I have been weaving my third batch of painted-warp samples for my seminar at ANWG 2019. (There will be a total of almost 90 samples!)

Here are two samples from the batch. These samples show that, when we think about color in weaving, we need to think not only about our yarn colors, but also about how our draft blends and arranges those colors.

painted warp sample that blends warp and weft colors


These samples were woven on similar colored warps, using the same color weft. However, one cloth uses a draft that blends warp and weft, while the other draft creates separate warp- and weft-dominant areas. The resulting fabrics look and feel very different!

Weaving is like painting in some ways. Your warp and weft colors are like tubes of paint, giving you basic colors to start with. Your draft is like your palette and brush, where you take your original paint colors, mix them into new colors, and then place them in your fabric.

Often, when we think about color in weaving, we think only about the colors of the yarns we choose. But this is like thinking only about the colors in your paint tubes. We also need to think about how the drafts will mix the colors. The warp and weft yarn colors determine what colors are available for mixing; the draft determines what mixes actually appear in the cloth, and where those mixes are placed.

Sometimes even seemingly small changes can have profound effects. Here are the drafts for the two samples:

draft for first sample
adaptation of Handweaving.net draft #45549

As you can see, the samples are not only woven using the same colors, but with the same threading and treadling! Only the tie-up has changed – but the fabrics look very different.

I’m developing an online tool that will help you understand color mixing in handwoven fabrics. It will let you pick two colors, either from a color picker or from a photo you upload, and see how the colors blend when mixed – both in different proportions and when interlaced in common weave structures. I’m almost done creating it, and will release it in the next few weeks.

I also teach extensively about color mixing in handwoven fabrics in my online Color Courage for Weavers Workshop course, which got rave reviews from the last set of students. I’ll be teaching it again beginning in mid-August 2019. I’ll open enrollment for the Workshop sometime in July 2019, so watch for it!

If you don’t want to miss out on the mixing tool release or the Workshop registration open, subscribe to my mailing list to find out about both!

Happy weaving!


If you want to know more about how to create crisp, clear designs – or subtle ones – in your handwoven cloth, subscribe to my newsletter and get my FREE e-book! It will help you design beautiful handwoven fabrics, with a pattern as bold or subtle as you want.


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  1. Hi Tien, Thanks for a great blog post. I will be at ANWG but unfortunately was unaware of you prior to signing up for some spinning classes. My loss!!! I hope to be able to meet you when I’m in Prince George. If nothing else I’ll do you fall Color Courage class.

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  2. wow, how happy i was to see a post from you. i am not quick at this learning, but your bits really sink into my eye and head and heart, thank you so much. you say so much, so clearly and thoughtfully.

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  3. This is so very interesting, I am often surprised at the end results in weaving. I hope to be able to meet you at ANWG and followup with your Fall Online Course.
    Kathy

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  4. Thanks for the example – it really does show differences. I had a similar experience when I took a look at the reverse side of what I just finished – thought I liked the front – until I saw the back – wow!

    BTW – I really enjoyed and learned a lot from your online course – definitely worth it!

    Reply

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