Tien Chiu is a self-described color nut. She is also an award-winning designer and weaver. Both of these descriptions are evident in her Flower Scarves found in Handwoven May/June 2018. Based on colors from a photograph of flowers, Tien carefully planned a striped warp that not only highlighted her chosen colors but also accommodated her four-shaft twill draft. The result is a beautiful twill scarf with tiny flowers within the bright stripes. Not into twill? Tien also wove a scarf in plain weave with equally beautiful results.
Designer Tien Chiu’s Statement
I love weaving with bright colors, and I often draw ideas from nature. When a friend returned from his Hawaiian vacation and showed me a photo of tropical flowers, I knew I wanted to capture the colors in a handwoven scarf.
Using colors from a photo to design handwoven cloth can be complicated because the warp and weft colors mix where they interlace. With four vastly different hues in the photo— fuchsia, green, yellow, and purple—I knew that weaving them together would create a chaotic mess that would look nothing like the clear colors I loved in the photo. To avoid that, I separated the colors into stripes in the warp and chose a black weft to keep the hues as “true” as possible.
To evoke the look and feel of the original image, I used my colors in about the same proportions as the photo: mostly fuchsia and green, with tiny accents of purple and yellow. Next, I did a few yarn wraps, playing with the width and placement of the warp stripes. To create flowers in the warp stripes, I used stripes of magenta to form “petals,” with narrow stripes of yellow and purple forming the center of each blossom. For a more natural feel, I made each bloom a different size and set them against a green background. With weaving software, I created a small flower design in four-shaft extended point twill and placed a flower motif in the center of each of the fuchsia and green stripes. The resulting scarf is full of tropical blossoms.
If you don’t have a four-shaft loom, or you want two different scarves, the color design also looks beautiful in plain weave. For the plain-weave version, I kept the twill warp sett, which is denser than I would usually use for balanced plain weave; this produces a warp-dominant cloth that shows off the colors more clearly.
Project at a Glance
PROJECT TYPE: 4-shaft.
STRUCTURE: Twill and plain weave.
EQUIPMENT: 4-shaft loom, 13″ weaving width; 15-dent reed; 1 shuttle; 1 bobbin.
YARNS: 10/2 pearl cotton (4,200 yd/lb; Lunatic Fringe Yarns and UKI).
Featured Image: A friend’s photograph inspired Tien Chiu’s Flower Scarves
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