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A versatile threading for rugs - bird's eye


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I've mentioned A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison previously, long out of print, but available from Amazon and Abebooks still. I think this bird's eye threading has lots of possibilities for miniature rugs, especially. Using a 2/20 wool at 30 epi (that's a guess, the recommended sett for that wool in tabby is 20-24, and twills can go tighter for rugs, especially) there would be over 5 repeats to an inch, once the rug was off the loom and pressed. Which would make a nice small overall pattern that could be made more interesting by using color changes in the weft. Note that no warp shows in #13 and 21, the weft covers the warp completely. Except as noted, I'm assuming a weft of 2/20 wool as well.


These drawdowns are written for a sinking shed loom, most common when she wrote the book, so tie up the opposite or press the opposite levers if you're on a table loom to get patterns that look like the pictures. Or use her tie-ups and just flip the rugs over when you're done - it's the same weave on the reverse side.


One thing I've always liked about this book is the inclusion of photos of the woven samples. Looking at the drafts of these weaves doesn't always tell you how the yarn deflects in the finished piece.



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Thank you so much Bonni !! This is awesome !


 I have a 10, 12 and 17 reed so with that said , I will use the 12 reed and see how three ends per dent looks to get my desired width


 I have to move heddles still from the rear harnesses to the front 4. currently only 35 heddles per harness exist on the table loom.


Question : my floor loom ( which you want me to use anyways ) would I have to reverse the treadling like in the table loom ? cause I'm thinking when I hit the treadles the harnesses rise anyways, making it a rising shed anyways.... hmmmm answering my own question but hopefully giving insight to those reading ....


 I ordered from Habu ! Awesome prices and lovely website !



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Oh, I really like pattern 7.  If I wove this with size 50 or 100 weight silk sewing thread, do I end up with fabric? Previously I was going to try and do a Bargello design in Petitpoint. hmmmm... such great possibilities!



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When I say use the opposite tie up, I mean if the tie up says 2,3, on a rising shed you'd use 1 and 4. Sinking shed looms, counter balance or counter marche, lower the harness frames that are tied to the treadles. Davison wasn't writing for table looms, they weren't so common then. So she's indicating which harnesses are to be lowered to get the pattern. So when she says 2 and 3, what's left above in that shed is 1 and 4. So on a jack loom (so-called because the mechanism of the loom "jacks" up the harnesses to get a shed) you'd get the same effect as in the picture by raising 1 and 4, either by tying those to a treadle, or pressing those levers on a table loom. Clearer?


Whether you treadle from the top down on these or any layouts or from the bottom up is up to you. Most weaves are symmetrical, and if not, just turning the finished fabric 180 degrees gets you the same effect as treadling in the opposite direction. You just have to do one or the other, no top down mixed with bottom up!


Brandaen, I don't know how math works in FL, but up north you'd want 3 per dent in a #10 reed to get 30epi. :)  It's important to figure out how many heddles on each harness you'll need for the project you have in mind. Say you were going to weave a rug that was 5" in the reed, which would finish at around 4-1/2", maybe less, depending on the yarn used. That's 150 ends but looking at the bird's eye threading you see that harnesses 2 and 3 have 2 ends per repeat, and 1 and 4 only have one. At 6 ends per repeat you'll have 25 repeats. Which means you'll need at least 50 heddles on 2 and 3 and 25 on 1 and 4. It is always easier to switch heddles when the loom is empty


Tamra, if you use fine silk, you'll need to up the ends per inch and that means more repeats per inch. At some point this means the pattern reads more like a texture to the naked eye than tiny diamonds. Another consideration is the strain on the warp a table loom like the Dorothy causes over a relatively short distance. You might be able to get away with it, but raising the harness 4" when the distance from breast beam to back beam is only 20-24" means that thread is stretched quite a bit. On a floor loom the distance is twice that, so there's more thread to take the strain. This is also why it's a good idea to leave all the harnesses on a table loom in the down position if you're leaving the loom for a day or more. 


Which brings us back to sample, sample, sample. And keep notes. And swatches of what you've woven stapled to those notes. What seems obvious and memorable today will be forgotten the next time, in my experience. You don't want to keep reinventing the wheel. If it's a new-to-you yarn, don't start with an area rug. There are charts available, like the one at http://www.fiber2yarn.com/info/sett_chart.htm that will tell you what most weavers use for plain weave for some yarns. But twills interlace less (and technically bird's eye is a tiny point twill) so they drape better. To get a firmer twill rug, you'd use more ends per dent. 


One last thought, while we're on sampling. It's easier to beat when the warp is 50 ends wide, than it is when it's 300 ends wide. So if your sample is small, you'd be wise to count the number of picks, on loom and under tension for the sample, and get that same number on your wider warp, or there's no point in sampling. 


Later I'll post the layout sheets I use to record everything I weave, which was what we used when I was a textile designer in NYC.

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