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Archive for September, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things: #30 – An Album of Textile Designs by Thomas R. Ashenhusrt

Wow!  Summer has gone by quickly and I’ve been very remiss in working my way through posting my 50 favorite things . . . so, folks, I’m back and ready to roll with #30!

Many weavers love to weave, but don’t like warping a loom.  Frankly, I love the systematic method I go through threading my loom one warp end at a time.  It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate the quiet pace of some activities.  I can feel my blood pressure drop and my heartbeat slow.  Plus, there’s a true sense of satisfaction when a threading is completed without errors.  I feel like ringing a bell and celebrating.

On the other hand, I also enjoy taking a single threading and weaving it into a variety of patterns.  After all, isn’t variety the spice of life?

One of my favorite threadings is a simple straight draw . . . one thread per shaft threaded in consecutive order.  This is usually the first threading I put on a new loom (BTW, I’ve ordered a new loom and it should be here by the end of the month . . . Stay tuned for more on that.).

Okay, enough about me . . . let’s move on to my 30th favorite weaving resource

For any weaver interested in exploring the versatility of straight draw threadings, but would like to easily tap into some treadling variations, check out An Album of Textile Designs by Thomas R. Ashenhurst.  (sometimes referred to as The Ashenhurst).  This is a resource, published in 1881, containing 7,200+ patterns on straight draw threadings from 3 to 16 shafts  (and yes, you can apply the patterns to other threadings . . . a point twill is another favorite threading of mine).

I first came across An Album of Textile Designs over 20 years ago while poking my nose around in an neighborhood bookstore in Portland, OR (You know . . . the kind that is dwindling in number).  The book was old and threadbare.  It felt slightly damp and had that old-book fragrance to it.  Perhaps not the most pleasant smell, but there is certainly a sensation us book lovers get when we encounter it.  Anyway, for the paltry sum of $6.00, I became the next owner and took it home.

I have woven many of the patterns within its pages.  Then, a number of years ago I donated the book to Syne Mitchell to auction off on eBay to raise money to support her efforts when she was producing WeaveCast and editing WeaveZine.  I sometimes wish I still owned this piece of weaving history; however, the patterns are just a click away for me . . . and for you too!

In 2004, Ralph Griswold reproduced the entire collection of Ashenhurst patterns as one of the many resources he made available via the University of Arizona.  You may open and download the 97-page document by clicking on the following link http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/webdocs/pb_ashen.pdf.  At first, the pages may not capture your attention . . . but, just remember each graphic is yet another pattern.  The patterns are organized by size . . . first, by the number of shafts and then followed by the number of picks in a single treadling repeat.  Below are some images to give you an idea.

8x16 12x12 #2 12x12 16x16 #2

I like scanning the pages for pattern ideas and inspiration.  Once I have found some patterns, I love is going to www.handweaving.net (yet, another great resource) and downloading the WIF files (WIF stands for weaving information file) and open these files in my weaving software applications.  What Kris Bruland, the mastermind behind www.handweaving.net, has done is give us an efficient way to look at the pattern by showing repeats in the threading and treadling.  The image below is difficult to read, but I wanted to give you an idea of what a small portion of the 370 eight-shaft patterns available from An Album of Textile Designs.

When you get a screen of thumbnail images, you can click on one and it will produce the information and draft for that particular pattern.  I have included two of the four-shaft patterns below.

4x6 from Handweaving.net

4x4 from Handweaving.net

Next time you’re not quite sure what you want to weave, thread your warp ends in a straight draw and check out the patterns in An Album of Textile Designs.  I promise you will run out of warp before you run out of design options.


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