If you worked through the weave along, you’ll remember that we made a fishtail braid at one point in our weave. The fishtail braid has such an interesting look and it’s really pretty when woven up, so I especially wanted to try it out on some fluffy wool roving.
I think the hardest part of weaving with roving is accounting for the bulk of the fibers. We want to give the roving the space it needs so that it can show off it’s beautiful bulk without being squished. I’m going to weave my first row of roving the same way I did in this post using the soumak technique, but I’m going to weave across an odd number of warp threads so that I have a good middle warp on my return pass.
So here are the steps:
step 2|| at the seventh warp, I lifted the warp up with my one hand and with the other I passed the roving under and around the seventh warp so that my roving finished above the warp again.
step 3|| next I brought my roving over five more warp threads and loop it around the sixth warps, this keeps an odd number of warp threads between my soumak stiches.
step 4|| I repeated this pattern until I reached the end of my warp threads.
step 5||on the return back I passed my warp thread over and under the end thread and then passed the roving over the warps I had until I reached that middle warp of the 5 warp threads that weren’t woven in the previous row. I loop my roving over that middle warp in the soumak weave, which places my roving in the center of the previous row. This creates a really nice fishtail looking braid.
step 6|| I continued weaving the soumak weave, making sure to always loop the roving around that middle warp of the 5 that weren’t woven in the previous row. I weave like this all the way to the end of my loom until the fluffy fishtail braid is completed!
So there is the basics to weaving the fishtail braid, but there is something really important to note. The direction in which you soumak your fibers does effect the design in your rows. I’ve added arrows the picture of my roving to show which direction I’m working the roving in.
For the fishtail the first row of roving is pulled down towards the right, looped around the warp and up, then pulled down towards the right for the next woven stitch to be made. The second row of roving is pulled down in the opposite direction towards the left, looped around the warp and up, then pulled down towards the left again.
If you wanted your stitches to be like our last roving weave, which looks more like looping rope, you can see that we keep our soumak in the same direction. Even when we weave the return row back, we keep the roving move down toward the right.
It’s really interesting how much of a difference the direction of your soumak can make. If you’re having trouble with your rows looking how you want them to look, then this might be the reason.
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