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.
With Cresside Collette at her intermediate workshop at the Australian Tapestry Workshop on 13 and 14 June:
I bit off a bit more than I could chew on this one – in my haste to get a full 20×15 cm done in two days I made a number of errors. There are several instances of jumped warps and I probably spent too much effort on the blue and green soumak ‘whip-lashes’. But overall I am pleased to have got some decent colour gradation going on, which was the focus of the workshop. Thanks, Cresside!
With Julie Mcenerny at her Watercolour Pencil Botanic Drawing workshop at the Cairns Botanic Gardens on 1 July:
Not quite A3 size, this drawing of jackfruit again a bit too large to let me get it to an adequate state in the five hours available – I had to skimp on the smaller fruit and the buds. Next time I’ve got to remember to keep the scale small.
Untutored life-drawing group meeting at James Cook University, 27 June:
Not really competition for Henry Moore!
Life-drawing group, 4 July:
Ok for a quickie.
A folded bean-stuffed heat bag – capturing the texture:
… with one eye on the TV!
A mixture of soumak (i-open, ii – alternate closed and open with staggered rows), half-hitches over the next warp (giving the knot to the front), vertical wraps on two warps (essentially a sort of climbing open soumak), and loops. These are standard loops – i.e. they are supported only by subsequent packing, and can be pulled out from the rear. I’ve since realised one can lock them in by looping back under the previous warp.
The plan is to have hems top and bottom, so no braids will show. Once off loom and all sewn down, the ideas is to cut the looped areas and have patches of tufted pile.
Queen of Spades.
30 cm x 40 cm (12″ x 16″). 7.5 epi.
Mixed weave of wool and acrylic, with embroidery.
My little pseudo-coptic piece is now off the loom:
This is the first assignment of second year at SWTafe – a reproduction of a segment of a historical tapestry.
Now while there is a lot I like about this piece, there is also a lot that went wrong, and I will comment on this in detail later.