Knit Flix

Sunday, June 29, 2014

She's just a G-A-M-P, GAMP!

Choosing colors for weaving is a challenge for me. Contrast, value, saturation, and hue are terms that I've learned about in various color classes, but there's a certain level of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that grips me when I need to make my own choices. Perhaps that's why I appreciate kits for stranded and Fair Isle knitting, the work is already done for me.

When I started weaving, I ran across the term "gamp" over and over again. A gamp is a woven piece of fabric that illustrates what happens when different weave structures, yarns/fibers, colors, etc., intersect. So a color gamp is a reference piece that shows what different colors look like when they are woven in a fabric. Michele Belson and Katzy Luhring from Lunatic Fringe Yarns go into detail about color gamps in this Weavezine article.

Think of your color printer--you have only 4 ink cartridges: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. But somehow the combination of those colors on the printed page can produce seemingly endless number of colors. What color we see depends on how much of each ink is used and how it is placed (in what pattern). It's pretty amazing when you think about how we perceive color.

Anyway, back to weaving. The color gamps I found online have warps of uniform stripes in different colors. Then the weft is woven in stripes of the same colors, in the same order. So every color in the warp will intersect with every color in the weft and the blocks along a diagonal will be solid blocks of color, where the warp and weft colors are the same. With this fabric, you'll be able to see what purple warp and yellow weft look like together. It may or may not sound like a good combination, but the color gamp will show you. Another consideration for a color gamp is the weave structure. That purple warp and yellow weft block will look different in a plain weave, a twill, or an overshot pattern. So weaving a color gamp in different weave structures would be a good idea.

It sounds like a lot of work for a color/weave structure reference, doesn't it? But I don't consider weaving with beautiful yarn to be work... but it is a lot of effort and time. That's okay, I'm learning and discovering as I go and besides that, the fabric is quite beautiful. All in all, weaving can be a very rewarding experience.

I went to the Conference of Northern California Handweavers in Oakland this year and headed straight to Lunatic Fringe Yarns booth. They have color gamp kits available on their web site and I wanted to see samples of the woven gamps in person before making the investment. Well, the gamps were really beautiful and I was able to see them in thicker and thinner cotton and also talk to them about the color gamp kit vs. the color gamp kit plus white, black, and shades of gray. All in all, I felt much better about seeing the product in person first and actually bought the Tubular Spectrum Plus Kit--spectrum colors plus white, black, and shades of gray.

The kit came with instructions for weaving on a 4-shaft or 8-shaft loom, including a suggested color order. Well, I decided to go off course immediately and put the colors in a different order. I asked for feedback from the 4-Shaft Weaving group on Facebook and with their excellent input, finalized on this:

Lunatic Fringe Color Gamp

The order starts in the lower left corner and goes up each column, ending with the upper right corner.

I decided to start with a point twill and entered the colors and design into Fiberworks to see how it would look.

Color Gamp in Fiberworks

You can't see all of the rows in this screenshot, but you get the idea. Pleased with how it looked on screen, I planned the rest of the project in a spreadsheet and the next step was to wind the warp.

It was at this point that I had to stop and find some courage. This project was going to require 922 warp threads and 27 colors in a relatively thin cotton. The width in the reed was going to be over 36". This was easily the largest project I had ever attempted. I took a deep breath (for a few days) and finally go started warping.

Warp chain 3 of 3

After I warped a couple of colors, I revisited my spreadsheet and realized that I didn't calculate enough warp length. So I had to take those colors off the warping board and add an extra yard. At least I found the problem early... it wasn't too painful to fix.

If only it was this easy

The warp chains were so pretty I couldn't wait to dress the loom, but 922 ends was going to take a while. As motivated as I was to get warp the loom, I had to be patient and work carefully so I didn't make any mistakes.

Next up: The Warp

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  • I have so been loving your updates on FB--your weaving is so gorgeous. I hope very much to get to see this piece when it's finished!

    By Anonymous AlisonH, at 6/29/2014 10:43 PM  

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