Stage 1 Preparation
I had done a little weaving during my previous college course and when I was making an initial scan of this section I looked at the weaving frame and thought that with this method, as you get to the top of the frame it will get more and more difficult to make the shed in the warp. I had the idea of getting hold of a small “toy” loom which had a heddle to lift the warp threads and that I could use long enough warp threads so that I wouldn’t have to warp up too many times. I also thought it would help speed the process up a little and I am always on the look out for labour saving ideas! I discussed this with my tutor and she was happy for me to use this tool and showed me a children’s loom she found in a charity shop.
I managed to find a nice little vintage Spears weaving loom on eBay and decided to go with that rather than a new one which would have been a little more expensive in the end. It is in very good condition, apart from a slightly warped heddle but it does the job. It came with 3 shuttle sticks which helps a lot too.
I am not sure what cotton warp yarn is like and when I went looking for it online it seemed quite expensive. I used a dishcloth cotton yarn in the end as I thought it would be fine here where I was only making a small sample and it would not get too worn through the heddle.
I used my desk legs as a warping frame and managed to warp up, although I found it difficult to tension evenly.
Stage 2 Basic tapestry weaving techniques
This photograph shows my first few inches using some Jamieson & Son shetland yarn (dark green), some cotton knitting yarn (blue/green) and some of the woollen yarn that was in the box with the loom (green, red and blue), possibly part of the original kit.
I continued with the suggested colour change patterns and would like to experiment more with this. I used some chenille yarn and some different types of cotton yarns to see the effect.
I continued with some rows trying out the curved or eccentric weft technique and would like to try some more making larger areas and using more chunky yarns. I used some quite fine woollen boucle and silk yarns, along with some cotton yarn for some of this area and then tried using plastic fruit nets which worked quite well and gave a very shaggy result. There is some narrow green ribbon in here as well to try and fill the gap to straighten the line of the weft for the next stage. Also I would like to see the effect of using an outline colour around the shape.
I next tried the soumak technique which I found quite soothing in it’s repetition. Here I have used one type of wool blend chunky knitting yarn so that you can see the subtle ridge effect made by the knot. I placed the rows such that it made the line look like arrows going one way and then after a few plain rows I did some more soumak to give the impression of the arrows pointing in the opposite direction. With the last row I was using a double weft which raises the surface a little more again. I found with the soumak weaving that the weft that remains to be woven seems to wind it self up very tightly.
The Ghiordes or Turkish knot is something that I have wondered about before, having looked at the production of traditional Flokati rugs from Greece and not been quite sure how it worked. I wove a portion using woollen knitting yarn of several cut strands which produced a thick pile.
I then took the fine orange yarn and tried it using the continuous method. This, I believe is the technique that is used in the Flokati rugs which, once felted, results in the distinctive shaggy pile.
The final portion of this sample is made up of more experimentation with different yarns using soumak and plain weave. Materials include chunky chenille and eyelash knitting yarn, a cotton yarn similar to that used in fine decorative crochet, silk handkerchief fabric, synthetic raffia, old tights and some printed cotton fabric. The chenille soumak section is interesting as I used a woollen yarn in a darker colour which shows through the gaps -another area to experiment with.