I've been occupied the past week or so with weaving 18 samples for a study group I belong to. Complex Weavers is an international organization of weavers dedicated to "expanding the boundaries of handweaving, to encourage weavers to develop their own creative styles, to inspire through research, documentation, and the sharing of innovative ideas." One of the ways that we do this is through study groups - and I'm honored to be a member of  the Sixteens study group, which was the original group that formed Complex Weavers!

Each year we collectively decide on a weaving topic to explore and weave samples to exchange with one another through the mail, along with the weaving drafts we created, resources we used, etc. We exchange samples in October - which means I've been getting fabulous little envelopes with wonderful textile samples in them for the past couple of weeks. 

(The fabric for my samples this year, on the loom.)

This year we chose to explore echo weave, and I finally mailed mine out yesterday... Here's a peek at my process. I've woven echo weave before, but never with four colors and three echos, so that's what I decided to do. Decision made, I played around in my weaving software (Fiberworks), to create a draft  along those lines that I liked. I'm drawn to curves, too, so that's where I started. (For the weavers out there - I plotted a smooth curve over 8 shafts and then extrapolated it out into a 3-echo threading pattern with a spacing of four for each echo thread; I drafted my treadling as a smooth curve, too, plotting it out by hand rather than relying on Fiberworks' networking tool. One of the constraints of 16s is that we use all 16 shafts on our loom - I don't have a compudobby so I knew the treadling would be heavy on my Macomber, but it worked out just fine).

Next step, color... one of the guiding principles of echo weave is to choose highly saturated, analagous colors, with some contrast if you want to venture into creating a little irredescence. I figured the lime green, which is analagous to the teal blue, is also far enough around the color wheel to serve as a complement to the purple...


The warp was a bit of a tangled mess at first! I started off winding all four colors held together, but sleying them in the correct order made me nuts, so I switched and wound two separate bouts, laying them into the reed on on top of the other. MUCH better.

Here's the warp wound onto the back beam. The part of the warp that I would in two separated bouts went on really smoothly! (That first little bit? Not so much. Lesson learned.)

The tie-up was a little crazy. I used 8 lamm hooks on each of 16 treadles - I only had one left over!

For the study group samples, I used two colors of weft - since it's a study group, it's good to explore, right? The gold weft made for a pretty eye-popping textile - the black was much calmer. Can you see the echos in the woven pattern? Pretty nifty, huh?

I was intending to weaving a scarf for myself but after weaving quite a bit to figure out what sort of sample to send along to my fellow group members and then weaving 18 samples, I was pretty much done with the warp.

As always, a really rewarding experience, and a nice break from weaving for shows and galleries. Speaking of which... back to work for me!