Monday, March 18, 2013
A friend loaned me her 12-shaft countermarche loom while she is moving.
My first thought: Lovely!
My second thought: Eek!
I've never tied up a countermarche loom before.
My third thought: Eek!
I couldn't think what to do with 12 shafts. I have up to 8, and I want to make the most of this opportunity.
So, I Googled. First I googled "weaving", and went to Images. There I found several images of handwovens that inspired me. (Who'd have thunk I'd be interested in Crackle? But maybe I'll do that sometime soon.)
Next I Googled "woven", and went to Images. There I found more things that inspired me - but often they were images of things that were not woven. Like quilts, for instance.
But then I found this:
It's the full text of a book about advances in weaving, and about new ways of using weaving in other fields, like architecture.
Then an image in Chapter 5, Multiaxis Three Dimensional (3D) Woven Fabric really got my attention:
The image on the right, a cross-section of a side view of a loom designed to weave the fabric shown in the images above these, was something I could almost understand. My way to achieve better understanding was to set the loom up and weave it.
Here is the result:
This fabric requires 7 weft picks to make 1 "row" of fabric. I was having trouble with the orange/yellow warp yarns not getting caught by the weft, so I used 2 bobbins (one blue, one purple) going in opposite directions in each shed. The orange/yellow warp ends up completely covered.
The black/gray/white warp is actually weaving in the Z-axis. It's doing plain weave, and after 7 shots (between warp layers) in Tabby A, it switches to Tabby B. So it's going up, then down, through the woven structure.
The orange/yellow warp yarns are not weaving around anything. They are straight, and 6 layers deep (threaded on 6 shafts). I'm using the loom to lift each layer so I can put the bobbins through between layers.
The weft yarn is also straight, and not actually weaving around anything (except at the edges when they turn to back through a different shed). The section of toothpick weft conveys that more clearly, I hope.
So, the only yarn that is actually required to be soft and pliable is the black/gray/white yarn. In architecture, this structure could be used with rebar in place of the orange/yellow warp and also in place of the weft, as long as something more pliable (wire?) was used in the Z-axis, the way the black/gray/white warp is here.
Clear as mud?
If there was a way to make all these fibers stick together (i.e. glue, felting, etc.), a loom could weave a solid that then could be machined into shapes. You could weave the 2x4's to build your house with. Except that, even though this fabric is solid, it is pliable. I can twist it. I guess if you wove it with fiberglass and then melted it into a semi-solid blob, it wouldn't flex so much.
So, what's it for? Any ideas? I'm working on a list of thoughts, so far it's things like making a square rope, or decorative ideas. With enough shafts, it would be possible to weave a bag with thick solid sides. Joe suggested a yoga mat, which would probably work well. That made me think of a saddle blanket. I don't think this would be hard-wearing enough for that, though.
If I treat the 6 shafts with orange/yellow as a tripleweave, I could weave a folded fabric like a letter Z, and then stitch the layers together with the black/white, or leave them unstitched so they could unfold. Woven pleats! But if one pleat requires 6 shafts, a fabric with several would be a real shaft hog.
Please share your ideas!