I previously wrote about the different ways to use the pile weave to get very different looking weaves. It was so fun to look at all the different ways to use that technique that I also wanted to share some different ways I’ve used the soumak weave to get different looking weaves.
The basic steps to the soumak weave are (Click here for a more detailed post):
Step 1: Pass your weft thread over three warp threads on the left side of the loom
Step 2: At the third warp, bring your weft thread under and around the third warp so that you finish with your weft thread above the warp again.
Step 3: Bring your weft over the third, fourth, and fifth warps, then loop under and around the fifth warp.
Step 4: Repeat this pattern of passing over three warps and looping around the third until you have reached the end.
I think what really made this work was that I was weaving a circular weave. But it also probably helped that I was using two strands of cotton string, which gave the weave a texture similar to a basket. I wove one row of soumak, then a plain weave, then wove the same soumak pattern, and repeated. It made an interesting basket type weave that got larger as the string moved towards the outside of the circle.
In a few of my weaves, I’ve placed a single row of soumak at an angle and then filled in the gaps with the plain weave. This makes a really interesting and subtle pattern in the weave and when I pair it next to bulky rows of pile weave, it’s really eye catching.
An all time weaver favorite! This is when you weave two rows of the soumak weave and angle your soumak “bumps” towards each other so that they make what looks like a braid. More details on how to do this here.
When I used a single bulky thread (not super bulky) and passed it across a few warp threads so that it didn’t completely cover up the space, it created what looked like a woven chain. This is made in the same way you’d make a woven braid, except that I purposely am leaving space around the two soumak rows so that you can clearly see the chain shape. I wrote more about it here.
I really love how this technique looks. You use the soumak technique as usual in the first row, then in the second row you stagger your soumak so that your bumps are angling in between the bumps of the first row. This creates what looks similar to a fishtail braid. I have more details on how to do this here.
This is a really fun way to use the soumak weave differently. The technique is the same, except that you make the soumak on the backside of your weave. Doing this shows the loops around your warp thread in the front of your weave, making them look like little dots of weft thread. In the weave-along, I created two rows of reverse soumak that made a cute pattern of dots.
When you weave up numerous rows of soumak and pack them in together, it makes interesting rolls of texture. This works especially well when you use roving to make fluffy rows of the soumak weave.
How have you used soumak in your weaves? Have you tried something new with it or is there a certain way of using the soumak that you gravitate towards? For me I really like the braids, but I also like to play around with the technique and see what else can be made.
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