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The profile challenge 2012

Some of our pages are translated to English: Anniversary exhibitions 2007:

"Rackelbindningar" and other three-treadle weaves

First some definitions:
(note for American readers: all drafts written for sinking shed. The structure(s) are completely reversible, but the colour-and-weave effects will be reversed.)
- According to Manual of Swedish handweaving (Cyrus), Stora vävboken (Lundell) "rackel" weave is threaded on a straight draw, has a tie-up like seen at right, and is treadled to a point. Cyrus says it is common for curtains. Lundell calls it three-treadle weave, Cyrus "rackel" weave.

All warps float over three, under one weft, either on the right side or on the reverse.

treadled to a point
- According to Varp och inslag (Eriksson, Gustavsson, Lovallius) and our own Alfhild it can also be treadled straight. Both E-G-L and Alfhild call it rackelbindning.

This version is somewhat firmer, as the warp floats are only over two, under one weft.

treadled straight through
We started talking about rackel weave at the february meeting '05, when we found many examples in the box of samples we inherited from Lisa. We have talked further, and have formed a study group to find out everything there is to know about it ... as, for example, why it is called rackel weave.
At the bottom of the page there are comments and suggestions from members and public.

The sample that got us interested in the first place - we thought it was a double weave, as it was so very different on the two sides. We had to analyze it to find we were wrong: it was a colour-and-weave rackel weave.
This is what it looks like:

right side
When one side looks like this...
other side
... the other looks like this
Later Elin showed us a shawl [...]
woollen example
When Marianne told about a sample she had got from somewhere in Småland, that she, too, had thought was a double weave, we began to think we were on to something... was this once a common structure here?

Marianne's sample is a little different - a variation on six shafts. The classical rackel-stripes are totally "opposite", it is impossible to see the "other" colour on the "one" side.

Marianne made a shawl in alpacka to see how the technique worked in another material:
alpaca shawl

To the right is a portion of the drawdown with right side at top, reverse at bottom.

Then Elsa started looking in old books...
In Nina von Engeström's Praktisk vävbok (first ed 1899, facsimile 1981 - note for Am readers: this might be in the Worst book (Foot power weaving, IIRC?), most of his drafts come from this book) she found a variant:
BUT: is this rackel weave? It employs only three treadles, but... It is both enlarged and has the treadles in a different order, and the result will be looser with warp floats over two picks and weft floats over four ends.
Kerstin found an interesting tablecloth at her neighbor's. It has the enlarged threading of Engeström, but the ordinary tie-up. It is treadled to a point.
Later we found exactly this weave in Hulda Peters Vävbok (first ed 1928). Peters calls it "tretrampstyg" (three-treadle cloth) and suggests cotton warp with cotton and wool (on treadle 2) weft.
Kerstin found another old book, VÄF-BOK för mekanisk handväfstol, by L. Persson, Östersund 1891. It contains 86 different patterns, says the author - among them nr 8, which is said to give a "cloth with small dots". This is what it looks like:

When looking closely it can be seen that this is a variation of our rackel weave, with two blocks in both tie-up and treadling. Can we still call this rackel weave, even though it is woven with four treadles?

Persson combines it with other structures in several unusual combinations. Some of them are distinctly odd, but maybe the results will be good, if tried out on loom?
Perssons N:o 10, said to be "cross-striped".
N:o 19, useful for "Men's clothing and more"

New September 2010:
In an old American book, The Weavers Draft Book and Clothiers Assistant by John Hargrove, published in Baltimore 1792 (downloadable from here), we find this draft (right). Here, the weave is called "bumberet". (the roman XII is from the next draft)
Yet another variant of our old rackel weave?
Below left as written, below right with threading and treadling shuffled to look more familiar.
from the book
Bumberet Bumberet, rewritten

Woven samples

Kerstin tried Persson nr 19. Warp (blue) and weft (purple) mercerised cotton 20/2, 14 ends/cm (approx 35 epi). The result is a very nice cloth, suitable for blouses.
Top right side (according to draft), bottom reverse side.
Elsa: draft and pictures of a shawl sample:
One side...
... and the other
Nr 8 - dotted in wool. Yellow weft for "pattern", grey for tabby picks.
Nr 10. Cross-striped it is! Both samples from Elsa.

Some comments:
  • Marianne has read a paper from Göteborgs universitet, where it is suggested the name ("rackelbindning") comes from Värmland
  • Marianne has a suggestion for the meaning of the word [...]
  • Further, Marianne is of the opinion that "rackelbindning" can only be used for the topmost structure. The rest ought to be called something else - three-treadle weaves?

More comments welcome!