Starting with a dress …

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Beige and navy blue striped wool gauze dress with blue pom-poms from the 1840s. Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council.

…with very beautiful ombré stripes from the Fashion Museum exhibition ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects‘. The textiles used are brilliant inspiration for the weave workshop I am leading from 10am – 4pm at the Fashion Museum on Saturday 3 September 2016.

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Dress stripe detail. Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council.

‘Ombré’ in weaving is used to describe the gradual introduction of one colour into another through stripe. There are so many possibilities  – changing colours and proportions, using high and low contrasting colours, moving through colour families, putting complementary colours together, using neutrals… I love experimenting by wrapping yarn around cardboard – a quick and easy way to see what combinations do and do not work.

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First yarn wrapping experiments

Firstly I started looking at matching the colours and proportions of the ombré stripe in the dress above and the triple beige stripe used in the weft. Then I simplified the ombré so it could fit in a small rigid heddle warp and started to play – nothing can be wrong at this stage. The next stage would be to pick out the things I love in the wrappings and discard what doesn’t work e.g. I love the pink graduation through to yellow and how the red ‘pops’ against the turquoise but not the dark green.

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Weaving from my sofa! Rigid heddle looms are really portable, allowing you to weave any where you can tie up the end of your warp.

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The rigid heddle loom matching the 1840’s dress stripes. I have turned the weave around and used the weft triple stripes in the warp and the ombré in the weft to better match the dress.

In the workshop we will be setting up and weaving with the simplest of weaving tools – the backstrap rigid heddle loom – and a much thicker yarn. However, the principles of weaving are the same no matter what size of loom –  and we can replicate the navy blue and beige ombré stripes, as you see above.

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Experimenting with ombre stripes in the turquoise, green and yellow colour families in the warp and weft – getting some lovely checks

Trying out my colour progression winding in the weft and using a neutral grey background in the warp.

Trying out my colour progression winding in the weft and using a neutral grey background in the warp.

I am looking forward to the workshop – I can’t wait to see what colour combinations everyone comes up with.

What colours do you like in a stripe?

Penny Wheeler

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