit the chair.

So - sample time. Being adventurous, I wound the whole warp, but wider (to have room for making the sett closer) and significantly longer (to have room for many amples). I used a thin 3-ply merc cotton of unknown number (looks approximately the same grist as 30/2 cotton) in several shades of bluish pink - lilac. For the pattern warp I used it doubled and sett it at 12 "working ends" per cm.

For the first sample I used the draft exactly as it was.

The height of the letters was ok, but they were waaay to wide - . I tested using black and also one of the warp yarns for tabby.

As horsehair fabric can shrink a lot when the tension is off (the stiff hairs will force the warp to do all the "undulating"), I let the fabric sit without tension for 24 hours before evaluating the sample. The shrinkage was only about 8%, which meant I could now start to calculate the actual length of my letters.

I had to shorten the design. The letters had to be made narrower, the A could be made to start "under" the C and so on. I shortened the pattern area about 20%, and also softened some of the blockiness.

Lots of "fixing" later, I could start to weave. One pick with three (and only three) hairs, tabby pick in black cotton. Next pick three (and only three) hairs, tabby.
This may be one of the slowest projects I have ever woven... but, if I may say so myself, the result was worth it!


First attempts at weaving words

This was almost 10 years ago. The AVL was new to me, and (of course) I wanted to jump in at the deep end.

So I decided to weave "open" and "closed" signs for my shop. I mean(t) - how difficult could it be? I had some nice weaving software, and a computerized loom... so on I went.
Doing the design was no problem. The software could handle letters, and after testing various typefaces and sizes I had all my letters done, none requiring more than 13 blocks. (Multi-block summer & winter was sort of new to me, too. Before the AVL I had - still have - a 16-shaft countermarche with "only" 20 treadles)

On to weaving.
Unfortunately I have no pictures of my first try (tries), but it came out backwards. (Or maybe both backwards and upside-down - I can't remember, but I was really confused)
Totally confused, I tried to understand what was happening.
Tried to do all sorts of things to my design, but could not get the letters to come out correctly. I still don't know why my first "t" came out mirrored...
Started thinking, tried the draft with pen and paper... until the AHA-moment came: the difference between draw-UP and draw-DOWN.

The Swedish way (draw-UP) shows what happens when you weave, as you weave it: the first pick is nearest to you (the weaver), then the design develops upwards (on the paper) or away from you (on the loom). WYSIWYG, as they call it in other applications :-)

After too much work (considering it was a short and narrow piece of weaving), I finally had my signs.
I did the "open" double-sided (and no - it doesn't work to use the back side. I had to weave two pieces)

Nowadays, if I have a directional design, I always (well - nearly) remember reverse the weaving direction.


Plan B

I had warped for 5 message shawls - or so I thought. Obviously the messages (and the fringes) had got a bit longer than what I had reckoned - but the thrums were a bit too long just to cut off.
So I decided on Plan B - and I can always use another shawl myself, right?

Of course it should have a message. KORT (short) ought to fit.
As a joke on myself I let the marks get shorter along the text. The closing T (long) is only two picks longer than the first "short".

When cut, the cloth measured almost 85 cm. I had decided to join the ends with the fringes going through loops - and now I decided to make it into a Moebius strip. So, first the ends got hemmed, the fringes twisted with temporary slip knots.

I made loops on both the white and the black hemmed ends. (Have you ever wondered why there is "buttonhole twist" threads to be had, try making 36 buttonhole stitched loops with ordinary sewing thread - then you'll know...)

A Moebius strip is a loop without outside (or inside). It is made by taking a long strip, making a half turn, then joining the ends. So I made the half turn, then threaded the white fringes through the loops on the black end, and vice versa. - Maybe I should not have used temporary slip knots, it seems I lost a bit of the original twist when the fringes were tied together two-by-two.

All this done, it was time for the wet finishing. As usual, the fringes came out the washing machine in one big mess... but it was a lot easier to un-tangle fringes that are attached at both ends :-)

It can be worn long, with the knots on the fringes at the looped end - or it can be worn short (as in the top picture)


Six selvedges, but how many layers?

Some years ago I was a member of Complex weavers' double weave study group. The challenge was "3-D-construction".
So... my idea was to make a shawl: two layers, with the bottom layer forming "fins" coming up through the top layer. Like this:

I wanted to weave 2 picks per layer, which meant a contruction with 6 shuttle-passes in the bottom-and-fin layer per two picks in the upper layer. The sketch below illustrate the shuttle passes in the yellow layer. The dots mark where the shuttle exits the shed(s).

After much tinkering, I had a draft. NOTE: the colours are there only to make it easier to "read" the structure. In the draft below, the bottom layer (yellow in reality) ha a brown warp, the "fins" have a red warp, and the upper layer (orange in reality) is purple. I gave the six yellow shuttle passes three different colours. (Click on picture to get a larger version)

I used, I believe, cotton 16/2 at 10 ends per cm per layer, which means I had a total of 20 epcm where the layers were "just" double, and 30 epcm where the fins were.

It was time to weave - and IT WORKED!!
Below is the first yellow pass - from the right selvedge through the first fin:

Below is the tird yellow pass - the first fin is done, now the shuttle goes in the lower layer through the second fin:

The first orange pass - from right to left, just a straight layer:

Unfortunately I hadn't really paid attention to the reverse side of the construction. Construction-wise, it looks kind of okay - but it is boring... a boring flat yellow layer.
This is (so far!) the only shawl I have made that has a very obvious "wrong" side...