This micro collection is the unexpected result of an unexpected year.
During lockdown in 2020, with limited supplies of materials, I found myself revisiting a structure which is perfect for small amounts of hand-dyed yarn. It’s based on one of the most ancient and timeless of weaves, the twill.
The nature of a twill is that the interlacement makes a small step to one side with each throw of the weft. As these steps build up, the twill’s characteristic diagonal appears.
There are good reasons why this weave has been popular for thousands of years. The most practical is that it produces a fabric which drapes well. This type of interlacement is flexible and it therefore makes a cloth which is comfortable to wear. But its simplicity holds a wealth of pattern potential as well.
When a weaver is weaving with twill, one of the choices they can make is how much of the weft yarn to show on the face of the cloth. A twill can be ‘balanced’ with equal quantities of warp and weft in play, or it can be dominant in one or the other.
In these scarves I have used techniques which combine weft- and warp-dominant twills in two ways. In the grey body of the scarf, the warp and weft are the same colour, but the contrasting twill faces catch the light in dramatically different ways.
In the pattern detail at the ends of the scarf, I have used two weft yarns in opposing twills to create areas of very bold colour. In these sections the grey warp has almost completely disappeared.
Creating the effect of curves in a weave calls for careful control of the individual threads. The one stroke of amazing good fortune in my life this year was that I had ordered a new loom from Finland and it arrived in February, several weeks earlier than expected. At the time it was a bit of a scramble to make space for it, but my goodness I was glad of it a month later! This loom has 32 shafts – twice the number I have been working with up to now – and this allows me to exercise the control I need to create a smooth-looking curve in my designs.
Here’s a timelapse of the two-shuttle process which creates the pattern detail. I’m not quite as fast as this in real life…