Studio Stories: Slow Motion Exchange

About Studio Stories

Studio Stories is an occasional series of posts which looks at the inspiration and processes behind some of the projects I have completed over the years. As well as the article published here, there is exclusive content, including downloadable wif files, shared with my newsletter subscribers.

Layer exchange in slow motion

In a recent post I described some threadings and liftplans for weaving double twill. The draft I am going to share here is one of my favourite ways of working with double twill. I think of it as a ‘slow motion’ version of layer exchange.

The threading

For the draft here I used the same threading as before, namely:

Parallel threading on 8 shafts with layer 1 threading 4-3-2-1 in pink and layer 2 threaded 8-7-6-5 in grey

The motivation

If we weave this as shown before, we can switch freely between the grey and the pink layers. But perhaps we want a more subtle shift than this. With just the same two colours in the weft as in the warp, we can create seven intermediate steps between ‘all grey’ and ‘all pink’.

It is easy to imagine creating an ombré effect in the weft, by swapping our shuttles over and weaving one pair of picks out of four with the opposite colour. Then we can extend the swap to two picks out of four, then three out of four, before finally weaving each layer entirely in the opposite weft colour. You can see this transition in the lower half of the photo.

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What is really neat about double weave is that we can also apply this logic to the warp threads. We start by swapping one pair of warp ends between the layers. It can be any of the four pairs in our threading, but let’s suppose we swap the ends on shafts 2 and 6. Now we have replaced 1-2-3-4 with 1-6-3-4 for layer 1, and 5-6-7-8 with 5-2-7-8 for layer 2. We can weave our twill in exactly the same way as before, but (i) every time we would have lifted shaft 2, we now lift shaft 6 and (ii) every time we would have lifted shaft 6, we now lift shaft 2. By swapping first one pair, then two, then three, we give ourselves another set of transition options. These are shown in the top half of the photo.

The draft

Slow motion exchange on 16 shafts

I first turned my attention to this process for a double twill on 16 shafts. Subscribers to my newsletter will be able to download the 16-shaft drafts I developed as well as this 8-shaft draft in wif format.

First posted on © Cally Booker