Marian Stubenitsky’s book ‘Weaving with Echo and Iris’ is full of amazing colour and weave patterns and effects that can be achieved on 4, 8 or 16 shaft looms. They are all based on the concept of ‘network drafting’ which is something I hadn’t tried until recently. Although I found it relatively straightforward to understand the principles, I found it much harder to apply it in practice. However, I decided to do a ‘practice piece’ by simply copying one of Marion’s designs exactly as it was sown in the book.
The design I chose was an 8 shaft colour and weave structure that gives an iridescent effect. (see page 43 of Marion’s book). I also followed her detailed guidance on the choice of colours which is apparently critical to ensuring the optical mixing would give the desired effect.
The technique also requires ‘parallel threading’ which doesn’t seem to be possible using Fiberworks (I think Weavit can do that but I haven’t tried it). So instead I painstakingly copied the threading draft that Marion provided into Fiberworks, and then copied across the liftplan for the design I wanted (fig. 46a).
I wound the Tencel warp with 4 threads (one of each colour Red, Pink, Green, Blue) at a time, which was easier than it sounds, thanks to watching videos posted on the web).
Then it was time to weave! At first, I couldn’t see the pattern hidden in the intersections of the 4 colours, but once I’d woven one repeat of 120 picks and stood back from the loom the patterns were revealed and I could definitely see the iridescence. It’s quite stunning and impressive that it works. Pretty amazing too that Marian has worked this out as it’s a really technical achievement.
For now I am satisfied that I have tried it, but I must admit that I don’t really love it, so perhaps that will be my only venture into the world of Echo weaves, who knows?