It’s amazing what complex designs you can build from the simplest components. All of the incredible things we can do with our computers come down to a simple binary code of ones and zeroes. Looms (the original computers) can produce a dizzying range of designs from a similarly simple choice: does the weft pass over or under this particular warp thread?
Block weaves are a family of weave structures that combine set clusters of warp ends into blocks that then repeat across the width of the warp. Summer & Winter is a block weave that alternates between areas of light and dark, ground and pattern. On a four-shaft loom, Summer & Winter is made up of only two blocks.
A two-block weave may sound simple, but the outcome is anything but! Simple alternation between two design blocks creates a sophisticated design this Summer & Winter runner, inspired by the work of local weaver Conchita Rio. The pattern builds each row by repeating the same pattern weft multiple times. By varying the number of repeats, it creates pattern that wanders back and forth between large patches and delicate stripes of colour. The end result is a runner that produces a gentle optical illusion where rounded shapes appear out of the square blocks.
This intermediate project provides an excellent introduction to block weaves for a weaver looking for that “next step” beyond twill. Its soft spring colours put a fresh spin on the traditional navy and white of Summer & Winter weaves, just in time for the snow to start melting!