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|| Elizabeth Watt
||4/8 and 2/16 cotton warp; 4/8 and 2/16 cotton, 2/8 used double, weft
I like towels as usable samples of structures that are new to me because even a failure will probably still dry dishes. Diversified Plain Weave (using Madelyn Van der Hoogt’s “new DPW threading and treadling” see Weaver’s Summer 1997) is a really fun structure I wanted to play with. It has a simple 3 thread unit in both warp and weft that lends itself to using block designs. A post on Facebook by Robyn Spady led me to a document on handweaving.net – Block Drafts from Heinrich Leisy’s Pattern Book – where I found a 4 block profile draft that appealed to me. I used Fibreworks to interpret it as a DPW draft. The warp is 1 thread thick (4/8 cotton) and 2 threads thin (2/16 cotton) repeated across. I wound the 3 threads at once to make chains that I then handpainted using MX dyes in shades of green for the main warp and navy for accent stripes. I did 5 towels and a large sample on the warp, playing with different weft colours for each one. The weft sequence is 2 shots 2/16 on plain weave treadles followed by one shot of 4/8 on a pattern treadle. My Tempo Treadle was indispensable for keeping my place in the very long treadling sequence. The neatest thing about this structure is the colour effect. There is very little blending of warp and pattern weft colours so choices that would otherwise get muddled in a weave structure like plain weave (e.g. red pattern on the green background) actually work quite well. The thin threads are thin enough that they don’t seriously skew the background colour, either, though next time I might try a thin weft in a colour and value close to the warp colours to make it disappear even more and I might try an even finer thin weft (2/20 or 2/30). Note that the first towel looked sleazy on the loom so I cut it off and washed it to check. It shrank quite a bit in both length and width and filled in nicely with a beautiful hand.
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