Thursday, 14 May 2009

Progress... and tablet weave insights

I've almost won my struggle with the unwieldy article - just the pictures left to insert, a once-over on the text and bibliography, and then it's finished. Whew!

In other progress news, I did a bit more on the play-band yesterday evening, so the warp is almost used up now. Besides playing around with turning sequences and finally trying a few pattern variations I've wanted to try for ages, I have arrived at the conclusion that for weaving freestyle knotwork patterns, the "less is more" approach won't work properly.

I set up this play-band with twelve tablets only, because that is a number that will already allow to see some interesting patterning, can be divided into two small, easy to handle packs of six tablets when doing a split of direction in the middle, and is fast to work even in twill - since there aren't many tablets to shift from one pack to the other. Because the band is intended as a teaching tool/workshop helper, those were things I thought important (and I'm still sure it is a very good width and setup for learning how to do twill).

To give me a greater variation of things to try out on the band, I looked for pattern inspiration on other bands (both my own, older play-band sequences and pictures of bands on the internet). There were some simple knot-style patterns that I drafted for trying on my band, and to my delight I found that an astounding lot of patterns will just be possible to do with such a slim band.

However, when weaving those tiny patterns with knotwork elements, I found that while twelve tablets will technically work, it is utterly complicated... because there is so little time. I'd finish one of the red pattern lines, running from the outside to the middle of the band and going back into twill to have only that pattern line visible on the band. But the band is so slim that I can't get into a proper twill pattern there, because already a complete reversion of weave direction is needed, or I have to start out on the next pattern bit. And the other tablets also need attention because of go-into-twill, come-out-of-twill or some patterning in their sequence. That is just too much on too short notice and too little room - and I imagine that on a wider band with more tablets, there is much more time to let this section twill on quietly while you care for the pattern bit in the other section. Also, the sets of tablets going mainly this or that direction were too small. Try working a twill structure with 12 tablets divided into four sets - that is three tablets only per set; much too few to see the structure or get into the rhythm of the thing. And rhythm and structure both are very important to me when weaving, since I hate nothing more than following a pattern draft line by line and counting off tablets (first forward, second backwards, third and fourth forwards, yuck!)

Well, since the play-band is almost finished, and since I have some nice silk lying around for a wider band, and since I wanted to weave a slim belt for some fittings I still have around... I think I'll make the warp for the new band a tad longer and play for a bit, just to see if freestyle knotwork is better possible on a band with 40 tablets.

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