Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'That' Celtic Pattern - Part 2

This post is just a short blurb to say I very much recommend weaving pick-ups by watching the pattern in your band rather than a line by line following of the pattern on paper.  What do I mean by that?  Well, here's how I used to do this pick-up pattern:

I started by making a copy of the pattern in a format that was easy to read and could be taped onto my loom for easy viewing.  For this pattern:
I made a card that looked like this:
 (If you're confused by the size difference, look closely at the original pattern.  It is only six lines of pattern that have been repeated three times so it is more visually understandable.  I just did one time through when making my card.)

It seems a little counter intuitive but I used dots for up rather than dashes or x's.  I had made one that was dashes for raised or picked-up and dots for pushed-down but it was too cluttered.

Now, when weaving along you might occasionally look up or wander off to do something else and when you look at your weaving you think, oh crud, what row was I on?  For this I made an abacus type set of markers.  On my old loom, I taped the ends of the string over the top part of my loom and used beads.  For this loom, I could just tie the yarn on and used cards with holes punched in them because I gave away all my beads before moving.

You can use any string and anything that slides across easily but will stay in place.

As you can guess, you simply move a marker as you weave that row of pattern.  Whether you move it before or after a row is up to you, so long as you keep it consistent.

I think the above method is pretty similar to what I see tons of tutorials online suggesting to do.  Often people will have the pattern beside them and cover the rows they've done.  They move the paper up as they weave each row.

Well, as I mentioned in the last post, I stopped doing this pattern for almost a year.  (since I've only been weaving about 2 years, that's a long time)  In the interim, I wove several patterns that were variations of diagonals.  They were so simple that it never occurred to me to try doing the above system.  I simply pushed everything over one for diagonals.  For V's, both sides moved in one.  I'm probably not stating it well here, but if you think about it, the pattern is very predictable.  You want certain threads to be up so that the pattern continues vertically along the band.  There is only one possible choice for each thread in each row.  Once you see it, you'll wonder how you didn't before.  The pattern just _is_.

When I decided to do this pattern again, without even thinking I set up my old system.  And I started weaving that way.  And it was slow.  Then, on the third day of working on it, I noticed the thing you hope you never notice. I had woven almost a foot of it incorrectly.  Over an hour of work was going to take over an hour to undo.  If you've never had to unweave a pick-up, hope that you don't because it takes almost that same length of time as weaving it.  This problem happened because at some point I missed a line of the pattern.  Every row after that was done in order.  Meaning I wove dozens of rows correctly, diligently following the pattern, but they were all wrong because of that one mistake.  A mistake that happened because I wasn't watching the pattern forming in the band.

Frustrated, with yards of band still on my loom equaling days of work on a project I wasn't sure why I was doing anyway, it dawned on me.  Well, first I just tried to memorize the pattern rather than using the beads.  But then I looked at it and realized I could just follow the pattern in the band.  Just the same as I had with the diagonals patterns

Each row as you move across the pattern threads, just ask yourself, do I want a line here or not?

I do want to point out that even with diagonals, I always follow the pattern on paper for the first five to ten rows, just to get things started.  This gives a visual base to follow.  After that you should be able to set the paper aside and let the woven band tell you what the next row should look like.

I hope this makes sense to someone.  I think this method is faster than following a paper pattern.  Once I started seeing it this way, pick-up stopped being anything of a challenge accept in trying to weave it faster.
Good luck and happy weaving :)

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