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Posts from the ‘Inkle Weaving’ Category

A return to inkles

Saori style weaving wasn’t the only style offered over the recent school holidays in the studio. Katie ventured into some inkle loom weaving producing a lovey braid and a friendship band of her own design all in under two hours! Her grandmother, Dianne, is continuing to weave a beautiful teal pre-wound for a top and is almost at the cut off.

I have done ALOT of inkle loom weaving in my past so it was quite delightful and relaxing to warp up in the strong colours for the weave. As inkle loom weaving is most suited to warp faced weaves the colours remain themselves, totally undiluted by a weft thread. Warp faced weaves are a powerful ‘hit’ of colour and are very suited to strong dye techniques on the yarn before weaving. If you have an inkle loom or can make one up from a cardboard box here are some instructions. The very word ‘inkle’ is appealing mainly because it is Scottish, I believe, and so many Scottish phases and histories are in our language. Just an inkling.


Converting an Inkle loom for Saori style weaving

I’ve done ALOT of weaving on inkle looms over the years and even had a comprehensive exhibition with them many years ago. I think the inkle loom is another very accessible loom for new weavers. It’s only  drawback for some, is it’s limit in width.

By default, the inkle loom does warp faced weaves. This means the warp (the thread under tension)  is so close together that the weft threads aren’t seen.  Beautiful pick up patterning can be done on this type of set up. But to force the warp threads apart you need to convert the loom with ‘spacers’ so you can weave the weft to and fro, to display its own ways. Read more

Inkling Workshop

Nikki - New Inkle WeaverThe Textile design and weave workshop was beyond great. It was so wonderful to have a group of students, even for such a short time,  that were excited by the prospect of learning how to create and design textiles for the first time. This is something I haven’t experienced for a while as I’ve been teaching subjects that aren’t so immediately hands on and creative like weaving. I didn’t even have to engage them as they were highly motivated and ‘self primed’ when they got there!

Nikki, pictured here, designed, warped and completely wove off her first textile in the 4 hours, closely followed by all the other new weavers.
All the weavers wove the same design but used different colour selections, each full of vitality and individuality. Each wove a different self into the work, which was particularly rewarding to my teaching persona. What a way to see experiements and variations in colourways without doing it yourself.

The next workshop is on Saturday 14 November and I can cater for more advanced or experienced weavers too, if you let me know beforehand. For beginner everything is supplied for a small fee.

Sticky Inkle Textile Design

I’m teaching a Beginners Weave workshop with Inkle and Saori weaving at Adult Education in Taree on Thursday (10 September)  and wanted the participants to explore textile design in a quick, easy, taster sort of way. I thought about coloured pencils and paint but the restricted time of the workshop didn’t really suit this approach. So I opted for adhesive coloured board which is easy to find in the abundance of scrapbooking supplies.

Essentially I use cut strips of coloured card to represent stripes which are the basic building blocks of  all warp faced textile design such as those woven on an Inkle loom. These can be any colour or multiple gradings of the same colour or any width. It’s best to combine a number of different widths for visual interest.

The next basic building block is the horizontal bar. These bars alternate with 2 colours only i.e, black and white, and are created by threading one black, one white etc. These can be different widths and by doubling up on a colour in the middle of the bar you can interupt the bar, changing its look.

The Clarity of Pattern Expression

Celtic Knot InkleI am revisiting this post on Celtic Knot Textiles because of my participation in the Inkle Weaving Workshop I’ve been doing with Steve Kennett at the Online Guild. Also see Sara Lamb’s Celtic Knotwork.

I’ve always found pick up labourious. Even though the results are worth it. It seemed that the arrangement of Steve’s working patterns made the pick up easier and quicker. But why?  I looked at how I structure my working pattern notes in comparison to Steve’s method and found some fundamental clues to good instructional design. It’s the human mind at work. It’s also the availability of computer programs to more of us. Allowing us to present information in a more highly visual way.

This is the warping diagram for this Celtic Knot pattern. The P’s represent a thicker warp for the pattern followed each time by two thinner threads on the open and heddles. Steve also had a better visual and symbolic style of writing warping patterns but I haven’t included it here.

The first pattern diagram is the type I usually use and is a common convention. It provides a reasonable visual of how the pattern will look (axonometric graph paper is even better for this), which is valuable. The diagram only focuses on the pattern threads as the others take care of themselves with the shedding device on the inkle loom. Starting at the bottom, with the UP shed, you can see 12 pattern threads at our disposal for manipulation into a design. But that is where the working diagram ends. It’s up to the weaver to figure out on each row which pattern threads should be picked up or dropped down. So every row I have to refocus attention. I usually convert this pattern gird to written notation like 2,1,5,1,2,1, for each row so my fingers can work quickly through the threads but if we see things in a direct visual way it saves the struggle. This type of diagram is effective for showing a representation of how the weave will look and contains the information for weaving it but doesn’t really assist us greatly in actually weaving each row….the working diagram.

In contrast Steve’s diagrams actually inform you about the process. Only the affected pattern threads on each row are marked and the notation tells you whether the pattern thread is picked up or dropped down. Steve has also used colour to further alert us to the rhythm of the pattern. This type of notation is a true working pattern diagram but doesn’t display the ‘look’ of the completed weave very well. It’s a great format to work directly onto the loom.


Inkling Again

I’m still enthralled with the little inkle workshop and now I’ve done a pattern that has pickup and drop down on it. I think I can weave one a night.

Some of you (thank you Peg) may have noticed an inability to comment on my previous post. Well I’ve looked into it and I’m none the wiser. The post took over 1.5 hours to write and kept doing strange things. Then in the end it refused to save my last parting and eloquent lines, which you will never see. So I went with the flow and decided they weren’t important after all.  So the computer says “no comments on that previous post.” However, I’m not really keen to assign wisdom to computers like we have to the god ECONOMY. I’m just not worrying concerned about it’s inability to deliver. I hope you will all understand.

Alison has just included me in a Bella Award. Thank you Alison. Now I’m parting with eloquence and …… I just can’t think of anything more.

The Ultimate Stress Breaker ~ Inkles

Inkle in ProgressI’ve had a stressful week this week for no particular reason much, except for life and the demands and losses it imposes on us!

So it was such a welcome reprieve to warp up my little inkle loom and weave a pick up pattern to Steve Kennett’s instructions at the Online Guild May workshop on Inkle weaving.

The instructions were beautifully elegant and motivating with succinct pattern drafts very clearly illustrated. The weave progressed so f a s t!  Using a warp of 4 ply soft knitting cotton, with the 11 pattern warps doubled.

Inkle Pick UpI’ve done alot of inkle weaving over the years so I find the loom dependable and easy to use. So much so that I’ve decided to do day workshops for the local Adult Education College latter in the year. This little loom offers a realistic entry to weave design and handweaving in general. So many patterns and ideas can be tried on it and it costs very little to set it up. I’ve got 10 little looms for workshops, which I’ve also used at schools.

Celtic Knotwork for Textiles

When I was on holiday I wasn’t
motivated to write much in the way of a travel diary, it took all my brain
to just take in the sights.

However I did manage to doodle and draw some of my own celtic knots based
on all the beautiful decorative stonework in Scotland and Ireland. The
craft of stonemasonery in these countries have a wonderful past and continuing
tradition.My free, asymetrical design captured how I perceived Ireland.
Although I was only there for a few days it seems a place which is ‘re-knotting’
itself into something new and perhaps unknown. Ireland’s past history and meaning
trying to be seen through the maze of new development and building.

So when I came across Sara Lamb’s celtic knotwork pickup pattern suitable
for an inkle loom I was keen to get going on it. I’m using 20/2 silk doubled
for the ground weave set up and multiple strands of fine space dyed rayon
for each of the 12 pattern threads which need to be much thicker than
the ground threads. It’s coming along well. I’ve included a PDF file on
the threading configuration I used for Sara’s pattern. If you set up the
inkle loom like this you can see that the first pattern row will start
with an UP shed. This makes the pick up and push down of the pattern threads
on each row of the design minimal and works with the threading rather
than against it. [See Sara’s description] Also see Tracy DeGarmo’s site
for a pattern.

I’d like to thank Sara for her wonderful weaving blog, it really encourages
me to get weaving. Next on the loom I’m finishing those bookmarks, and
staring a new painted warp for some woven shibori while knitting scarves.
This is the one I’m doing at the moment.


Celtic decoration at Jerpoint Abbey Ireland
My perception of Ireland today
Getting started on the Inkle loom
The beautiful celtic knot pick up design