Starting with discontinuous supplementary wefts

16 March 2014

The first section of the Brocade Class  was on continuous supplementary weft, i.e. the weft goes from selvage to selvage.  Using a weft that covers only part of the web, discontinuous weft,  allows for more colors to occur in each pick but introduces new technicalities.  Every time you start or stop a weft you have and end or a psuedo-selvage which we will call turns.

One can make the ends the focus  of the design:

discontinuous supp. wefts-endsAt the bottom groups of multi-colored thrums were inlaid.  The effect is rather jolly, a bit like bows.  Above the dividing white line little pieces of metallized leather were inlaid for a very different aesthetic.  Let your imagination run wild with the kinds of things that could be inlaid in this manner.


If one uses longer brocading wefts and wants to use the same weft for many picks , how to get it from one pick to the next?  There are little carry overs when one moves up to the next pick.  I will call these carry -overs turns.

discontinuous supp. wefts-turns


For the grey triangle on the bottom left, the end of the brocading weft is pushed down into the web and allowed to dangling on the back while the tabby shot is placed in the web.  The brocading weft here is  a double strand of embroidery floss. For the next brocade pick, the weft was fished up from the back and then inlaid for the desired  distance and pushed to the back again while the tabby was woven.  The resulting triangle has clean, well defined edges.

The middle red triangle was made with a double strand of #5 perle cotton that is thicker than the double embroidery floss.   Here the brocading weft was left on top of the web at the end of each row.  This is easier, no fishing under the web for the brocading weft but the  turns are visible, making little scallops around the sides of the triangle.  If you look closely the turns alternate, turn on the right then the next row the turn is on the left.  The triangle  does not have the sharp clean lines of the first triangle, it has a scallop edging.

The third triangle on the right, blue, is made by using a single strand of embroidery floss but starting in the middle of it. The brocading weft is placed under the first end and the the ends of the floss are matched and pulled up.  Two long ends, one to the left and one to the right are left on top of the web while the tabby is woven.  For the next brocade pick, the right end is placed in the brocade shed going to the left, and the left end is placed in the same shed going to the right.  So the brocade has a double strand of embroidery floss inlaid and long ends on both left and right.   The entire triangle is made by using both ends for each brocade pick.  The turns are made of a single strand , and occur on both sides for every row.  The results looks more like an outlined triangle.

So these represents 3 different ways to deal with the turns in discontinuous brocading wefts:

  1. turns on the underside (grey triangle)
  2. alternate turns on the surface (red triangle)
  3. turns on the surface at every row. (blue triangle)

The same figure, a triangle in this case, looks different  depending on the turns.  The turns are basically selvages and require the same skills as do the selvages of the piece.

If the turns are not visible on the surface the will be visible on the underside, they are always there you can just chose to make them part of the surface design or not.

The next design up is a 5 color brocade of zigzags done with the turns on the top.  There is a space of 2 ends between the zigzags to allow space for these turns.

At the top are small areas of inlay made with 4 strands of #5 perle cotton.  The large number of strands shows the most in the turns, taking over the design.

Here is the back of the same piece so that you can see where the turns are on the back.

discontinuous supp. wefts-turns 1


Triangles are  important, you need to be able to weave triangles.  A large number of woven brocade textile designs use diagonal lines as does the triangle.  So if you can weave clean triangles you are on your way to weaving many brocaded designs.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: