Four-selvedge weaving has been the way the Navajo have made their geometrically patterned chief’s blankets for a couple of hundred years – if not more.
The following Pinterest page clearly shows the looms set up with ancillary beams and supplementary warps:
My own attempt at setting up my modified Spears No 4 loom with supplementary warps collapsed. Current intention is – remodify loom to take account of the self-spacing nocks top and bottom – and thus avoid those annoying warp crossovers that can develop during warping, and set up for a hemmed interpretation of the light streaming into the Echidna Chasm.
Having just completed my Savannah tapestry, I’m gearing up for the next effort.
I was intrigued a little while ago to come across Rebecca Mezoff’s detailed post on 4-selvedge weaving. The idea of no fringes and no turned-over hem is appealing. Some years back my late sister found and gave me an old Spears No 4 loom – this was an English production of a stripped down rigid-heddle loom. I had modified it into an upright square tapestry loom – and now I added some height (to accomodate the upper supplementary warps) and put in some hooks so that the “jig” is part of the loom (though separate in Mezoff’s adaptation of Sarah Swett’s method.) This what it looks like:
The idea is that the main warp is wound between the ‘top bar for main warp’ and ‘bottom bar for main warp’.
Two supplementary warps are wound, one interlocks the top of the main warp to the top tensioning bar, and the other, the bottom of the main warp to the very bottom bar. The main warp bars are then removed one by one as tension is applied – and weaving can begin.
It seems finicky, but the extra time involved in setting up the supplementary warps is offset by the time it takes to weave and sew hems.
If one insists on the four selvedges, one is, of course, committed to the dimensions set by the placement of the removable bars, though one could compromise and finish short with a fringe or woven hem.
Savannah is very much about both the shapes and the colours of the northern outback. I was also very much taken by the amazing colours in the Echidna Chasm at the north end of the Bungle Bungles. This is the image from there that will form the basis of the next one:
Planned size is about A3. I ‘ll be warping a Glenora 12/12 warp at 9 epi.
Now – interpretation. What is a ‘weaverly’ thing to do? Lots of lovely knobbly stuff in there – do I add texture with pile techniques – or is that getting cheap thrills when I haven’t fully explored all that plain tabby can do? How geometric am I going to get? All is in the lap of the gods…
Usually I get through a piece this size in about three weeks, but I have the feeling that this is going to be a greater challenge for a longer time.