Monday, March 14, 2016

Theo Moorman on Three Shafts ~ A Scarf

I am involved in a study group with my guild, the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners; and this year our topic is inlay.

I thought I’d take a look at the Theo Moorman technique of inlay and see how far I can go with it. Typically, this technique is used in tapestry or ecclesiastical weaving, and it involves a surface design element laid over a woven background cloth.  The inlay is held in place by a nearly invisible tie down thread which is hidden within the warp and only surfaces when needed.

I thought I’d start with the simplest permutation of Theo Moorman; that is plain weave ground cloth and one tie down thread; so, only three shafts are needed.

I found this pattern in Handwoven Magazine May/June 2013; the pattern was created by Line Dufour (you can read her blog here).

I pulled the ground cloth warp ends separately from the tie down ends and this created a bit of a problem for me. How was I going to get them to interleave; since I prefer to warp back to front.  I ended up using two sets of lease sticks, one for each warp and after the ends were spread I lashed them together.
This worked perfectly! The ground cloth is woven on shafts 1 and 2 alternately and the surface design is laid in on shaft 3.   The tie down threads are always in play and move with shaft 1 while creating the background and independently on shaft 3.
This scarf wove up very quickly and frankly I  found it a bit boring.
 I am a bit concerned that the underside of the scarf has quite a bit of pattern telegraphing ~ not enough to be interesting but enough to notice.
I was really concerned when I pulled this scarf off the loom; it was as stiff as a board and during the weaving process the Tencel had completely lost its lustre!

I had my fingers crossed as it went into the Eucalan wash, hoping it would soften.  After it dried it was much softer but still not very supple.  I guess that it is the nature of plain weave to be firm, but this was unpleasantly firm!
I decided to throw it into the dryer with a clean towel on the Air/Fluff setting and viola ~ it came out wonderfully supple!
I will periodically be working on Theo Moorman’s technique throughout the year and I hope to see just how far I can push the concept and still make a wearable scarf or shawl.


Peg Cherre said...

I love the scarf! Very glad it softened up for you. I've done very little of those things I've never made the time for.

Bluebonnet weaver said...

Your post got me wondering, would you be able to incorporate the inlay on top of another weaving pattern like overshoot? Since the tie down thread only surfaces when it is needed I think it might work...

Thank you for your time!

Lynnette said...

Ahh, you've read my mind; that is exactly where I'm heading. My next project will be to make another scarf, but to change the background cloth to twill to see if the structure has more drape. Using Overshot without tabby could work too, but it may be too stiff, just have to give it a go I guess. It should be fun to see where I end up.