This year, I have been quite intrigued with parallel warps or echos. I started out with two echos in Turned Taquete using two or four colors. Then, I expanded my skill set with the Corris effect, using three echos with three or six colors. A natural next step is to explore four echos — and this is exactly what I have been up to.
Looking for a plus-one
I got the book ‘Weaving with Echo and Iris’ by Marian Stubenitsky about a year ago. I browsed through the book from time to time, looking at the beautiful drafts and woven samples. Yet, the concept of echos or parallel warps was new to me a year ago, which made the techniques explained in the book a bit intimidating. Now that I have come to understand parallel warps through Turned Taquete and Corris, I felt more confident to give the techniques a try.
Marian explains how to construct threadings with four echos and eight echos, both using eight colors. She also describes how to obtain iridescence in the woven cloth, leading to a beautiful interplay of the warp colors. I started out with the use of four parallel warps, which was an easy step to take with the experience of Turned Taquete and Corris under my belt. Marian’s explanation of the way to arrange the eight warp colors over the four parallel warps was fun to read, as it turns out that it is similar to my approach of six-colored Corris. I spent quite some hours coming up with this idea, so I was pleased to see ‘my solution’ validated in this book.
Building a network
So, I quickly got my head around the way to come up with four parallels in the threading. But of course, a draft is not complete without a treadling and this is where it got tricky. Treadlings for Turned Taquete and Corris easily follow from the threading with the use of a tabby. Marian uses another way to construct a treadling: networks. Network treadlings give the opportunity to create flowing patterns without long floats. It is an ingenious concept, but it took me some time to let it sink in. With the help of the book ‘Network Drafting: An Introduction’ by Alice Schlein, I felt ready to create a network treadling. Actually, creating the treadling is quite easy in Fiberworks, but I want to have an understanding of what I am doing before clicking the buttons.
I created a draft with four echos and a network treadling made up of circular and diamond shapes. I have used a similar pattern before in shadow weaving and it is always fun to see how the same design line works out using different techniques.
Let the weaving begin
I decided to make myself a shawl using thin mercerized crochet cotton. This cotton is new to me and I was excited to ‘go a little thinner’ than usual. The eight colors I picked formed a rainbow with a gap. I left out the yellow and red tones, so my rainbow went from pink straight to green, blue and purple. To obtain some hints of red after all, I went for a burgundy weft.
Weaving the shawl was a lot of fun. The threading of the heddles was very doable and the network treadling was a nice change of pace from the tabby-treadlings of Turned taquete and Corris. Moreover, the crochet cotton was a joy to work with. I’ve already know that unmercerized crochet cotton makes for great kitchen towels — now I know that mercerized crochet thread makes for lovely shawls.
I did have to make some alterations along the way. My initial sett was a bit to loose, so I wove back and resleyed to 9 instead of 8 ends per cm. This gave me a better result, but I was not able to weave to square. So, I adapted the treadling a little to obtain proper circles and diamonds. This was very doable, once I understood the rules of the network treadling game.
Never out of ideas
It was so much fun to try out four echos and network drafting that this project left me wanting more. I would like to try out four echo threadings further: with different color combinations, yarn types and design lines. I would like to try out this crochet cotton in other color combinations and with other weaving techniques. I would like to go even thinner when it comes to yarn. I would like to try my hand at the eight parallel warp threadings described by Marian. I would like to experiment further with network drafting… It just goes to show that you never have to get bored when you are a hand weaver. I think there is enough to explore for me to last a lifetime.