This is a wonderful field of discovery for different textures.  The areas I have focussed on so far are different setts, different yarn properties, different weave structures, different ratios.

Today’s blog is a quick overview of how texture can be created through the manipulation of two different layers that can interact with one another.

In the first instance, you can sett your two different layers differently, and see what difference that makes to the finished effect.  You can use different yarns for each layer with differing shrinkage rates and watch the crinkles and puckers appear as you wash it.  This is particularly effective with plain weave as the non-shrinking yarn and a different weave structure for the shrinking yarn. 

You can vary the proportion of one layer to the other.  Bonnie Inouye has been working on this particular way of creating texture.  Bonnie tries different ratios of cloth in many different structures and has great fun with it.  I have also been using different ratios in both single and double cloth combinations. 

You can, of course, combine different ratios and different shrinkage rates for even more dramatic results.  You may be wondering what the difference is between sett and ratio.  The difference is that sett is how you plan one structure on its own.  Ratio is how you relate two layers to each other.  The simplest weave structures usually work the best for the non-shrinking layer, but weave structures that utilise floats are brilliant for shrinking yarns that pull the non-shrinking layer into all kinds of convolutions during finishing.

Finishing – now there’s a theme just ripe for playing with – is a great fun way of trying out texture.  The tumble dryer is a useful tool in this game – I usually combine my samples with a load of washing that I can’t hang outside (especially now we’re getting into winter which is a great time for experimenting with finishing treatments!) so I don’t feel guilty that I’m using unnecessary electricity because the weather’s bad anyway…. Try different wash temperatures, try different amounts of agitation, and different methods of drying.

In double cloth you have the wonderful facility of being able to interchange your layers, and designing different amounts of interchange can lead to some great textural results.  Play with your threading, create uneven sized blocks, vary your sett, use crammed and spaced sleying, try different beats in your weaving, try different ratios in your weaving too – 2 picks of one layer v 1 pick of the other, for example. 

You can see just with these different areas there is unlimited scope for combining different elements in different ways for different results.  You just have to be willing to make mistakes and not mind.  I try not to be too precious about my weaving which is why I sample such a lot.  It doesn’t matter if I make mistakes when sampling and I might just find something quite unexpected!

When I am designing for texture, I usually have an image of something that has inspired me and I pin it up on the wall and wonder about how I can combine different techniques to create that specific result.  Other people work in very different ways.  The main thing is to play and have fun.

Next week, I’ll take some of these ideas further and show you samples of the results….