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Intro to Tapestry Class: Pick and Pick and Soumak Knots

For this post I tackle two techniques in the CraftArtEdu Introduction to Tapestry Class: pick and pick and soumak knots.

Pick and Pick

Pick and pick is a method you’ll hear about a lot. It creates beautiful, narrow vertical stripes in your tapestry. Up until now, I’ve been a bit confused about how to handle the edges, but this part of the class cleared it up for me. The key is to remember that there are two different scenarios for the edges. In one, the first weft yarn goes under a raised warp, and in the second, it goes under a lowered warp. In the first situation, you simply weave the yarn back, allowing it to hook around the previous weft. In the second situation, you need to wrap the weft around the outermost warp twice before weaving. Whichever scenario you begin with, you’ll end up switching back and forth between the two as you go along.

Here’s what my first completed turn looked like, at the beginning of the third row.

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I was in a different shed when I started than Claudia is in the class, so I needed to use the second scenario, where you wrap the weft around the warp twice (she uses the first scenario). You make these wraps from the outside in. Another way to think of it is that you wrap around the warp once, and then pass behind the two warps at the edge before you begin weaving the row.

You need to watch your tension with these wraps to keep the edge of the tapestry as neat as possible. I find it easier to maintain an even edge if I hold onto the first wrap with my fingers while weaving across.

This next photo shows what the edge looks like after completing that turn and lightly beating the yarn.

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The next row gets woven from the same side, in the same direction, as the previous row. But this one uses the other scenario. That means that the magenta yarn hooks around the orange yarn to make its turn before being woven back. It seems strange that this weft doesn’t wrap around the edge warp, but that allows you to keep the stripes aligned properly.

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At this point, things are coming along nicely, and you can start to see the vertical stripes forming.

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For the class sampler you need to complete four rows of each color. Here’s what my tapestry looked like at that stage.

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Next, we switch to a different shade of orange. It looks like I grabbed the wrong orange for my first four rows, so I’ll have the darker orange above the lighter, rather than the other way around.

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And that completes the pick and pick.

Soumak Knots

Next up is soumak knotting, which will be used to divide sections of the sampler. For this technique you use a closed shed, just like we did with twining in the header.

Before closing my shed, I wove one row of black weft, left to right.

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Notice that I made sure the yarn in this first woven row passed behind the last two warps, because those are the first two warps you need to wrap around to begin the soumak knots. Once again, because I was in a different shed than Claudia (whom I’m probably driving nuts with this behavior), this is somewhat different from what you’ll see in the class.

To make the soumak knots, you go over two warps and then come back around the second warp. Here’s what the knots look like before you beat them down. (I usually slide mine down as I go along.)

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My first completed row of soumak knots, all slid down, looked like this:

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When you go back in the opposite direction for a second row, you go behind two warps and come around one – the opposite of the first row. The lines in this row will be a little shorter than the lines in the first row. They’ll also have a contrasting angle, which creates a chevron pattern.

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Here are both rows of soumak, completed.

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The soumak makes a contrasty textural border against the bright colors below it.

Stay tuned for my next post, when I’ll give the slit tapestry technique a spin.

Chris Franchetti Michaels is a bestselling craft book author and designer. Visit her blog at http://www.beadjewelry.net.

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