Sunday, December 3, 2017

Name Drafting: What's in a Name?

(Figure 1) Sampling for Wedding Runner: Name Drafting 

As weavers, we often try to make gifts personal, meaningful to the recipients. Name drafting, based on overshot, does exactly that. This piece (figure 1) was a wedding gift for my daughter from a treasured friend. The overshot pattern is based on the bride and grooms' full names and the date of their nuptials. Even though my daughter is not a weaver, she oohed and aahed over the runner.  She cried when she found out how it was designed, knowing she will have a forever remembrance of that day and of that incredible weaver. 

What is Name Drafting? Recently, Vicki Tardy presented a program on Name Drafting to our guild. A reference which will assist you to understand name drafting is Peter Mitchell's article. "Name Drafting: an approach to a better understanding of overshot drafting principles" (Handwoven. March, l982, pp.34-37). I am not an expert, but I will share what I have gleaned from these two resources. 

Name drafting is a technique used to create an original draft/pattern in overshot. Characteristics of overshot include a repetitive sequence of twill blocks, blocks overlap, an even-odd alternation in threading and it uses two wefts, one for pattern and one for tabby. 

Name Drafting
Step One: Assign a shaft to a letters in the name. The following is a commonly used assignment grid for a 4 shaft loom. 
Shaft 1: A, E, I, M, Q, U, Y
Shaft 2: B, F, J, N, R, V, Z
Shaft 3: C, G, K, O, S, W
Shaft 4: D, H, L, P, T, X
Example:  Billy Bob Jones is 21441 232 23213
Step two: Overshot is a pattern/tabby weave. In order to maintain the background cloth, the threading follows an odd/even progression and adjacent numbers must not be assigned to the same shaft. An incidental is added to maintain that progression. Rewrite your assignment pattern leaving spaces for those incidentals. 
Examples: 214*4123*2321*3
Step three: Place shaft assignments in draft form (figure 2) to help identify the incidental needed and to evaluate symmetry. 
Figure 2: shaft assignment in draft form.
Step four: Fill in the incidentals (* in figure 2). You can mirror image your threadings, add a selvage,  and identify block and make adjustments. As I write this, I realized that even "I" could see a 
pattern, a symmetry. Now that I've gotten you excited about a new challenge. There are a few more steps in the designing process and I encourage you to read Mitchell's article to develop your own draft.

Our guild challenge this year is to use name drafting (could be based on a name, music, or a poem) to design and weave something based on this technique. Check back in the spring to see what we accomplished. 

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