Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Double Weave, is it double the trouble or double the fun?

Please note that the below post in orange was written by Ms. Valerie Streck, I am so grateful to this fabulous woman for letting me quote her quick comment to a post on an ArtFire forum about a possible Double Weave study group. I have found someone who I am bound and determined to get back into weaving (in some form or another.) So here is Vall, and she has some shops on Ebay and ArtFire that you may be familiar with and I feel that her description of Double Weave deserves its very own blog post. As with others before, you bet your ass, I will give Vall a gratuitous Wefty Woman plug, so y'all be sure to visit her sites, and dammit buy something!

Thank you,
Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

**This post is sort of a Part 2 to this one: Primitive Looms and Complex Weave Structures


Hello guys. I’m an ex weaver. I still own a tapestry loom and a small 4 harness table loom, but used to have a beautiful 8 shaft massive colonial Leclerc loom. Had to give it up due to my back not liking it as much as I do. Double weave is actually very easy. It is weaving a folded piece of cloth. It allows for simple, or complex designs (depends on how may harnesses you use) that can be made in widths 2x as wide as your loom.

There is a great book out there called Double Weave Plain and Patterned by Harriet Tidball and I got my copy at

To try and explain it (ok, I am not the best at this) in a plain over and under simple weave you use a repeat of 2 warp threads. (Warp is the threads on the loom under tension; weft is the thread that you weave in and out) Simple weave: over 1 under 2 over 1 under 2 repeat... I hope your following me here. A double weave uses 4 warp threads for a simple over and under. Threads 1&3 are the top layer and 2&4 are the bottom. Basically, you’re dividing your warp threads into 2 single layers. This is much more easily done on a harness loom (you need 4 harnesses) but with a bit of skill, a bit of swearing, head scratching and possible the help of string headles you can pull on, it can be accomplished in a rigid heddle and other simple looms.

I’m not sure if that helped at all.. I wonder if there a you tube video.. off to go see..

Just forgot to add.. Double weave is also used to make tapestries that show up on both sides of the cloth. In that instance you use two different colors for your warp threads 1&3 are one color and 2&4 are another. By picking up the design with sticks (I used to use knitting needles), you can bring the bottom layer up and the upper layer down. In this method, you can use any charted pattern. There’s three main types of tapestry double thread pick up. Single thread, double thread (Mexican) or Finnweave. Finnweave isn’t reversible.

I really miss weaving now.

Basically, most double weave pick up methods form an x. I would have to see a diagram or something. There are lots of forms of DWPU (double weave pick up). Some also use more than 2 layers.

In Toronto, there’s a textile museum that has some historical examples of different dwpu's and I believe the V&A in London does too. I believe the Cooper Union Museum NY has some pieces too.

In the book Double Weave Plain and Patterned, she has pictures of primitive Peruvian looms using the dwpu method. From the picture, it looks like they have simply used 4 sticks as harnesses and have used string headles. By simply pulling up on the harness sticks, you make the shed. Primitive genius.

There’s a good 7 pages of the history and methods of DWPU in the book.

If you have a loom, you really should try it... at least once. It is a lot of fun! I still have a few rugs, table runners and purses I made in DWPU.

-Vall Steck


Is this not a fabulous explanation, and to think the woman wrote this on the fly in a damn forum post...imagine that!!!! I love this woman!

And now for the gratuitous plugging....

Vall's shop is called Chivalry Beads and she sells on ArtFire.

(Dang if it does not have "val" in the shop name, very clever!)

She also has a blog, so be sure to do your best and follow what she has to say!

The following are links to her blog and sites, and thank you warped bitch ya!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Primitive Looms and Complex Weave Structures

I am currently beginning to research for a paper or possible article on
comparative woven textiles and culture of various indigenous tribes
throughout the world, specifically regarding the women that weave
these items. Not just the actual weave structures, but the
anthropological aspect of the similarities of these various ethnic
groups. I would like to trace the possible movement regarding the
"culture of warp faced textiles" and relate this to the spread of
peoples, beginning in Africa through to the Middle East and Central
Asia and follow this as it spreads through Northern and Southern Asia,
into Indonesia, as well as into North America, Central America and
South America.

I was reading in Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot (Fall 2008)
about an exhibit currently being shown at the Textile Museum in
Washington, DC.
The article entitled, Timbuktu to Tibet: Rugs and Textiles of the
Hajji Babas, written by Sumru Belger Krody (Shuttle, Spindle, &
Dyepot, Volume XXXIX No. 4, Issue 156, Fall 2008, Handweavers Guild of
America, Inc., pages 29-32).
I have to say the first few sentences really got my attention.
"Textiles, the most universal of all art forms, tell stories about the
lives of people worldwide. As social currency, they contain embedded
messages about an individual's wealth, social status, occupation, and
religious and ethnic associations, as well as the values, codes and
social order of a culture." (p. 29)
This really made me think about the comparative weaving structures,
techniques, and symbolism of various Ethnic Styles of weaving. Navajo,
African Tribal, Peruvian, Arabic, oh there are so many to list, but I
think you get the idea of what I am trying to say...
Because the article was featuring many central Asian woven art, I
became really interested in the Arabic weaving of the nomadic tribes
of the middle east. Many of you may understand what triggered inside
me. I want to learn more about the weavers and the work they produce.
I have studied about Navajo and African textiles, but this was the
first time I actually became aware of the Arabian weaves, almost
entirely produced by the women of the tribe.

So, I have been starting my research on comparative weave structures in indigenous cultures….and I have found some information regarding the use of ground looms and backstrap looms to make a complex cloth such as Double Weave. There is a simple way to produce a single weft double weave on a loom that does not have multiple harnesses. It is a weave structure that is achieved on different continents on the globe. In Northern Africa, Middle East and South America. I am talking about a warp faced double weave that has been discussed by both Martha Stanley and Peter Collinwood.

Stanley, Martha. "The Beduoin Saha Weave and its Double Cloth Cousin", In Celebration of the Curious Mind edited by Nora Rogers and Martha Stanley, Interweave Press, Inc., 1983. Pg 68-79

Collingwood, Peter. The Techniques of Rug Weaving. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1968. Pg 449-451.

This one weft double weave has also discussed in by authors Irene Emery, Ann Pollard Rowe, Grace M. Crowfoot, and Marjorie Cason and Adele Cahlander. I am in the process of tracking down these sources so that I can add them to my research.

I am fascinated by the advance structure of this weave, and how it was discovered. I would love to participate in a group that studies this specific weave structure on simple looms. There are many study groups on double weave that are made by using a loom with 4 or more harnesses. However, I have yet to find one specifically for double weave on a primitve loom.

Since this is the beginning of my journey, I would like to open this post to discussion. Any suggestions or perhaps directions I can look into to find someone to study this technique with please post a comment.

-Wefty Woman

One Warped Bitch


I have found someone who I am bound and determined to get back into weaving (in some form or another)

Her name is Vall, and she has some shops on Ebay and ArtFire that you may be familiar with. I am adding an additional post to Wefty Woman because I feel that her description of Double Weave deserves its very own section. So please be sure to read this additional post : Double Weave, is it double the trouble or double the fun.

As with others before, I will give Vall a gratuitous Wefty Woman plug, so y'all be sure to visit her sites, and dammit buy something!

-Wefty Woman, Your most humble warped bitch...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sley the Dent and Warped a Dog

So I was thinking about the strange terms that we use in weaving. Some of them have made it into everyday language. For example, "it will all come out in the wash" is a phrase that is attributed to weavers. When you take a woven piece off the loom, part of the finishing is to rinse or wash the item. This sets and evens out the weave so that if there was a little oppsie you did while weaving it on the loom, it would work itself out or "come out in the wash".

What other phrases or terms of endearment can you come up with?

We already have a wonderful explanation of the phrase "Sley the Dent" from Dawn of

I will copy her comment here:

Oh wow. As my weaving studio is called "Sley The Dent" and my son develops computer games for a living, I'll have to ask him when "Warp Drive Mario: Sley the Dent" is being released! What a hoot!
I can see the potential, can't you weavers?! For me "sley the dent" brings to mind my inner-Athena defending my loom from warp tangling goblins. Syne must have had similar thoughts for her pod-cast-drama "Buffy the Reed Sleyer".
Oh, I can see a fun (and educational!) weaving game. Go-go-weaving-gadget? Eliminate warp tangling goblins while you make your way through the game levels, wrong answers result in broken warp threads: (1) pick colors for your warp, from the 2000+ pantone possibilities, see how the colors interact when placed beside one another in a virtual warp wrapping. (2) learn about sheep, goats, pineapple, rabbit, bamboo, silk worms, cotton, yak, bison, rayon, nylon, tencel, possum, llama, alpaca, linen, hemp, ramie, and plarn as you pick out fibers for your warp and weft.
(3) Learn about being "green". What does it mean to be an organic cotton or organic wool? What are good fiber growing and dyeing practices vs un-healthy or non-ecofriendly ones? (4)Exercise your mathematical brain bits while you learn about epi, ppi, take-up, tex, shrinkage, yards/pound, meters/kg, and the mystifying 20/2 vs 2/20. (5)???

*A dent is a space in the reed, the reed is a part of the beater. The reed keeps the warp threads spaced in a fixed density. To sley is the act of threading a warp thread through a dent space in the reed. One of the many steps in warping a loom, before you can weave on it.
I think this new idea for a video game is brilliant.

Here is another: "Warped a Dog"

This is when you take an enormous amount of time and planning on paper (but more than likely you did not do a sample swatch) and you warp up a loom to begin what you envision will become a masterpiece. However, your hopes are dashed when you begin to weave and you realize it is going to be one ugly work of crap...(I'm sorry craft.)

So what do you do? Well, after it sits for a while on your loom collecting dust (cause you are totally disgusted with it, but the thought of wasting that yarn keeps you from putting it out of its misery) you get up enough nerve to take those big Gingher know, the ones that are sharp as hell...and you free yourself from the disappointment and frustration of that "dog". You cut that ugly warp of your loom and breath a sigh of relief.

We have all experienced this, in fact I have a "warped dog" starring me in the face right now. Which, I am getting prepared (in other words, building up the courage) to brutally remove from my loom after I finish writing this post.

What other phrases can you come up with?

Start those fingers moving and post one hell of a creative comment. That is my challenge to you, now get on it!
Thank you,
Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

*Edited to add an actual definition of the phrase "sley the dent"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

WTF? Don’t know much about woven cloth…

Now, I realize there are many people who know fundamentally, what exactly is woven cloth; however, what really struck me is how many people do not…

This age of instant gratification and consumerism that we live in has made many of the handicrafts that were once a necessity, something of nostalgic hobby. Whether it is spinning fibers into thread or yarn, and weaving this homespun into cloth to make clothing, blankets and towels… or countless other functional items such as handmade soap, candles, paper, glass, metal pots and pans, wooden bowls. (And let's not forget another homemade specialty that has been popular and essential for generations in my Appalachian backwoods mountain home…moonshine/alcohol.)

Many people, and I would even venture to say that includes many crafters, seem to be ignorant (or perhaps indifferent is a better word) to the amount of time, energy, and skill our ancestors needed to produce a single garment or piece of clothing.

Just this week I have been teaching my son and daughter, they are eleven and ten years old by the way, how to warp and weave an Inkle Loom. It is wonderful to see the excitement and joy of accomplishment by weaving all on their own. My kids understand the degree of complex knowledge and skill involved in producing cloth from raw fiber. They appreciate the time and energy that goes into making that handwoven textile.

Many in my little covert circle of rouge weavers have discussed this very subject.

So…I urge all those who acknowledge this indifferent and ambivalent attitude toward producing handwoven goods:

"Hey get your thoughts together, stop Googling the porn...join in on this discussion and leave a comment dammit!"

What observations have you made about the a lack of understanding within the general public regarding handwoven goods and the amount of skill and effort that goes into creating that wonderful scarf or warm blanket?

Education seems a key component in demonstrating respect and recognition of our particular handcrafted art form…weaving. Let's discuss ways to make a difference and get young people excited and genuinely interested in learning the process of producing textiles.

Any ideas on how we can get these texted crazed youths, working and manipulating threads with those amazingly fast speed fingers?

Cause I sure as hell don't see a new Nintendo Wii game called "Warp Drive Mario: Sley the Dent" being released anytime soon…

-Wefty Woman

One Warped Bitch

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A better description of Wefty Woman.

I have had a few days to think over what it is I want to achieve with this blog. And I wanted to explain more of what direction I want to take this blog towards.

The format for Wefty Woman is simple, think of it as an open discussion and exchange of ideas. Weaving was a skill that was taught by passing down the techniques and tips from one experienced weaver to one who is just beginning. Weaving is also an ongoing challenge of knowledge. We learn new things all the time from other weavers. That is how I see this blog. It is for weavers and non-weavers, experienced and beginner, to come together and just talk back and forth about the topic at hand.

I will not post a blog entry, and then proceed to write a full essay about the topic. I want to learn from reading the words written by the readers of this blog. So use the keyboard, and spend a little of your time writing a comment, to pass on what you have learned to others. Teach me what you know by posting comments, let me learn from others by making comments and asking questions. We may not be sitting next to each with a warp out stretched before us...times have changed...but the idea of learning from one another has not.

I will make a new blog post every few days, usually a short introduction of the topic...and end it with questions to get the conversation going. I want visitors to the blog to learn about weaving by listening, or in this case, reading what experienced weavers have to say.

Thank you,
Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shadow Weave, sounds like a real cool super hero with hair extensions!

So, I would like to welcome everybody to the another Wefty Woman Blog post.

The subject is Shadow Weave. The example above shows a shadow weave in progress.

I want to extend my thanks Ms. Felicitas Sloves. She has been so kind as to suggest this topic and allow me to use her fabulous pictures.
Do I appreciate her for the use of her images and information on warping a loom front to back? Damn right I do.
Will I be so bold as to plug her sites and blog and shops on my Wefty Woman Blog? You bet your ass I will.

That said, here is a link to her Flickr site in which she has produced a series of photographs called "Steps for Dressing a loom front to back". The warp she is using in this demonstration is for an "8-harness shadow weave pattern".

Steps for Dressing a loom front to back

So what exactly is Shadow Weave? According to Ralph E. Griswold, in an article, cited here:

"A Shadow Weave
Weaves of this type produce the appearance
of shadows (which are more obvious on actual
woven fabrics than in images) by alternating light
and dark threads in reverse orders in the warp and

So here are my questions to get the discussion rolling.

Can anyone explain a little more about this pattern of weave?
Is a shadow weave limited to a loom with 8 or more harnesses? Can it be done on a loom with only 2 harnesses?
Is this different than say a Summer Winter pattern?

And now for a gratuitous plugging, the "warped bitch" way:
Get your finger (I am sure you are aware of which finger I will be using...) and click on the following links for Felicitas Sloves:


Etsy Shop:


And with that I give you the floor...

- Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

Friday, January 9, 2009

Crochet and Knitting are not Handwoven...continued

Okay, here is the first topic of discussion for all of those denied access to a very interesting discussion.

I am giving a link to a thread on Etsy that was entitled "Crochet and knitting is not handwoven!" that was OP (originally posted) by CoffeeBreaksDesigns

So, where were we?

The discussion was on the the difference between various forms of fiber art. Some of those being Crochet, Knitting, Handwoven, Bobbin Lace, and Macrame. The main question being, what technique would warrant a handmade item considered a truly "Handwoven" piece of work?

I would like to post the definition that I have found for weaving that I felt was a good starting point.

"Weaving is the process of interlacing one set of threads, the warp, with another set, the weft, which is inserted at right angles to the warp. The loom is the means of keeping the warp threads under tension in a parallel order, and the use of the loom, with its two sets of threads at right angles to each other, sets weaving apart from other methods of producing textiles, such as knitting, knotting or crochet."

Quote above from The Art of the Loom, Weaving Spinning & Dyeing across the World, by Ann Hecht, Page 9,The British Museaum Press, 1989.

Now, Ms. Hecht gives a very good definition of the structure of "weaving", in that there are "two separate threads crossing at right angles to each other."

I feel the loom is a tool utilized to give more control during the process of weaving. A woven item is not only made with threads of fiber. Think of other types of media that can be woven...

I see handwoven, as a structural form where two forms of media are used to intersect each other at right angles to form a whole new tangible/physical/functional item.

That would encompass many forms of a finished product...

So I put this to all you new readers of this covert weaving blog.

Thank you,
Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

What is this crap about?

Hello everybody,

I am riding the wave of attention that has befallen on me, and using it to my advantage. So I like to announce this new blog, it is but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean that is the "blogosphere"...
(note to all that little reference to Charles Dickens)

I am a woman on a mission. I want to get people excited about weaving. It is a real interesting subject, and a great craft or hobby to "get into".

Just a word about my weaving blog. It is "my blog", so I will make it plain to all that I am a loud, crass, 38 year old woman that will cuss and curse...that is who I am. However, it is not directed at anyone personally or said to offend anyone...this is how I talk and dammit, this is how I write...

I want this blog to be fresh, blunt and fun...perhaps injecting some youthful spark of interest in the weaving community.

Lets face it, as a fellow weaver has pointed out to me...the average age of a weaver is in the 50's. So...Lets take a bold step and get a little crazy about weaving.

Let yourself go and have fun and promote your craft.

Weaving is fun, dammit, it may not be sex, but humans have been doing it since prehistoric times...

Thank you,
Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

***Please note that I have enabled comments to be posted immediately, and with no supervision and or pending approval. Therefore, I will not be a baby sitter. You are free and encouraged to use whatever is at your disposal, in so far as language is concerned. I will say that if there are any comments that are considered threats or in anyway seen as having a direct negative impact on any of those who post a comment on this blog, I will become a raging lunatic and scream like a banshee! I will delete the post and ban the particular asshole for there is what I consider to be a fair warning. All I ask is that we be able discuss, agree and disagree, kid around, be funny and satirical, argue and compel each other so that perhaps someone will become interested in weaving, and may just one day be the next Peter Collingwood, Theo Moorman, or Mary Atwater of our generation! And so with that I give you the floor....