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WOOLGATHERERS Jacquard Design and Weaving  
TC-1 Intermediate

Intermediate Classes on the TC-1


Yes, it is still a handloom – with a bit of technology added.

The certificate program at EMU continues from the relatively straightforward conversion of imagery into shaded satins into more complex weaves. The next two courses at the intermediate level are based on utilizing the warp as 2 systems, to be used with at least 2 wefts.

I was downsized from my IT position in 2006. Very close to full retirement, I decided to open a retail fiber shop. A few months later, I was surprised to receive notification that my former employer was involved in a lawsuit about cutting workplaces for older workers. Thanks to a very generous caseworker at the Dept. of Wowrkforce Development, I was offered a retraining scholarship for the next two intermediate Jacquard courses at EMU in the summer of 2007.

Both classes were based on using a system of 2 warps and 2 or more wefts.

The first course that summer involved using a stitched double weave to achieve effects similar to a dithered newsprint photo and a technique known as weft backed satin - frequently seen in upholstery fabrics which presents 2 faces and 2 layers.

For the graphic representation I chose an old family photo(ca. 1983) of rather dubious quality taken of my very first major project in 100% linen, commercial warp and handspun weft, woven in the museum building shown in the photograph. The occasion was having coffee and cake on the fabric after cutting it from the loom

The setting here is a large farmhouse in Danish style located in the Freilicht Museum Kiel-Molfsee near Kiel, Germany.

The subdued tones and impressionistic quality of the out of focus photo make it a good candidate for a woven representation.

Doing the graphic in 1:1 doubleweave means that the number of warp threads available is double the number of pixels that can be used in the width of the image. The TC-1 used has 1320 threads available, and exactly half that number will comprise each layer.

The photograph is first rendered in grayscale and the number of colors reduced to 7 or less. The weaver must pay attention to how the details translate so not to lose important elements. The next step is to use Photoshop or Jacquad to dither the image - each pixel in the photograph is a quadrant consisting of 2 warp threads and two weft inserts - the dithering transforms the pixels into those quadrants indicating with a black or white square which warps will be lifted for each row.

As with any doubleweave, this is a 2 shuttle weave. The warp was 20/1 cotton in 2 shades of beige- one warm and one cool, at 43.5 epi. For weft, I chose a forest green 20/1 linen doubled for the dark weft and a white slubby cotton about a 10/2 weight for the light weft. The thicker weft is to compensate for the fact that each layer now has a density of around 22 epi.

As with any Jacquard project, a color blanket and aspect sample was woven prior to weaving the photo. This step provides information about the weft choices and how they will enhance or detract from the finished weaving, as well as any corrections to the number of pixels in the height to achieve an undistorted result.



Dithered image ready to convert into a weaving file for the loom.


Finished weaving before wet finishing and hemming.

At that same session, with time and allotted picks to spare, I tried a small sample of weft backed satin. In this technique, the warp is also treated as two systems - one for the front and one for the back. Two shuttles, and two wefts are used. The ground for each layer is a warp(or weft) faced 8-end satin covering as much of the other as possible. Where pattern areas are to be featured, one of the various satin shadings is used for that area.
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Here I have taken a simple graphic from a Dover image of the week feature and worked it up into a test of three variations of the weft backed satin technique.




For more information on the TC-1 program, contact:

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti , MI

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