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


babastudioPrague said...

Listen, anyone who has a link to Peter Collingwood is fine by me. I hadn't realised he has died. Sad.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more here, although I am not a weaver, just someone who has tried weaving (and was not all that good at it - but nevertheless loved it).

wristeroni said...

Bravo for taking a stand where Etsy is concerned. When will they learn that sellers are their customers??? (and this is from someone who is a buyer not a seller)

Leslie said...

You are spot on! Thank you for continuing the discussion. What started as calling attention to something annoying in tags - and not to "call out" anyone, dammit! - has really turned into a great way to build a weaving community.

I'm so excited to be learning more, as I am the only weaver I know - just about.

JJ PB WW said...

Leslie, thank you and the same for a y'all, I appreciate the support...

Now when I went to comment on the thread in question I was going to comment on a post from LaBeq regarding her bobbin lace structure. I also want to get back to the post from CoCosJewerlry and what she said about her macrame as well, because I think it follows the thought regarding what the actual definition of weaving is.

I already stated in my blog post that I see a loom as a tool that weavers use to provide more control of the weave structures they are working on. I don't think it is an actual requirement to have a "loom" to recognize that the final object is "handwoven".

JJ PB WW said...

If you look at macrame, it seems that some of the "knots" have a weave structure...Damn I need CoCo here so she can explain what those knots are called. I need LeBeq too.

Hopefully they will stop by and post a comment!

Anyway, macrame is like finger weaving right? There are some knots that have a base of 2 threads that remain vertical, while 2 other threads are knotted around the base threads. I guess it is like the entwined weave structure that the Bedouin use on their ground looms. You end up having a warp thread that is completely surrounded by a weft thread. Any thoughts?

La Beq said...

Well, hi there! I'm always happy to teach a little about bobbin lace techniques. Now, I don't actually consider my items to be woven, although some elements most definitely are. Too bad I haven't gotten around to writing a tutorial on my blog, that would make this much easier. Sorry, this will be kind of long.

Anyway, one way in which bobbin lace is much more similar to weaving than knitting, crochet, and tatting, is that multiple threads are used. Each thread is wound on a bobbin, which serves as a handle for the thread. There's a rather bad picture of this setup on my blog: .

As someone pointed out on the ill-fated forum thread, there is not a definite weft thread in most bobbin lace. All the threads move over and under each other, forming the lacy patterns. However, using a continuous whole stitch (or cloth stitch) with no twists or pins creates a woven section. On that blog entry, scroll down to the last picture. That is a pair of earrings with whole stitch fans. The white threads (worker pairs)are woven over and under the blue pair (passives). This is done manually, by manipulating the threads individually.

For comparison, look at the other two pairs of earrings on my blog. They have half stitch fans. It's a little hard to see, but essentially a single thread is woven over and under other threads, but the other threads are crossed forming little Xs between each row of each row.

I realize I've kind of rattled this off without much definition of the stitches I'm referring to, but feel free to ask questions. I do have a basic knowledge of most of the techniques being compared in this discussion (except macrame), so I can probably answer most questions as to how this technique compares to others.

Orbie/\;;/\ said...

Here is a web definition search of the word Handwoven done in google using their definition protocol.

I have been involved in fiber for almost half a century (Yikes). I weave (I own four floor looms, two rigid heddle looms, a wagon wheel loom (created from hula hoops), 12 card weaving looms and two beading looms along with a plethora of fiber art tools), crochet, knit, macrame, net, felt, needle felt, card-weave, embroider, needlepoint, costume, do millinery, tat, spin, create baskets, cane and rush chair seats.

I would list all my loom woven items as Handwoven, I might list a basket as handwoven, I also might list my chair caning and rushing as handwoven. They all follow the interlacing structure of weaving.

I once attempted Bobbin Lace when I worked for an historic site and yes that structure could be considered handwoven in my opinion.

oh and babastudio... if you tried weaving and loved it then you are a weaver :)


La Beq said...

Oh, and if I felt so inclined, I could wind all my bobbins, work a length in whole stitch without any twists, pins, grounds, or fancy figures, and weave a section of fabric. I doubt I will any time son, but I could, and that would definitely be loomlessly hand-woven!

JJ PB WW said...

Le Beq I adore you!!!!! Damn that is a mighty long post I have not yet read it all but I had to make a comment. Thanks for coming and teaching us some stuff about bobbin lace. Now back to your fabulous post.

-Wefty Woman

Allyn said...

I am a knitter. I also crochet some. Neither technique is, to me, handwoven as only one thread is used with no approximation of a warp/weft. (I am also a future weaver, with a lovely disassembled loom waiting in storage for me. Time, the enemy! :-)

I understand your need for a section dedicated to the products of, and supplies for, weaving and I wish you success. However, I have argued the "Knitting" category should actually be removed from the Etsy categories, unless it is used as/renamed Knitting Supplies. There is no "Sewing" category and even if there were, I would not go to it to look for a dress, only for tools of that craft. Neither do I think customers generally would choose the process, Knitting, to find a sweater. I have consistently lost the argument however, and the category remains. As a practical matter, I list some products there. But that doesn't mean I agree with the system!

JJ PB WW said...

Allyn, so glad to see you. Please continue post comments, tell us more about knitting and crochet.
I do not consider them a woven item...however, have you ever used a Naalbinding needle, or medieval weaving sticks?

JJ PB WW said...

Le Beq, then... and please realize that I am a visual person when learning something, I also am from Sicilian and Spanish Cuban decent, which would explain my hot temper, fat ass and excessive body hair...

But back to the topic at hand. Do the bobbins in bobbin lace act like butterflies (you know, the little things you make with weft yarn, like in tapestry) I mean the yarn is stored in the bobbin right?

Okay, see if you can understand where I am going with this... When you weave on a loom the warp is held stationary by the beams
(Hey, somebody with a gift for correct weaving terminology, HINT HINT self-entitled "Weave Nazi"...does that mean you are like the soup you say thins like no warp for you!) jump in here and correct me...
(Oh, and I also might add I go off on tangents. Please just ignore them...)

Anyway...the warp is held stationary by the beam or in the case with some African and Peruvian looms the warp is held taunt with a rock or some other kind of weighted object.

You mentioned utilizing pins while working the bobbins. Are these pins holding the threads taunt as you "throw" the bobbins in order to complete a specific laced structure? (I am using the term throw loosely here cuz I have no idea what the correct word is for working the bobbins) Damn, that sounded a little kinky to me.

JJ PB WW said...

Damn I am sorry, La Beq

karen said...

So who called out???? I don't get why the thread was closed we were just having a lively dissuccion regarding the things we are pasionate about! and why would the they wipe you out.!!!!

skiingweaver said...

Yup, I don't get the closing of the thread, either... (??) One would hope it's ok to point out mis-tagging, right? I mean, if, say, stained glass work was tagged as fused glass, that would be mis-tagged, right? And how does that hurt anybody's feelings to point that out?? Yeesh. Weaving feels like such a dying art in so many ways (when I, as a 40-year-old feel like a whipper-snapper at my Guild meetings - yikes), I think everything we can do to educate people about this wonderful form of fiber art is good...

JJ PB WW said...

Karen, this is why Painted Bull would be banned from etsy.

I do not think links work on comments but if you copy the about link and paste it to see how I sent a big universal finger to etsy.

JJ PB WW said...

There she is, Skiingweaver. So happy to see my weavers in crime popping in to say Hi.

Yeah, that is the thing Kelly, it seems to me that weaving should be brought to the attention of the younger generation.

Anyway, I know you are one busy weavin' mama, but your knowledge is vital to this blog. I hope you post comments in between weaving, working, writing articles for Handwoven, and all that other shit that we have to find time to do. (my... what a stack of dishes I've got to stick in the dishwasher...ah the hell with it)

JDStar said...

I'm stopping in to say hello!
I'm in awe of the knowledge you people keep.

La Beq said...

Sorry, had to run off to my birthday dinner. Yes, the bobbins hold the thread. The bobbins also provide the tension for the threads. The type of bobbins I use, Midland style, have a beaded loop on the end for extra weight. The pins hold the threads in place in the design. The lace is worked on a very firmly stuffed pillow.

So, when working in continuous cloth stitch, the passive pairs could be compared to the warp, pulled taught by the bobbins. The worker pair acts as a weft, weaving two threads across at a time. In bobbin lace, threads are almost always used in pairs, the only exception I know of being when a single heavy thread, or gimp, is used as a decorative outline. But in every case, with every type of stitch, ground, etc., threads are taken alternately over and under each other. So in that respect, bobbin lace is rather like weaving. However, other than in the continuous stitches I described previously, no one thread or pair of threads acts as a weft. It's more as if you are twisting your warp threads around each other (which is why I usually describe it more as braiding).

It really would be easier to show than try to explain...more incentive for me to do an explanatory blog entry (with pictures)I can point people to whenever they're trying to understand what I'm talking about!

If it helps any, there is a better work-in-process picture as the last image here: . The pins are more visible in that picture. Most are pushed down flush and just show up as dots, but the few closest to the camera a still sticking up a little.

Sorry, that was kind of long, too!

D said...

I wonder... are bobbin lace, kumihimo, and fingerweaving all forms of plaiting (braiding)? Plaiting is where a strand that is a warp element during one step - becomes a weft element during the next step.
And plaiting is not at all similar to knotting (macrame).
I don't know enough about bobbin lace to say for sure.
To add confusion to the pot... there is a basketry technique that is called "plaited basketry" which is traditionally found in Scandinavia using bark, this basketry is not "woven" but "plaited".
Oh what fun!

JJ PB WW said...

D, Can you continue, "Plaiting" I thought that was when you have a "braided" structure but add another thread or weft or element, and kind of weave it through the braid sort of like darning a sock?

(I think I am way off on that one.) D, its good to see you too.

Oh, and I think you have given this warped bitch an Idea for a new blog post, "plaited basketry", you see what you have done...and isn't it fantastic?


So if you are working a cloth stitch, you are surrounding one thread (which is weighted because of the bobbin thingee) on each sides with 2 other threads?

It is funny when you think of things. This is making me wonder about how actual weaving on a loom came about, and the whole evolution of the basic weave structure like the definition I sited in my original blog post about the 2 separate threads intersecting at right angles.

See, I believe that there is a primitive loom that is a weighted loom, where each individual warp end is tied to a rock, and held down by gravity. The warps just hang like, a windchime that has hunks of glass at the end of each string, that is attached to a straight stick. (again I am visual so bear with me)

If someone else can chime in here, I would love you to pieces.

JJ PB WW said...

And I forgot, Happy Birthday La Beq!

Orbie/\;;/\ said...


Is this the type of loom you are referring to?

I would like to recommend to anyone who has an interest in fiber that they pick up a copy of "Women's Work, the first 20,000 years (Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times"" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Although I am only a third of the way through it I have to say it is very accessible and fascinating. It is well footnoted and grandly illustrated.

Orbie/\;;/\ said...

Ok since there is such a variety of fiber artists here I wonder if any of you could help me identify what I believe to be a fiber tool. I posted a picture on my blog... any help will be appreciated. thanks in advance

JJ::PaintedBull::WeftyWoman said...

Orb, Yes that is the type of loom I was talking about, I have seen pictures drawn of them without a frame (like your picture) but hanging from a tree.

I just ordered that book you suggested, so I am glad to here that you are enjoying it.

I must run a few errands, but continue all this to post comments! Look at them all, what brilliant and interesting discussions are going on. Y'all are getting my brain juices flowing.

-JJ & Painted Bull & Wefty Woman

La Beq said...

You know, I kind of wonder whether lacemaking originated when someone was weaving with those individually weighted threads, and the wind blew through and tangled them. Maybe the weaver thought it was pretty and started figuring how to tangle them on purpose!

Orbie/\;;/\ said...

I think you are probably on to something La Beq. Humans are rather the least attractive of animals. We don't have shiny iridescent wings or glorious spots or camouflaging stripes, no frightening pincers or deadly claws and we ended up almost devoid of hair so personal decoration and adornment seems to have become paramount in our psyche.

it is nice to be able to talk to people that don't tilt there heads in puzzlement when I talk like this :)

JJ::PaintedBull::WeftyWoman said...

Orb, I really liked what you said. I think that is another reason there is so many jewelry makers and people buying jewelry too. I think humans have this connection with our primal selves and this need to adorn ourselves. Same way with weaving or lace or any object that was handmade. It took time and skill to make these things. It was (and in some cultures, still is) seen as an achievement to be a master of some form of work that is done by manipulating something by hand to make a new and completely different object.

But to get back to a handwoven item. I have to say that some of the bobbin lace you speak of seems like a woven process. What do you think? I do hope Leslie drops back in, and Karen too.


karen said...

man!! I wrote this big long speech and the stupid comtuer ate it. this is only a test..

JJ:PaintedBull:WeftyWoman said...

Karen, I hate when that happens. I lost my entire thesis in college, all 160 pages, when the computer crashed. I was devastated.

Please try and post another, you have teased us with that test post!

karen said...

HAH Got it now. ... any way I won't rewrite my speech... it was winded anyway!! I have done loom weaving and in fact am purchasing a loom for my shop as a teaching tool. I've also done bobbin lace which took a fair amount of time and persistance, I also do basketmaking, tatting, crochet, knitting on both looms and with needles,and did learn the finger weaving and pencil weaving i'm pretty sure I at one time owned nearly eveyissue of McCall's craft magazine from the day I got my first allowance. the magazines at one tall when stacked were taller than me!!!
because of my curious mind and my unrelenting need to do more I can now teach and perfect all that I've learn. You never stop learing until you are no longer breathing. as for what is true weaving yes I will conceed that the act of looms,warp, all involved is the true weaveing but many years ago I did read that the act of interlocking fibers in the creation of a fabric is called weaving. the creation of beautiful products is the ultimate goal of all of us and you are right about the mistagging that does need to stop and luckly I've never done that in this regard ( I did boo boo once and took it back, I'm still learning)

karen said...

also Miss JJPBWW please don't leave us!!! an I'm following you!!! whilist I'm here any of you on artfire?? they seem to be more user friendly!!LOL

karen said...

one more thing thank I have to go and pull out my childhood loom (it's all YOUR fault))) (oh man !!I'm not getting any work done and Tomorrow I will have to shovel!!!)One of my good friend and students has a Dragon wall hanging that she wove on a loom in the new Debbie Macomber Book and it can be seen throug a link on the db website!!!!

La Beq said...

Ooo...good reminder to back up my thesis several ways once I get started on it. You know, talking with you weaver-types is making me want to dig out the old table-top loom my dad taught me to weave on.

Sorry, that didn't actually add much to the discussion at hand!

La Beq said...

Anyway, there are definitely elements of weaving in bobbin lace. However, I think that in general, plaiting is a better term for it. I've said all along it's a complicated form of braiding. And certainly the way it is performed is more similar to the mechanics of braiding or plaiting than the mechanics of weaving as is is commonly understood.

JJ:PaintedBull:WeftyWoman said...

LaBeq says
Ooo...good reminder to back up my thesis several ways once I get started on it. You know, talking with you weaver-types is making me want to dig out the old table-top loom my dad taught me to weave on

Karen said:
I have to go and pull out my childhood loom (it's all YOUR fault))) (oh man !!I'm not getting any work done and Tomorrow I will have to shovel!!!)


Yes, do you see it, can you feel it...I think my experiment is beginning to take shape here.

I have not yet read all of the post, and I have just gotten down to LaBeq and Karen saying that they are getting a little weaving itch going on...well hot damn, my plan has begun...

JJ:PaintedBull:WeftyWoman said...

LaBeq that little bit about the loom your dad taught you to weave on is beautiful, and I have to tell you something.

Smack...(there, you have been officially given a "warped bitch slap")

If course that story is extremely vital and an absolute essential addition to the discussion at hand.
I am so utterly thrilled with this first post and series of comments on my smart ass blog about weaving.

Seeing people getting excited about weaving and threads and bobbin lace (Cuz I want you all to know that miss orb weaver there has gotten injected with some bobbin lace infusion) She has been bringing out all her bobbin lace paraphernalia. The Orb woman is really getting pumped.

Karen, I am glad to have you following me. Because I have fallen head over heels for can be a mutual stalking if you like.

I got some big plans, wait til you see my next blog will knock y'all's lights out...

Note to all...(and this is in whispers) I don't think y'all's is a real word. Shhh don't say a damn thing about it. Let's keep it a secret, cuz I want to give the impression that I am waaaay more smarters than I am..

Love ya, bitches!!!


JJ:PaintedBull:WeftyWoman said...

LaBeq, I hope you were not offended by my remark, I was just wanting to get one point across, on this blog there is nothing that cannot be seen as irrelevant. My main objective, quest and mission for this blog is to get people interested in weaving.

Thanks and keep reading and posting on here. And I want to say one more thing, you have also inspired people to get there bobbins out and make some well as, getting people interested in learning more about your art. That to me is another key objective of this blog.

To promote handmade art and craft through life-long education and a continued quest for knowledge.

Angela Feltes said...

JJ. Thanks for taking a stand for weaving. We need to let the art/craft/etsy; world know that we are here!
Angie of Kindred Threads

PB::JJ::WW said...

I thought all you crazy bitches would find this interesting, bobbin lace study on ...

-Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

Donnalda Does Art said...

Thank you for the invitation. I loved what you said in your "Farewell Speech". I have read this blog and LOVE it.
I have been a basket weaver for many years. Living in the desert and having the amazing indigenous basketmakers to inspire me, I started with yarn and "salt grass" and the basic stitched coiled technique. Which is warp(coil)and weft (stitching) in a circular form. I found through research that many desert plant lend themselves to basketmaking, which is probably why desert dwellers always had so many to make their daily lives easier.
I have made rib baskets with Fan Palm flower stalks as the handles. A little steaming helps them form a circle, and a little bailing wire holds them in place. Date palm inflorecens stalk splits as the ribs, and Fan Palm frond splits as the weft material, as well as Date palm inflorecens as the weft in the wider spaced warp areas.
For the mat or twill woven ring baskets, the Date inflorecens splits work quite well, if soaked overnight and split into 1/8 inch thicknesses. The same split that is done from the edge of the stalk can be used as the rim if lashed with Fan Palm frond splits.
For twined baskets, I have used the splits for the warp to make really large baskets, with a twill woven base, and Fan palm frond splits and the twisted wefts. By the way, Fan Palm frond splits dye beautifully so you can achieve patterns with these. Or use the splits of the Date Palm inflorecense pod, which is dark and fiberous.
Yucca leaf splits, cattail tules,juncus,and buffalo grass are all good weft materials.
Salt Cedar has beautiful reddish brown shiny bark and can be gathered in the field after a rain, bent or twisted into loose wreaths and strung together to use as handles, rims, and ribs for rib baskets or rims of woven or twined baskets.
What I really liked about this stage in my life was that I could go out for a walk with only my knife and some rope, and come back with all the materials I needed to create something beautiful and useful. It was a spiritually fullfilling creative experience.

PB::JJ::WW said...

Donnalda: Wow, this post makes me want to start a new obsession (get me some desert flora) I want to weave a basket! Please post some links to help us learn more!

As you may have already seen, I love to give a gratuitous plug to those who help make this blog fabulous!

karen said...

JJ did you get our hand slapped again today by Matt!?? He shut down the discussion!!