While some patterns might look best in only one color, far more of them look better with two or more. But what to do with all those pesky ends? If you’re not a knot fan, you’ll want to leave yarn tails, but wouldn’t it be better to work in as many as possible while you’re weaving instead of saving them all till the end?
In this post I’ll briefly discuss selecting colors that look good together (according to principles of art and my opinion). Then I’ll demonstrate how to use two colors and prepare the loom so you can work in some of the ends as you weave.
Hopefully everyone knows what complementary colors are (“A secondary color that, when combined with the primary color whose wavelength it does not contain, produces white light” Dictionary.com). One color completes the other, making a complement. So, complementary colors are a safe bet when choosing colors, right? Yes, sort of. You also have to take into account color temperature and value (the lightness or darkness of the hue).
For today’s sample I decided to go with a medium hue green because it photographs really well. And I chose red–its complement.
***REMEMBER: you can click on a photo to enlarge it; click the back arrow to return to these instructions.
I wanted a slightly toned-down red so it wouldn’t appear neon in the photos, so I chose a cool magenta–a slightly dark-valued red–yarn. And I wanted to choose a green that would look good with it. A mistake many people make–and it may just be a matter of opinion–is to pair two same-value complements. This is not the best choice because they will compete with each other rather than harmonize.
Many of the greens I selected would have looked good in the photos, but some were too dark. Ultimately I decided on a slightly light-valued, warm green to form a harmonious complement with this cool, slightly dark red. These two would photograph well.
Another consideration is the amount of each color to use. This means you have to choose a warping layout. The simplest layout is to warp L1-3 in one color and tie on the second color just before weaving L4. There are many layout choices, but I’ve chosen the simplest for this demonstration.
Let’s consider which color to use in L1-3 and which for L4. It’s a fact that red is a dominant color–it draws the eye, and a little goes a long way. Because I want a harmonious–not contentious–square, I chose the green for L1-3. The red will enhance, but not overwhelm, the green.
Now we’re ready to begin warping.
Don’t miss the exciting video companion to this blog post! A different warping sequence is demonstrated in the video: L1/L2-4.
Instead of tying on at corner 1 (Cr1), tie the yarn on at Cr3 and bring the yarn to the outside of the pins and down to Cr1.
Now wrap the first pin of the four-pin group and bring the yarn up and around the two pins at the top (Cr3). Usually you skip that pin, but we need it now to anchor the thread properly. You might notice the aberration while weaving Row 1, but thereafter, you won’t. Proceed to warp the rest of L1-3 as usual.
When you’ve finished warping L1-3, you need to make a decision.
- Option 1: Work in the two color 1 ends (first photo directly below).
- Option 2: Tie color 1 off at Cr2 and work in the second color’s end along the outside of the 2-4 edge pins (I didn’t take a photo of this option).
- Option 3: Work in both ends (color 1 and color 2) that lie along the outside of the 2-4 edge (second photo directly below).
- (You also have the option of not working in either end. No photo taken.)
I chose Option 1. I will work in the red end after I’ve finished weaving.
That’s the easy part. The rest is a bit trickier, but just a bit.
R1: (I have updated the information for this row. After having practiced this procedure a few more times, I’ve found the best way to begin R1–using the L1-3/L4 warping sequence is to Enter R1 the same as you enter all the L4 rows. [See instructions for R2, below.] However, you will still exit (R1 only) Over the outside tail at Cr 1. From here on, exit all rows under last warp and outside tail together.)
(Original instructions:) FOR THIS ROW ONLY take the needle over the outside tails at Crs 2 and 1.
The following instruction–after making sure you exit R1 Over the outside thread–is the most important part to pay attention to.
R2: Poke your needle into the loop where R2 begins and stretch that loop outward. Take the needle Under the outside yarn tail and Under the inside warp thread at the same time. Continue weaving in the pattern you’ve chosen.
Exit R2 Under last warp thread and outer tail thread.
R3: Enter and exit this row the same way you entered and exited R2: Under yarn tail and first warp thread . . . Under last warp thread and outer yarn tail.
The process takes a little getting used to, but I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
When you get to R16, the procedure is the same. At Cr3 go through the loop, scoop up the two threads and go Under them. Exit R16 going Under both.
The finished square off the loom.
A final word about choosing colors: One color should be dominant or they’ll be in constant competition. Use the non-dominant color to create balance. Complementary colors should not have the same value. In my sample the dominant color is red. It has a darker value than the green, so I use less of it. The green balances the red so the colors don’t compete; we have harmony, and the focal point of the block is–as it should be–the Diamond.