Posts Tagged With: damask

Weave Sample: Damask (5-shaft Satin)

Oh look, I’m weaving my samples out of order. This is damask on a 5-shaft satin, which is the most common type of damask from the 15th century onwards1.


5-shaft satin damask

[1] Pattern and Loom, by John Becker

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Damask Research

What is Damask?

Silk; damask weave. Italy ca. 1550.

Damask  weave as defined by CIETA vocabulary is a figured textile with one warp and one weft in which the pattern is formed by a contrast of binding systems. In its classic form, it is reversible, and the contrast is produced by the use of the warp and weft faces of the same weave. By extension, two distinct binding systems may also be employed.

Where/When was Damask Produced?

It is debated whether damask originated in China or Syria.  Wherever it originated, the earliest extant damask textiles were from Palmyra and were woven before 276 C.E.  They are believed to be of Chinese origin.  Examples of  3/1 – 1/3 twill block damasks have been found throughout second to fourth century Europe, and is believed to be of Roman origin.  Damask was considered to be one of the five main weaves of Byzantine and Islamic centres.  Damask weaving was becoming scarce by the 8th or 9th centuries, except for Islamic Spain, but was revived in some places in the 13th century.  By the 14th century, damask weaving was found in Italy.  Damask linen tablecloths and napkins were very popular in the 16th century in northern Europe

Silk damask. China, 200-400 C.E.

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Sampler Planning: Compound Harness Weaves

For the compound harness samples I’ll be doing things a bit differently.  Rather than keep the same sett the same for each weave, I will be using the sett that works best for the textile in question (or should I say, my best guess).  The fabrics just won’t look right if I use the same sett I used before.  And I’d really like the fabrics to look right, so people can get a better idea of what they are supposed to look like.  To start I will still be using the same 8/2 unmercerized cotton. It’s readily available and inexpensive enough I won’t feel terrible if it all goes haywire.

I’ll be using these samples as a way to learn how to use my drawloom, so I expect there will be a fair amount of trial and error.

First off, I need to pick a relatively simple pattern that I can re-use to show the differences in weave.  As there are multiple wefts, the concept of dividing the sample into halves using different weft colours doesn’t work.  My plan is to divide the sample into thirds, instead.  The first third will be two colours plainweave (to show the ground fabrics without figuring, the second will be figured but monochrome to shoe the contrast of the figuring, and the third will be figured and ducochrome showing the full effect.

I’ll use the same pattern for the first batch of samples, and the same thread, and that should hopefully better show the difference in the weave.

I’ve decided to use an all-over design from Il Burato (Paganino, c. 1527), which is probably for lace but it will work.  Looking at it, it appears that this repeat of the pattern is 17 high and 10 wide, which seems a good small repeat for a learning exercise.


Planned design, from Il Burato (Paganino, c. 1527)

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