February 26, 2010

Creating Cloth

One of my favorite things about weaving is the drafting process- analyzing cloth and figuring out its construction. There are infinite variations of interlacements possible. Working in the fashion industry has a few perks- I work in the fabric department, so all day long I am looking at hundreds of swatches and sample yardage cuts- it's a fabric lovers dream in that regard, even if the fabrics themselves can be a bit... moderate and, dare i say, tacky? (I make my case with image 1A. Yes, that is a leopard's face on a leopard print- and it did not scan well, but they really took it to another level with a good hearty layer of silver foil.) And as I am one for beating my point into the ground, I bring you image 1B, a velour basecloth with animal printed foil in an animal pattern. Gorgeous! With this legging craze still going around and getting more and more outrageous by the moment (printed and solid sequins, back for another round of printed velvet), I would not be surprised to see this velour/foil made up in leggings in the near future.

1A: leopard face 1B: velour & animal foil

Ok, so back to the woven swatches with their intriguing constructions! In my pre-loom days, dreaming of weaving, I started collecting tiny swatches of fabrics so that I could keep my head in the construction of cloth- weaving on grid paper for a lack of a loom. I now have a box full of swatches, some drawn out, some still waiting. I am interested in them primarily for construction, usually not color or fiber. I love the possibilities of masking and enhancing structure by color layout or creating contractions and texture through adding wool or high twist yarns.
Here are two of my more recent ones:

I was happy to find that I could recreate this first one! It is such a simple draft, but the colors and plaid layout really make it nice. (please forgive the pen mistakes! this is why having a good pencil around is key)

This one is also just in my shaft range! I start out with graph paper so that I can draw these out on the go- the subway ride to work, or at lunch in Herald Square, but then I move to the computer for ease of catching mistakes and a clearer read when threading. I haven't had much luck finding Mac compatible software that is affordable and user friendly- and no, running Windows on my Mac is not an option. But I keep looking- and the joy of figuring it out pick by pick is well worth it.

More to come- how about Friday constructions?

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