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About weaving simple twill fabrics on 4 and 8 shaft looms

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Here are some images of some of our fabric designs based on twills on 4 or 8 shaft looms.  As you can see we enjoy using drill or damask threadings as well as 3/1 interrupted twills with colour and weave effects.

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To invent your own designs it´s really important to understand textile drafting – come and do a 2 day intensive course with us if you don´t already know how to do this

Anna Champeney offers residential one-to-one tuition for intermediate and beginner level weavers and courses in textile drafting for beginners at her home in the idyllic Ribeira Sacra, northwest Spain.

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Advice on loom weaving courses, books and buying a loom

katherine taylor 500  pix

Louet table loom: Looms like this require a minimum of 24 – 35 hours tuition to enable you to set it up and weave simple fabrics.

Today I received this message from a Chilean lady who had bought a 4-pedal floor loom but without knowing how to use it…

“Recently I have really wanted to learn to weave on a loom and I´ve bought two looms, each with 4 pedals, from a Chilean craftsman.  I´ve read on your blog about the importance of choosing a loom….  but I´ve begun at the end!  Now I´ve bought the looms I really want to be able to get good use out of them.   But I´ve only had 4 hours of tuition.  As I don´t know anything about weaving, it´s really very little ….”

Having a floor loom without knowing how to use it is a bit like having a small plane without knowing how to fly it!

My reader goes on to ask me for advice, and I replied as I always do to this kind of inquiry.  I don´t advise anyone to buy a loom (unless it´s a rigid heddle loom) without doing a course first!  

 

Buying a loom and the other necessary equipment can be costly so it is best to learn first and know that you´re going to enjoy weaving.

Speaking personally I have invested almost every year since I began weaving in 2000 in improving my weaving and designing skills.  I have travelled 12 hours to do a course in Barcelona and travelled to the UK, and, where necessary, paid for one-to-one tuition in particular areas, learning with professionals such as master weaver Lotte Dalgaard.  I think it´s really important, as a beginner, to have a good first experience of weaving – with a properly trained teacher.

000 tejedoras españolas con lotte dalgaard al final curso

Loom weaving – an activity for life

Weaving is far more versatile than crochet or knitting and you can make anything from gossamer light linen for light headscarves to heavier fabrics for upholstery or rugs.  There are so many techniques to learn that you will never exhaust your curiosity to learn more.

Learning to weave from books

Of course there ARE books for beginner weavers, although I still think any new weaver will get more out of them after doing a beginners´ course.  So, for my Chilean reader, here´s a couple of recommendations….

If you read English then I would recommend all the weaving books by Peggy Osterkamp.  She is the best author I know for explaining technical information in a simple and easy-to-understand way.  She even has a d.v.d. now, which could be well worth trying as an alternative to a book.  But expect to spend several days in total on your first weave project.  It´s not something you can master in an afternoon.

In Castillian Spanish there is very little literature about loom weaving.  But you do have one that is pretty comprehensive and what´s more, you can download it free.

Neither of the books I´ve recommended are that inspiring visually – it´s not their objective (Ninette Frederiksen´s book was written in the 1980s and stylistically it shows.  But they are meant to teach you the technical side of weaving – how your loom works and how to put the yarns onto it so you can weave them.  I have not seen Peggy Ostercamp´s video but on the strength of her books I would think it would be worth trying.

Weave courses

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Fabric samples made by a group of pupils on a 5-day linen weaving course for beginners which I usually organise annually from my studio in the picturesque village where I live in the mountains of north Spain.

My recommendation for beginners is that they opt for 24 – 35 hours tuition to learn just the basics of setting up the loom and weaving basic fabrics on it.  The courses run at my studio, Anna Champeney Estudio Textil in  north Spain, for example, are intensive and last 3 – 5 days (see the section of the textiles naturales blog for next course dates).  A course enables the beginner weaver to set up their loom and weave simply fabric.  And yes, after this it is possible to take a table loom home with you after the course, and and start weaving simple fabrics on your own at home, because several pupils have done this…. and are still weaving years later!

Knowing how the loom works and how to set it up is one thing.  But I guess, like my blog reader in Latin America, you want to weave not because you´re passionate about becoming a weave technician but because you want to create beautiful woven cloth.

Weaving beautiful cloth

The simplest of fabrics can be very beautiful.  Plainweave is the simplest weave that all beginners learn and which is woven 80% of the time by industry.  It is also extremely versatile.  So you can weave fabrics knowing just the basics.

When you want to progress and design something more complex or original you will need to think about learning some weave theory.

Weave Theory

BlanketsEasterlyDetail
To design complex, original fabrics l ike this one, by Eleanor Pritchard (UK) requires professional level training including weave theory and design skills.

Weave theory starts with understanding more about the structures of woven cloth and how they can be represented on paper.  Most weave books cover the basics.  At Anna Champeney Estudio Textil we offer a 2-day weekend course with excercises that you can practice with.  Weave theory allows you to understand more about how woven cloth is made instead of simply following formulas blindly.   Even if you don´t want to go on to design your own original woven fabrics you will find that a basic understanding of the graphic representation of weave enables you to use pattern books and weave magazines such as Handwoven, to try out more complex patterns.

How to design your hand-woven fabrics

Designing your own original weave projects requires different knowledge areas to those of setting up a loom and weaving simple fabric.  Design requires a knowledge of cloth drafting (representing a woven cloth on paper), and an understanding of the 6 principle elements of weave design and the way they work together:

  1. Yarn and its qualities
  2. The spacing of yarn on the loom and during weaving (warp and weft density)
  3. Woven cloth structure
  4. Colour
  5. Cloth finishing

In English there are some excellent books for understanding about weave theory and design.  Ann Sutton´s excellent book “The Structure of Weaving” and ” Mastering Weave Structures” by Sharon Alderman.

However you decide to learn to weave I wish you the best of luck and hope you´ll enjoy weaving beautiful fabrics for years to come.

How I learned to weave – by Anna Champeney

Hoy os pongo este mensaje que recibí hoy de una mujer chilena que tiene muchas ganas para aprender a tejer en telar….

“Recientemente me nació un deseo incontrolable por dedicarme a la técnica del telar, y he adquirido 2 telares de 4 pedales confeccionados por un artesano chileno. he leído en su página web: la importancia en la elección del telar, pero yo comencé desde el final. Como ya los compré debo tratar de sacarles el máximo provecho. Sólo recibí una instrucción de 4 horas. Para no saber nada de telar, obviamente es muy poco para mí”

No me sorprende que está con dificultades !Es un poco como tener un coche o avioneta … pero sin recibir formación de piloto!

Me pide consejos para aprender a tejer en telar de bajo lizo a base de libros.  Le he respondido como siempre en casos parecidos;  no aconsejo a nadie intentar a tejer en telares (excepto telares muy sencillos, como los telares llamados rígidos) de bajo lizo sin realizar un curso presencial con alguien experimentado.

Y más, es recomendable realizar un curso antes de invertir lo que puede ser bastante dinero en la compra de un telar.

Hablando personalmente he invertido en cursos de formación cada año, desde que empecé a tejer en el año 2000.  He asistido en cursos de principiante, cursos monográficos, cursos teóricos y cursos de diseño.  Creo que para aprender la técnica básica, ganas muchísimo aprendiendo directamente de alguien, porque te ahorrarás muchos líos y no te desanimarás.

000 tejedoras españolas con lotte dalgaard al final curso
8 tejedoras profesionales españolas aprendiendo la técnica de collapse weave (tejidos plisados) con Lotte Dalgaard (izq)., maestra tejedora danesa, en Anna Champeney Estudio Textil, Galicia)

El tejido en telar – una actividad para acompañarte durante toda la vida

El tejido en telar de bajo lizo es una actividad creativa realmente fantástica y mucho más versátil que el ganchillo o tejido con agujas.  Puedes tejer desde tejidos superfinos hasta alfombras gruesas, cortinas de lino o tejidos clásicos de pata de gallo, para chaquetas o abrigos.

Pero no es nada obvio como usar la máquina de tejer y hace falta prepararlo bien con los hilos.  Piénsalo así  – si realmente fuera tan fácil, habría un montón de revistas a la venta con proyectos para tejer en telar.  Pues, no he visto ninguna revista en librerías dedicado al tejido en telar.  Por algó será…..

Aprender a tejer con libros

Para mi lectora chilena, voy a hablar de los mejores libros que conozco para tejer.

Si sabes entender el inglés, pues, tienes un montón de literatura sobre el tema.  La autora preferida mía sobre temas técnicos de tejer en telar es Peggy Osterkamp y tiene una gama de libros y incluso un dvd para principiantes.  Realmente tiene un talento especial en explicar – y simplificar – el tema.  Los dibujos en sus libros son excelentes y puede ser que compensa comprar algún libro suyo simplemente por los dibujos.  Sigo diciendo, no obstante, que un libro para principiantes te ayudará más una vez que has realizado un curso básico.  No conozco personalmente el d.v.d. pero podría ser también una buena manera para aprender.

En la lengua castellana casi no existe bibliografía sobre el tejido en telar para principiantes.  Pero tienes uno que se puede descargar online –

Neither of the books I´ve recommended are that inspiring visually – it´s not their objective (Ninette Frederiksen´s book was written in the 1980s and stylistically it shows.  But they are meant to teach you the technical side of weaving – how your loom works and how to put the yarns onto it so you can weave them.  I have not seen Peggy Ostercamp´s video but on the strength of her books I would think it would be worth trying.

Weave courses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fabrics made by a group of pupils on a 5-day linen weaving course for beginners at Anna Champeney Estudio Textil in the mountains of north Spain.

My recommendation for beginners is that they opt for 24 – 35 hours tuition to learn just the basics of setting up the loom and weaving basic fabrics on it.  The courses run at my studio, Anna Champeney Estudio Textil in  north Spain, for example, are intensive and last 3 – 5 days (see the section of the textiles naturales blog for next course dates).  A course enables the beginner weaver to set up their loom and weave simply fabric.  And yes, after this it is possible to take a table loom home with you after the course, and and start weaving simple fabrics on your own at home, because several pupils have done this…. and are still weaving years later!

Knowing how the loom works and how to set it up is one thing.  But I guess, like my blog reader in Latin America, you want to weave not because you´re passionate about becoming a weave technician but because you want to create beautiful woven cloth.

Weaving beautiful cloth

The simplest of fabrics can be very beautiful.  Plainweave is the simplest weave that all beginners learn and which is woven 80% of the time by industry.  It is also extremely versatile.  So you can weave fabrics knowing just the basics.

When you want to progress and design something more complex or original you will need to think about learning some weave theory.

Weave Theory

BlanketsEasterlyDetail
To design complex, original fabrics l ike this one, by Eleanor Pritchard (UK) requires professional level training including weave theory and design skills.

Weave theory starts with understanding more about the structures of woven cloth and how they can be represented on paper.  Most weave books cover the basics.  At Anna Champeney Estudio Textil we offer a 2-day weekend course with excercises that you can practice with.  Weave theory allows you to understand more about how woven cloth is made instead of simply following formulas blindly.   Even if you don´t want to go on to design your own original woven fabrics you will find that a basic understanding of the graphic representation of weave enables you to use pattern books and weave magazines such as Handwoven, to try out more complex patterns.

How to design your hand-woven fabrics

Designing your own original weave projects requires different knowledge areas to those of setting up a loom and weaving simple fabric.  Design requires a knowledge of cloth drafting (representing a woven cloth on paper), and an understanding of the 6 principle elements of weave design and the way they work together:

  1. Yarn and its qualities
  2. The spacing of yarn on the loom and during weaving (warp and weft density)
  3. Woven cloth structure
  4. Colour
  5. Cloth finishing

In English there are some excellent books for understanding about weave theory and design.  Ann Sutton´s excellent book “The Structure of Weaving” and ” Mastering Weave Structures” by Sharon Alderman.

Good luck, and keep a look out for our weave courses for beginners and for those with more experience.  We offer intensive courses and one-to-one tuition.

How I learned to weave – by Anna Champeney

Cómo aprendí a tejer por Anna Champeney

 

 

 

 

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Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves by Ann Richards – Exhibition and book launch in London May 2012

Collapse weave book by Ann Richards reviewed by Anna Champeney



Cover of Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves ISBN 978 1 84797 319 1

Cover photo Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves ISBN 978 1 84797 319 1 by The Crowood Press 25 pounds sterling


This collapse weave manual is a comprehensive  companion to Lotte Dalgaard´s new Magical Materials To Weave (Trafalgar), also a new publication for 2012.  Both authors are experienced,  experimental professional weavers with a passion for using active (elastic, overtwisted) yarns.   It is a real pleasure to read a book based on serious research, with a wealth of authoritative information, and quality photographs of inspiring woven textiles.  A suppliers list, bibliography and cross-referenced index are especially valuable, enabling readers to get the most out of the subject and learn more.  Both books understandably focus on the properties of yarn, an understanding of which is fundamental for designing and weaving collapse textiles.  Richards´ book is particularly good on explaining about type of spin and the phenomenon of tracking and is comprehensive in its coverage of sett and structure including double weave.  Another strength of Richards´ book is her inclusion of stunning work by other prominent weavers worldwide, including Deirdre Wood, Junichi Arai, Reiko Sudo (Nuno).  The reversable bag by Junichi Arai (woven in four layers which is completely self-forming) is a good example of the way this Japanese designer relishes technical challenges in weaving.

Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves starts and finishes with the theme of woven textile design.  Too often weave books are based on formulas or drafts and cloth swatches which inevitably encourage one to copy rather than innovate.  This goes hand-in-hand with another problem in the weaving world which is the lack of opportunitites to learn design skills (I see this in non-English speaking countries like Spain and Latin America, for example).

Personally, I was lucky in learning about the importance of sampling from Francisca Pellisca, the Catalan weave artist, who gave me my first introduction to cloth drafting, and so right from the beginning I just assumed that whenever I started a new weave project I would incorporate a section of warp for experimenting, the results of which would lead onto a final, more worked, design.  Twelves years on from then and the baskets of samples have become an important reference collection for my own work – it is never enough to have comprehensive written records to refer back to.

As Richards comments, this approach of sampling is by no means standard amongst weavers but if the world of constructed textiles is to move on it needs to nurture and promote the idea of weave design as a core skill that all weavers learn – whether as professionals or home weavers.  Otherwise standards will drop, the collective body of knowledge will shrink, the sector will lose prestige and visibility and weave be consigned to the status of formula-based hobbycraft rather than as a serious, constantly evolving profession.  The chapter “Designing as a Conversation” contains useful pointers for all weavers interested in designing themselves, with straight-forward and practical information, alongside images of Richards´ own work, including her signature pieces – highly sculptural neckpieces.  In view of the philosophy behind the book it comes as no surprise that Richards´ book does not contain projects or fabric recipes, but it is clearly aiming at creating a readership that is more interested in acquiring the fundamental knowledge behind collapse weave to empower themselves to develop their own designs.

It almost goes without saying that this is not a book for beginners but it is essential reading for those weavers of intermediate to advanced level who are fascinated by the properties of yarn and the incredibly complex interaction with woven structure.  This is a book which will inspire and raise standards and should be standard reading on constructed textile courses.

Exhibition of collapse textiles in Handweavers´  Studio, London 18 May – 13 June 2012

“Minstrel II” Scarf







Anna champeney estudio textil design

Angora collapse scarf "Minstrel II" by featured artist in exhibition at Handweavers´ Studio 18 May - 13 June 2012






fular Minstrel IIThis exhibition features work by Ann Richards and Lotte Dalgaard as well as  other artists featured in Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves.  The show isorganised to coincide with the double book launch.

Here you can see one of the exhibits, new work by Anna Champeney Estudio Textil, together with interesting background information about how the piece was designed and woven.  This piece is available for sale.  Price.

  • 200cm x 16cm
  • Cord  weave with reversed weave structure
  • Natural dyed angora, alpaca, wool (indigo, copper, cochineal), corneta transparent yarn and high twist wool

Weave Tuition / Weave retreats at Anna Champeney Estudio Textil, Spain

Anna Champeney Estudio Textil offers residential weave tuition at the studio itself, set in a picturesque village amidst stunning mountain scenery in northwest Spain (nearest airports:  Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña).  8-shaft table looms and yarns (linen, angora, wool) are also available for hire for those wishing to combine a holiday with a weave retreat.  Self-catering accommodation is available in Casa dos Artesans, the simple but comfy cottage adjacent to the weave studio (2 – 5 people).  The area offers good walking, thermal spas and historic monasteries and castles, plus local bars serving simple, home-cooked fresh food and local wine.  To contact the studio directly click here.



design work

Preliminary design work by Anna Champeney Estudio Textil for Minstrel II includes cloth drafting on Weavepoint, yarn wraps and colour-design tables. The design was based on earlier experiments in cord weave with fairly thick angora, alpaca and wool warp which was hand-dyed with indigo, copper and cochineal. Various samples were woven to test out different effects with different active and stable yarns.











Galicia Ribeira Sacr Penalba

View from the village of Cristosende, where Anna Champeney Estudio Textil is situated in Galicia, northwest Spain




Detail of collapse scarf handwoven in Spain (Anna Champeney Estudio Textil)design details collapse weave by anna champeney

Sampling is an important part of the design process. Different combinations of weft yarns and densities were trialled. In the end the piece used corneta transparent (Danish Yarn Purchasing Association, www.yarn.dk) and a high twist wool in the weft. The second photo shows what the textile design looks like prior to wet finishing, when just cut from the loom.


Just off the loom – Natural dyed silk scarves in waffle weave – available to buy now

lauras scarf

Photo of silk waffle weave scarf by Anna Champeney (ref. 50/50 Laura-F.A.). This special version features numerous colour changes which give it a shimmering effect. This is a non-repeatable, one-of-a-kind piece. SOLD

Limited series with unique colourways on each scarf, hand-woven from 50% sillk, 50% wool, with other similar versions with angora, cashmere.   Prices range between 95€ – 185€.  Information on request.









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