Weaving a Pinwheel

[Music] Let’s talk just a moment about setup. So
I have my loom clamped to the table, anyway that’s comfortable for you is fine. Just so you’re set up so you can manage your tools and I’ve got to pick up sticks and
two shuttles one with each weft color. Now I’ve already spread my warp with scrap
yarn, woven my one and a half inch of plain weave with my embroidery stitch,
woven my border, and I’ve woven one pinwheel. So right here is one pinwheel
that you can see, is worked over three warp stripes and three weft stripes and
each weft stripe is made up of eight picks and within these blocks are these
floats that form the illusion of a curve. Now it’s a little more challenging to
see on a warped loom where it’s under tension, so let’s look at that on a
sample. So here I have my sample and here’s one pinwheel and you can
see that curve in here much better. Now
another reason that you can see it a little better in that sample is for the
sake of demonstration I am using a slightly contrasting weft because I
really want you to be able to see where those floats happen and make that curve. We are going to begin each pinwheel in a
down shed, and in this case what I’m doing is, I’m going to open my down shed by pressing on my rigid heddle and I’m going
to take my left pick up stick, insert it into the open shed and pick up the
threads to the left of where I want to weave my pinwheel.
So remember, I wove mine here and so my next pinwheel is going to be here and so
I didn’t get it quite far enough and this is a pretty common mistake. So you
just want to eyeball for where that next quad is and it’ll be easier once you get
one started. Now I’m going to take my right pick up stick here and I am going
to pick up the plain weave. Insert it into the shed, I’m picking up the slot
threads because I’m in a down shed, and pick them up to the right of where I
want to weave. So I have my block is now open I have my plainly shed on my left
pickup stick and the other plain weave shed on my right. And now I’m ready to
actually pick up the pinwheel, so I’m going to move the heddle into neutral,
that will make it easier, and my pickup instructions are to go over 4 and
under 4, and unlike other pickup that’s worked in the back of the heddle,
we’re picking up all the threads. So we’re going to go over 4 threads and
under 4 threads and over 4 threads and under 4 threads and over 4
threads and under 4 threads. So now you can see this, is what you’re really
going to want to start looking for is you’re going to start seeing patterns
and you’re going to be able to head off a lot of mistakes if you just take a
minute and check. See that I have four threads down and four threads up
and four threads down and four threads up and so on, and then I have these
plain weave threads over here. So now I want to get all the threads onto one stick, so
to do that I’m going to tip up my left stick so that I can slide my right all
the way under and remove my left pick-up stick. So now I have my
entire shed picked up on the pickup stick, I can tip
my pickup stick up and I’m ready to weave my next pick. So let’s talk
just a little bit about selvages, so I have two shuttles and what I’m going to
want to do is carry this weft up the side so for this first pick what’s
important is that I capture it so I’m going to make sure that I have captured
that exiting, not the the weft, I’m not using I captured it with my working left.
And then another sequence that’s happening here, because I’ve skipped, is
that if I just go into this shed I’m going to miss this exterior selvage, so
in this case I’m going to want to catch that selvage and then dive into the shed. Alright so I’ve caught the nonworking
and my exterior selvage, I still want to leave a weft angle, that’s important so I
don’t get any draw in, and then I’m going to beat the yarn into place with my
pickup stick and what this is going to allow me to do is to have one more
chance to look for patterns. So I have plain weave to the left, I have my four
up and four down, if I’m working from left to right, and then plain weave. At
this point I can remove my right pick up stick and beat that first pick into
place. Now I’m going to change. And when I say beat I think it’s always a funny
word I like to PRESS my weft into place. You’re going to get much better results
then if we just whack it. So I’m going to move to an up shed so now my hole
threads are up, and I’m going to now change my sticks. So I’m going to take my
left stick, here is the pinwheel I’m working so I’m going to want to pick up
to here on my left stick. I’m going to pick up to the right side
of my block on my right stick, and then move my heddle into neutral. Now my next
instructions are a little more complicated, I’m going over 3, under 1,
over 1, and under 3. I’m going to move here, I’m going to go
over 3, under 1, over 1, under 3, over 3, under 1, over 1, under 3, over 3, under 1,
over 1, under 3, and again I’m going to look for patterns so I have these
three threads up to the right a space and then another thread and then a big
blank space. And I should see that repeated in each of those sections, so
again spotting patterns really is going to help you. I’m going to tip my left stick, remove it and then I’m ready for my second pick of my pinwheel. This side I don’t have to worry about that traveling, carrying up
the weft. Leave my weft at a slight angle, feed it into place, checking
my work as I go, and then pressing. So that’s the second pick of my shed. So now
I’m going to keep working that on the next pick. Okay now I’m in a down
shed. I’m bringing the camera a little closer so that you can get a better look
at the pickup, so I’m charging my pickup sticks right and left I am moving into
neutral, and now my instructions are over 2, under 1, over 1, under 1, over
1, and under 2. So we are going over 2, under 1, over 1, under 1, over 1,
under 2. So sounds like a lot, once you’re working it and once you get
the rhythm, once your hands learn this, you’ll begin to get the patterns and you
won’t necessarily have to look up from your instructions and back to your piece.
So again over 2, under 1, over 1, under 1,
over 1, under 2. So let’s look at my pattern now, I’ve got, and this is
the direction that I’ve been picking up from so I’ve been reading opposite when
I’ve been coming back here, so now let’s do it this way. I have a space, and then I
have one thread up, a space, one thread up, a space, and two threads up, and I should
see that across every pattern. And the the first parts of your block you’re
going to really want to see those open spaces here because that’s what’s
forming those floats which is that first part of that little curve that you have
going on. So now I’m going to lift up my shed, push it through. A common mistake
that will happen is that you might drop this last thread over here when you’re
pulling it through, so that’s a thing that you’ll be checking for. Pull it out,
tip your pick up stick up. Now I’m still wanting to carry this weft up the side,
okay, so I’m going to treat this weft just as the selvage whatever the selvage
thread is doing that’s what I want to do with the non-working weft itself. So in
this case I want to go under the non-working weft and the selvage, so I’ll
pull those pieces through and now I’ve got this nice tidy thread coming up.
Maintain my weft angle so I don’t get any draw in, and press into place. All right so I have one more chance to
look for patterns, I didn’t drop my thread here you can see I’ve got this
nice long float forming here, which is this part of the pinwheel, and I’ve got
these stacked floats that are beginning to form on the bottom. So I’m going to
pull that out and then I’m going to press my weft into place. And I’ve woven
my first little bit step bits of my pinwheel. Now I’m going to weave two picks of
plain wave. So I’m going to want to weave an up shed here. Pressing it into place.
And a down shed. And again I’m going to carry this weft up, so if I press down
I’m going to need to go under the non-working weft in order to treat it
exactly as I would the selvage because the selvage was up. So here I have that thread,
keeping my weft angle, press into place. Now I’m going to begin working the
second part of my pinwheel which is going to be exactly opposite
of what I did in the first half. So we have these weft floats going up to form
a little triangle and then we have these warp floats going up to form a little
triangle. Now I’m going to reverse that. So I was in a down shed, so now I’m going
to want to go into an up shed, pick up my plane weave shed, lay my rigid heddle in
neutral. And I realize we’re at a slight angle so you’re going to see that slight
criss crossing of the threads here, and as long as you end up with
you need on the top you will be just fine. So I’m going to go the opposite direction,
so now I’ve got to go under 2, this can be a little tricky again you don’t want
to lose that thread there right, under 2, over 1, under 1, over 1, under 1, over 2, etc.
Oops and see I’m picking I was getting ready to come up over 3 so I
didn’t do enough, so I’m going over those two, so you can usually figure out if you
did something wrong in the previous block if you get to the first one and
you’re not in the place where you want to be. So I want to go under 2, over 1,
under 1, over 1, under 2, and remember right now you’re getting the gist don’t
worry if you’re not getting every single detail because your hands are going to
learn this much much much better than your head. Ok my weft is down so I’m
going to come out over on top of the non-working selvage, I’m going to press
it into place, checking that I have my patterns going on here. So I’ve got the
reverse, two up space, thread, thread. Take it out. Press it into place. Change my shed. Charge my stick. Place this into neutral,
and now I’m going under 3, over 1, under 1, over 1, over 3, under
3, over 1, you can follow along on your pattern here. Flip this up. And my
selvage is up so I’m going to want to take my weft under the selvage here. All
right carry it along, weft angle, check I’ve got good patterns going on, two up,
space, two spread out. Oh! Look! What, is that actually wrong or is that? It was just
pushed over to the side. So looks good, press it into place. And where am I? I am
in an up shed, so I’m going to charge my sticks. So you see after you get your rhythm going
you begin to spot the pattern so you can really work along pretty quickly. So now
I’m to my last part of the pinwheel so I’m going to go over 4, under 4, over
4, under 4. And I’m going to just make a mistake, so I’m going to go over 5
under 5 because I want to show you what to do if that happens.
So I’m gonna pretend that I’m not going to notice this one bit I’m going
to take my pickup stick out, clang bang, and I go
“drat I messed up” so what do I do? Well the easiest way, you
know unweaving is never fun, and particularly in pick up when you have,
you know, you have to pick the threads back up, so a trick here that Jean uses
is start by pulling out your plane leave shed by just capturing those wefts
I’ve loosened it up, alright I’ve captured this piece here and I’m
going under my plain weave parts, then I’m going to do the same for my pickup
area, alright I’ve got this loose thread here pick it up so now I can go, now this
is a little trickier, because you have to, sometimes you have to get kind of right
in there and see what’s going on. Pulling it out to the side here so I’ll get that
one piece let’s see if I got it. Let’s see, let’s see. Ah! I did and then you can
zip out, and for me usually I get that part fine and then I’ll mess up in the
plain weave sections pulling it out. Alright so we get our do-over so I’m
going to charge my thread lift this up, lift these out, lay it down, and I’m going
to do it correctly this time I’m going to go under 4, over 4, under 4, over 4,
under 4, over 4, and we’ll weave this through my shed here. Press it into place, checking that yes indeed I have them all correctly now. Voila!
I have woven the first third of my second pinwheel, so now I can check and
see I’ve got this nice triangle of floats here, I’ve got this nice triangle
of floats here, same here, it’s easier to see in the contrasting areas, and then
checking here. So now all I’m going to do is repeat that three times to get my
second pinwheel. I’m going to change my weft color, minding my selvages, and
continue working to build up the pinwheels and you will find that these
are absolutely addictive. You can configure them in so many different ways,
put them in where you want, wherever in the warp, if you just want one sweet one
somewhere you don’t want to work all the pinwheels up, you want a whole entire
warp of pinwheels, whatever you want to do. So there are lots of fun and I’m very
grateful to Jean for bringing all this crazy fun-ness into our rigid heddle life! [Music]

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