Friday, January 18, 2013

Same colors, different name

What do these three weaves have in common?

Zen Towels from Oct 2011


Trellis runner From Feb 2012

Crackle Weave Study from Dec 2012-Jan 2013 

Believe it or not, all these weaves have the exact same colors in common, except the last one has an additional color of green added.  It just blows me away how different they all appear to be, and yet it must be just the arrangement of colors that makes such a difference!

I love color!  But I especially love weaving!!

My friend Dawn on Ravelry and the author of this blog wanted me to write a review about the crackle weave book been I have been using for my experiments.  I thought I would share my thoughts here, also!  Enjoy!
Like all texts, there are pros and cons to the Weave Classic Crackle & More book by Susan Wilson.  My overall impression is very high and I am very impressed with the knowledge gathering that Ms. Wilson has done.  She is obviously very qualified to write the book because she has been weaving crackle since 1969 AND she has achieved quite the honor by receiving the Master level Certificate in Handweaving back in 1990.  I mention this because Susan’s book and the other crackle book I used in my personal crackle adventures this last month (called A Crackle Weave Companion by Lucy M. Brusic*) have conflicting information in them for what certain crackle weaves are called.  As a crackle-newbie, it was confusing until I threw the official names out the window and just concentrated on the weave structures.  However, taking into consideration Susan’s numerous publications along with what I feel is a respectable amount of professional weaving certification, I trust that her nomenclatures are the correct ones.

Crackle weave is already a very complex structure and is not for the faint of heart!  It has some characteristics that are like no other weave, yet you can weave it like overshot, summer and winter, Bronson lace, etc.  A weaver who is new to crackle would definitely benefit from a source such as this.  However, the book Weave Classic Crackle and More is not for the weaver looking for patterns to weave.  It does not tell you exactly how to set up your loom or how much material to use.  The book does, however, cover from the very basics of crackle and builds to the very complex weaving structures, all the way from 4-shaft to 8-shafts. 

Chapter 1 starts with some history and chapter 2 covers the characteristics of crackle, for example it explains how crackle is made up of block weaves and describes each block, including the incidental thread for each one.  The crackle pattern that was written out in a structural draft on page 19 was particularly useful since I was just beginning to learn about it.  This draft gave me a chance to really study what the threads were doing.  The crackle draft is very unique, and can be pretty confusing at times without the right references.  Chapter 2 also has some profile draft explanations and design ideas.  Page 25 was my inspiration for my latest colorful crackle project.  I found her description intriguing enough to try it with six colors and loved it!

Chapter 3 covers many different treadling variations that you can use in crackle, like you can weave crackle as other weave structures: overshot, summer and winter, Bronson lace, honeycomb, and other structures that I’ve never even heard of before, but they are very pretty.  (To be honest, I have personally made it to the summer and winter point so far, but I hope to continue with more studying soon!)

Chapter 4 has some good descriptions on how to design crackle weave.  But first it starts with polychrome, and also goes into weaving crackle in Italian manner, and oddly classic crackle actually fits into this chapter, although the other weave structures in chapter 3 were fun to do, as un-classic as they are!  This chapter also includes information on boundweave and other weft-faced samples.  Later there is a section to help you through designing traditional polychrome crackle, and the reason why it’s more difficult to work with is because of all the independent color combinations going on here.  Even though it is more difficult to work with than classic crackle, it offers more versatility and exquisite design options!  Susan does a really good job explaining the difficulties of this weave.  In this chapter, she also goes into a thorough explanation of hue and value of colors in crackle weave and the design process as a whole, which is extremely useful considering the non-independence of each block in crackle.  Susan includes wonderful pictures to graphically explain this little quirk that makes crackle so much fun!

The last few chapter in the book discuss crackle on 8-shafts, turning the crackle draft, and color-and-weave effects.  It even has a section how to make 8 blocks on only 4-shafts!  And I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful the pictures throughout the book are.  In fact, they are some of the best I have seen in a while, and they are so numerous!  They didn’t skimp in this department!

There is definitely a lot of info in this book and it can keep a weaver busy for a good long time.  One of my complaints though is coming from the point of view of a brand-new crackle weaver: I wanted more structure in my studies because I didn’t have a clue what to do and having something so open was rather scary.  I was afraid I was doing the weave wrong, and I had to study really hard to make sure I wasn’t.  I feel that this book would benefit from a section for the new crackle weaver that said something to the effect of thread your loom like this, now try this, this, and this crackle weave structure and walk the new weaver through step-by-step.  I mean, I didn’t even know what sett to use because it’s a twill based structure but is it sett at twill?  (The answer is no, it has a tabby sett!)  It would have been nice to have that a little bit clearer description and starting point.    However, once I decided to not be afraid and just throw an experimental warp onto my loom, it was so much fun!  I just used the threading from page 19 and went through the weave structures like traditional crackle, crackle woven as overshot and woven as summer and winter.  Like I said before, I have only made it to page 39 in my personal studies, but I have enjoyed the experience!  I hope to be able to continue my studies using this text very shortly!

*A side note: In comparing this book to the other one mentioned (called A Crackle Weave Companion by Lucy M. Brusic), I like it so much better because the other book seems like a collection of a lot of obscure references that are hard to get a hold of these days.  Also, it is written like an essay and the pictures aren't quite as good.  The ways the examples are written out are hard to follow and understand. I didn't reference it as much as Susan's book.