Image: Marian Stubenitsky – 4S pick-up (I’m calling it Shooting Star – with permission!)

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks (in a good way!) since the last blog…

Firstly, thanks so much for all the wonderful responses you gave me on Woven Optical Illusions. If you haven’t already participated but want to take part to let me know what you would like to see in the project, here is the link for the 4-question survey. I’ll give you a breakdown of the results in just a moment.

(And if you didn’t catch the last post and wonder what on earth I’m talking about, here is the information you might want to know….) And if you haven’t yet signed up for the newsletter for the Woven Optical Illusions project, you can also do that here.

But before the survey results, what’s the second question that people tend to ask you when you mention that you’re a weaver (after ‘What is a weaver’ of course! ;^))

Is it  ‘How on earth did you get into that?’

It’s natural to want to find out just how the weaving bug caught someone. It’s a ‘peek behind the curtains’ and is always a fascinating story to hear.

Well, I have recently been asking that question to quite a few of the weavers who have made big impressions on me over the years and they have been answering!! From world-famous weavers, teachers, friends and students, fabulous weavers have been sending me their stories and some images of something that either inspired them or is something of which they are proud.

So I’m really excited to announce that, starting from next week, there will be a regular fortnightly guest blog here starting off with the prolific, ebullient and amazing force of nature that is Daryl Lancaster on How I Got Into Weaving and I, for one, can’t wait! I can promise you that these shared stories will have you hooked, surprised and delighted!

So watch this space every two weeks, starting from next weekend!

Now, back to Woven Optical Illusions and the results of the survey…

One of the interesting aspects that came out of the survey was an impression that woven optical illusions can only be created through shadow weave and colour-and-weave effects. Whilst these do indeed create some incredible effects (and I am exploring them in depth on my loom right now!), there are many and varied ways to create different sorts of optical illusions. Just as there are many different approaches to optical illusions in graphic form, so too there are different aspects to optical illusions through weaving and it is my intention to dive into some of those in addition to the more understood techniques of shadow weave and colour-and-weave.

There have been some very interesting results from the survey. Here are just a few to give you an insight into what people are thinking about.

Question 1 – what looms do you have?        29% of participants have rigid heddle looms, whilst 50% have access to 4-shaft looms and 86% to 8-shaft looms. 29% have 16-shaft looms, 24% have 24-shaft looms, 10% 32-shafts and 2% have 40-shaft looms.

Question 2 – People are most interested in:

  1. how to use colour to create the illusions,
  2. what are the most important elements to get right (yarns, setts and structures),
  3. distances involved in order to get the best effects (this could be a lot of fun!!),
  4. what can be woven on 4 shafts and 8 shafts especially,
  5. how texture impacts on illusions
  6. what is essential to create an effective woven optical illusion.

Question 3 – Techniques to create optical illusions.     This was really interesting – whilst 33% of participants wanted to know more about shadow weave/colour-and-weave, only 8% were interested in deflected double weave. 30% are looking for double cloth effects and 19% are interested in plaited effects, with similar numbers for ombré and moiré effects. Diversified weaves came in at 17%, supplementary warp and/or weft effects had 14% but twills and summer and winter effects gained only 8% each.

Question 4 – extra topics that people would like to see are tumbling blocks, honeycomb, unconventional materials, bold graphic effects, warp spacing and shaded satins.

The results of this survey are very illuminating and gave some results that I did not expect. Thank you all so much for your input! They will impact directly on the book and the online courses, and might also lead to some general blog postings.

If you haven’t yet taken part and want to change the balance of power in the statistics, please don’t hesitate – click here to have your say!  And don’t forget, if you’ve not yet signed up for regular updates about the project, you can do that here.

Until next week and Daryl Lancaster’s story of How I Got Into Weaving,

Happy Weaving!!