workshop: weaving with Mary Smull

This week we had a workshop hosted by our guest Mary Smull about weaving in greater depth. Mary taught us about the technical vernacular of weaving, some of the history of weaving and the methodology of both physically weaving and creating draft patterns. Weaving, weaving, weaving!

The basic components of a loom similar to the model we are weaving on as a group.

She reinforced that weaving really is just two perpendicular intersecting yarns at a point on a x and y axis. However the variables of material, scale and spacing can produce infinite combinations between the three types of weaving (plain, twill and satin). It dates back as early as 7,000 years ago in the middle east and the equipment has gone through many a transformations.

Some additional vocabulary that I found helpful from the workshop was that in pattern drafting, the black squares are raisers (is above the weft) and the white squares are sinkers (sitting below the weft). So a pattern with mostly raisers will be more weft dominant and vice versa!

Satin and twill draft patterns drawn up in class with Mary.

During the second half of class we had a workshop with Ryan on Rhino and Grasshopper to produce digital weaves. As per usual with Grasshopper, I got the hang of the functions without fully understanding what I was doing and had my mind absolutely blown by the results. I managed to keep pace (barely) and produced some of the following weavings:

Scene from the digital weaving workshop.
Right-leaning twill weave.
Diamond weave (from twill and broken twill).
Basket weave… or ramen noodles in water??

2 replies on “workshop: weaving with Mary Smull”

Agreed re: Grasshopper! I was so surprised by the simple weaves that I could create that I was pretty satisfied with simply the plain weaves. But then once we started making diamond or basket weaves I was blown away. I could play with the sliders and swatch choosers for hours, for sure!


Hi Alfie,

Thanks for the well written post. This is a great summary of the class with terms and everything. I like that you included your notes/illustrations from class. I like that you are adding some humor to this (“ramen noodles”). Also, I feel exactly the same about the Grasshopper stuff.

David 🙂


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