Designing

What fascinates me as a new weaver is not so much the throwing of the shuttle – like knitting is not really the joy of needle clicking.

I love getting ideas. Inspiration from something I’ve seen, a pattern, a whole project, a colour combination, or a story/theme which leads my mind down some winding path. This is the part which keeps me going. “Can I make this?”

Nami reed weaving
With kind permission from textile designer Karina Nielsen Rios

There’s not nearly as much actual designing going on compared to the imaginary part, so I’m trying to be more structured about it in different ways. Not efficient, weaving takes the time it takes, but to declutter my head. A bit. The usual story. As it is, the amount of time I have to think about weaving far exceeds the time I am able to weave, so it all works out in the end I guess.

I’m using various methods when I think up a fabric. Some arrive already done, just needing execution, I don’t even bother writing down a plan.

Sometimes I know which yarn I want to use, but not quite how to combine it. Then I may drag out that particular box and rearrange skeins all over the table until I’ve got it sorted. Taking turns on the couch clicking my weaving app, testing and struggling to understand tie-up plans. Then picking a different yarn and trying again etc.

cloth5-3-2
Next project for the beast

There’s also the challenge of simply designing from what yarns you have; this can be an interesting limitation if you happen to be in love with a specific colour at the moment and don’t have it.

Or tapestry weaving without a plan, just moving from scrap yarn bundle to the next and see what happens. Usually tapestry is well planned out with cartoon and colours determined in advance. I don’t know yet what I prefer, I see lots of stuff on the web, but my own ideas are still very fuzzy. There’s also the matter of all the plant dyed yarns.

bobbins

I’ve always made lists of colour combinations whenever I see them, as words, and I want to try to paint samples in watercolour for instance for a more visual follow-up when I don’t have a photo to work from.

houseofdaggers1

This I want to combine with drafts that I play around with on my tablet, print them out and end up with a collage of sketches, colours and patterns that can be turned into a project. Sounds dead serious and work like, doesn’t it! But right now it feels interesting. A bit time-consuming perhaps? It’s not as if I need to remember every single notion that pops into my head, but sometimes projects are postponed just so long because of you-know-what, that I forget that I only thought about step 2 while weaving step 1, so I sometimes need notes I never made to be able to go on like I intended. Such as my “5 cone 3 cloth” thing in the 2nd picture. I don’t have a draft for cloth 2!

houseofdaggers2

Sampling. Something I’ve never really made a habit with any craft. While providing useful information it also “wastes” supplies, especially in weaving where the amount of waste yarn at both ends is the same whether you make a long, useful piece of fabric or just 50 cm. In fact, the bigger the loom, the longer the pieces of waste yarn, which is why some weavers keep a short table loom for designing. I tend to just cross my fingers and pretend I know where things are going, but I may try the other way as my ideas accumulate. (no table loom, though. They never caught on in Scandinavia, so no used ones on the market) Sometimes most of the time you just can’t predict things in your head without those 20 years’ experience under your belt.

Just not quite what I wanted compared to how much I liked the draft.
Just not quite what I wanted, compared to how much I liked the draft in the app.

And sometimes the designing continues right up to and after dressing the loom. Extra threads, changing mind about pattern, density, or weft yarn. Perhaps the fabric never ends up as the intended finished piece. I wonder if this process will change as I become more experienced, if the knowledge of materials will cement my decisions earlier in the project.

cloth5-3-2c
Draft for cloth 2 in progress

I’m curious to hear if other weavers have a specific process they follow, experienced as well as beginners like me! Somehow weaving is a very mathematical process, but I’m not in any way numerically inclined. So perhaps my approach or “vision” is somehow different? Or doesn’t it matter at all.

I haven’t yet had any desire to follow patterns by other designers, loads of inspiration yes, but I don’t really care for kits. When everything is decided for me in advance it just feels like a job and not like fun. Might as well just go buy the item then, and have some time over for other stuff. I know others feel differently, and that’s fine too of course. You probably make fewer mistakes…

tapestrytest
Practicing triangles with leftover sweater yarn while waiting for inspiration to hit me. Both are much harder than you’d think!! I’m not sure it’s actually a good idea to try to learn both weaving methods at the same time, immersing your brain and then try to shift gears.

 

 

20 thoughts on “Designing

  1. I don’t have experience in this. It does look like something I would try to relax me…Is this relaxing or more stressful…perhaps relaxing once the kinks are worked out? 🙂 Either way, nice to learn and experiment. Enjoy your day.❀❀❀

  2. Hmmm, jeg væver bare, og så ser jeg, hvad der sker. Jeg regner alligevel galt, hvis jeg prøver at beregne noget. For mig er al vævning saori-vævning. Når jeg strikker, regner jeg mere, men får alligevel ideer undervejs og følger kun mine noter, ikke mønsteret, jeg begyndte med.

    1. Toskaftsvævning inviterer også mere til at “bare” lege med farverne og designe undervejs. Design er for mig også at beslutte at man vil bruge X garn i trend og X islæt og se hvordan de arter sig sammen. Det er bare lige nu jeg er fascineret af mulighederne for struktur og mønster vha trampekombinationer, det er selve beslutningsprocessen som giver mig et kick frem for at følge en opskrift. Der sker i øvrigt nøjagtig det samme, når jeg laver mad!

      Hvad sker der med dit blå stof for tiden?

      1. Jo, jeg forstår. Jeg har et billede i hovedet – noget med struktur og farver. Så står jeg på hovedet i garntønden og finder noget, der ligner. Og så begynder jeg 😉 Meget intuitiv metode.
        Jeg har aldrig prøvet at sy tøj før, så det går langsomt. Især når jeg gerne vil være i haven når solen skinner – og det er også detr eneste tidspunkt, jeg kan se at sy der, hvor der skal klippes.

    2. Jeg har i øvrigt lige vævet et stykke på rammevæv som gik helt galt. Jeg havde håbet på et sjal i 150 cm længde, men havde været for gavmild med trenden, så det blev kun en meter, så løb jeg tør for begge de håndfarvede strømpegarner. Ydermere lå det i blød for længe, det blå lækkede farve og de flotte orange og turkis kontraster sugede den op, så det blev hverken pangflot i farverne eller brugbart til noget som helst…. Det var ellers rigtig flot på væven!

        1. Ja, sådan kan det gå – men jeg fik da afprøvet min vision, som begyndte netop som du beskriver.

          Jeg arbejder også bedst i dagslys, når det er syning og småpilleri. Jeg lånte på et tidspunkt en bunke japanske sy-bøger på biblioteket og tog et par scanninger af enkelte mønstre, simple ting som jeg tror jeg måske kunne bruge til at lave mine egne modeller (jeg har ikke kopieret selve mønsterarket). Sig til, hvis du vil have et par titler eller billeder til inspiration inden du klipper!

  3. Jeg er vist endnu mere uplanlagt end dig, Pia. Jeg har aldrig vævet prøver, synes ligesom dig at det er spild af godt garn og god vævetid. Og selvfølgelig gør erfaring noget. Men ikke altid 😉
    Jeg kan finde på at lave en trendplan, stille mig hen til trendbordet og begynde. Og inden jeg er færdig har jeg fået adskillige gode ideer og lige hurtigt tilføjet noget med blyant på mit papir, osv osv så når jeg er færdig, og det sker at folk spørger om en kopi af min opskrift, så…øhhh…:)

    1. Det er da godt at høre, når jeg nu ved hvor flotte dine ting plejer at blive! Jeg tror også bare jeg bliver ved som som det nu lige passer mig fra dag til dag, men derfor kunne det jo godt være der var forskellige tricks i folks ærmer derude! 😉

  4. I’m like you–new to weaving and still trying to figure out my own way of approaching it. I visited the By Rios site, too–thank you for introducing me to that!

    1. It’s amazing how it sucks you in, isn’t it? I’ve never been this fascinated by knitting. (I meant to reply to your monogamy post “me to”, but it got lost in my browser tabs, and, well…)

  5. Hej Pia. Hvilken vaeveapp bruger du? Jeg er ogsaa meget ny til vaevning, har koebt et par boeger fra 70’erne og nogle helt nye med forskellige vaevemoenstre og proever nu at stykke det hele sammen i mit hoved plus hvad jeg kan faa fat i af garn. Tror jeg bare skal lave noget og saa laere og blive inspireret som jeg arbejder, det er saadan det er sket for mig inden for andet haandarbejde jeg er begyndt paa.

    1. Det er også ca. sådan jeg lærer, internet, Ravelry grupper, biblioteksbøger. Man kan få en del forskelligt via fjernlån, både nyt og gammelt.

      Jeg har en app som hedder iWeaveit, den koster ikke ret meget til Android tablet – lidt dyrere til PC eller mac (fås også til iPad, og har flere funktioner som jeg savner på min, fx. trådtykkelse)

  6. I am amazed by the process of weaving and how it works and how one designs the outcome. It’s one of those things I expect I’ll never understand – the wiring in the brain just isn’t there. But I am amazed by what you have created as a ‘beginner’.

    1. 😀 I fear I’ll never amount to anything though, seems I’m simply addicted to learning new things! And then I never find serious application for any of it. 😉

  7. As a some time (some time ago) tapestry weaver who has never woven yardage I found this post fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing some of your design process.

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