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Author Topic: 4 Shaft Weaving  (Read 443 times)

Jodiwell

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4 Shaft Weaving
« on: January 17, 2018, 04:45:08 PM »

I broke this out of the jacket thread where we talked about Kathleen Weir’s jackets. I think it deserves some discussion.


Quote

Jodi, your thoughts echo mine. The fact that she uses a 4 shaft loom makes me so happy. I can upgrade my LeClerc to 8 shafts, but think I should master a 4 shaft loom first. Does that sound misguided?

Kathryn

Robyn Spady is a world class weaver, teacher and author. She once said in a class that she could weave the rest of her life with 4 shafts and never run out of possibilities.

I’ve noticed that people who love color and texture can create fabulous textiles on 4 shafts in ways that would never occur to me. I struggle with color and their interactions in cloth. But I am drawn to complex structures with simple color palettes.

So I think that’s something to think about when looking at ourselves as weavers. Madelyn van der Hoogt (she’s a member of our guild - lucky us!) says that most weavers are one or the other: color or structure.

It may be naive of me to say this, but if you can read a draft, wind a warp, beam it, thread it, and treadle it, you can learn to weave ANYTHING with study and practice, REGARDLESS of the number of shafts. But will you LOVE it? To me, that’s the key.

These are my go to books for 4 shaft weaving. What are yours?


A Handweaver’s Pattern Book - Marguerite Davison
The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory - Anne Dixon
Next Steps in Weaving - Patty Graver

jodi
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 10:30:23 PM by fzxdoc »
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fzxdoc

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Re: 4 Shaft Weaving
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 10:39:19 PM »

Jodi, my frustration with 4 shaft weaving is that, in the magazine Handwoven, 70-80% of the projects are devoted to 8 shaft weaving, with only, at best, 1-3 projects for 4 shaft or rigid heddle weaving. I see something I like but am immediately excluded because I have only a 4 shaft and a rigid heddle loom.

And that goes as well for many of the weaving projects shown on Ravelry.

I don't have any go-to books for 4 shaft weaving, just weaving in general.

These two books
Anne Field: Learn to Weave
Deborah Chandler: Learning to Weave

got me started on 4 shaft weaving once I decided to add it to rigid heddle weaving.

Kathryn
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My blog: I Made This! at http://imadethis-asewingblog.blogspot.com/
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Jodiwell

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Re: 4 Shaft Weaving
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 04:32:00 AM »

Kathryn,

I agree with your observation of Handwoven Magazine projects. They do favor the 8 shaft weaver. It reminds me of machine embroidery magazines that have some KNOCK OUT projects, but you better have a machine with a huge hoop or you are left out. Your equipment is inadequate. You are inadequate. The companies that advertise in those magazines want you to feel like you need to "upgrade" a perfectly functional and wonderful tool. I admit to falling into that trap a time or two...

Have you seen what saori weavers do on 2 shafts? Backstrap weavers? That's why I like the books with weave structures that you can adapt for projects. You see something you like in Handwoven, grab one of these books, look at the same weave structure variations on 4 shafts, use the same fibers, color and sett and you have a beautiful project.

Next Steps in Weaving sounds like something you might enjoy. She presents a study of a weave structure and then gives a project to apply what you've learned. I've attached pictures of the index and a sample project.





Have you seen "Woven Scarves"? These are all done on Rigid Heddle looms and there are some really beautiful scarves. I got mine at Half Price Books.

jodi
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fzxdoc

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Re: 4 Shaft Weaving
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 01:39:03 PM »

Jodi, thank you so much for your comments and for the suggestion about Next Steps in Weaving. I looked for the book on Amazon and it sure gets rave reviews there. Plus with the "look inside" option I saw that the author says that all of the practice samples and projects in the book are woven on 4 shaft looms. Wow! Just what I need! I'm ordering it today.

About saori weaving, I joined their Ravelry group a long while back, but never really plugged into it. Since the premise was pretty much freeform weaving, and as an advanced beginner it was a bit too loosey goosey for me, as I recall. I'm still working on learning the basics! :)  But at your suggestion, I'll go back and look at that group.

I do have a copy of Woven Scarves. In fact, I should look at it again for some help in getting out of an overly fiddly project I have on my rigid heddle loom right now. I need to shift direction and perhaps can get some inspiration there. Thanks for the reminder.

Kathryn
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Katherine

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Re: 4 Shaft Weaving
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2018, 02:39:45 PM »

Kathryn, maybe you would enjoy Jane Stafford's online guild.  It's $75/yr cdn.  The 1st episode of the 2nd year just arrived this morning.  If you join now you still get everything from last year & all of this year.  The first year is basics & some information about basic designing.  She's trying to get weavers away from having to find a "pattern".  Color & design is the subject for this year.  It's all done on 4 shafts.

Moving to 8 shafts does give you a lot more design possibilities.  There are lots of published drafts & projects.  Once you go beyond 8, you have to start designing your own drafts.  No matter how many shafts you have, you're eventually going to want to do something that requires more than you have.  There are some drafts on handweaving.net for 16 shafts & more.

Think about how you define "master".  If you can weave basic 4-shaft projects with a minimum of fuss, 8 shafts isn't over reaching.  Extra shafts are useful for adding selvedges to twill based weaves where the edge end doesn't want to catch.  With 4 additional shafts you can weave basket weave selvedges & eliminate the floating selvedge and provide a nice edge that works well with the twill.

I do agree that you could spend your life weaving on 4 shafts.  I don't see why anyone should limit themselves to that if they have the desire & the finances to go beyond that.

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fzxdoc

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Re: 4 Shaft Weaving
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2018, 05:00:01 PM »

Katherine, thank you for your thoughtful post. What a clever idea to use additional shafts to firm up a selvedge. It's thoughts like that that reinforce how little I know yet.  :) Your comments make me happy that I can upgrade my 4 shaft LeClerc to 8 shafts when I feel the need to move in that direction.

I did subscribe to Jane Stafford's Online Guild two days ago and yes, I got all of last year's tutorials/classes. The email about the first one of 2018 was in my mailbox this morning.

I'm hoping that watching the videos will help me inch further up the weaving learning curve. The fact that the first episodes are taught in the order of setting up and executing a project on a loom is the hook that drew me in. Back to basics in an orderly manner.

I have used that same approach to machine knitting, using Susan Guagliumi's Craftsy class as a handy, easily accessible learning reference when I can't remember exactly how to do something, basic as it might be. So I'm hoping that the success with machine knitting that I've had so far due to Susan's excellent resource in one place, as opposed to surfing You Tube, will be the big help in weaving that I'm looking for in Jane's Online Weaving Guild.

Plus the 4-shaft loom project/structure book, Next Steps in Weaving,  that Jodi recommended will also be a boon.

I'm so excited at what I've learned and the enthusiasm I feel reigniting just from this topic and from other recent topics in our Weaving forum. It doesn't take much to get me going with weaving, but I admit to having hit a long stall.

Kathryn
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Flickr Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/72428033@N00/albums

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