Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sprang and other fabric structures

 By learning you will teach; by teaching you will learn.
         -Latin Proverb

This old adage is brought home to me again and again.  In preparation for teaching a class on sprang, I made some samples of different fabric structures, to help put sprang in context and get our focus on what we were about to make. Some samples were sprang, and some were not. I tried to think of as many different ways of forming fabric as I could: knitting, weaving, looping etc. Making these samples was an enlightening experience for me.
Above is basic 1/1 interlinked sprang, and below is interlaced sprang,  See the difference in the way a warp element (illustrated by the one black yarn) traverses the fabric in these two samples.

Here are a couple aha! moments I had.

A late addition to my little collection of samples was gauze weave. I got the idea to add it from a chapter in Chieko Aihara's beautiful book Sprang, in which she compares sprang with gauze weaves, particularly in the context of the techniques indigenous to South America. Sadly I don't read Japanese, but the connection is apparent from her illustrations.  I have never done allover gauze, just a few pickup leno borders on table linens and the like.  While making the shed for the gauze weave I chose (this time with a needle as a pickup stick), I noticed that the warps I was picking up were going under two adjacent warps, in the same manner we look for when forming 1/1 interlinked sprang.

Another of these structures which was completely new to me was "fingerweaving" which is actually a form of braiding. Working from the book The Basic Book of Fingerweaving by Esther Warner Dendel, I chose the basic Peruvian flat braid, and as I set out to create the first shed, I almost got a shiver up the back of my neck as I found my fingers making the exact same motions they make when working interlinked sprang. The finished product doesn't bear much resemblance to sprang; rather it's the process that is is related.

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