When I started my career, I was purchasing fabrics from other people. But I was dissatisfied with the designs that were available. Eventually I realized that to get the fabrics I dreamed of, I would have to create them myself. So I bought a loom and taught myself how to weave. I also discovered I had to learn how to design weaving patterns. All my designing was done by hand, with paper and pencil. A few years later I got my first computer (an Atari) and discovered what a joy it was to be able to design so much more quickly, to experiment, and to learn. I love complex woven designs, where yarns and colors and weaves interact to create layers of design and texture.
Jumping ahead a quarter century, I’m still loving these complex designs, and always learning new ways to design. I have recently designed a number of “push-pull” shirts. Here is a glimpse of how push-pull works.
At first glance, you might think this shirt (at left), called “Dentrite,” is printed, but it’s actually woven, as you can see in the close-up (below left).
The weave structure is called “double-weave” because the fabric is woven in two layers. Most of the shirt is constructed so that these two layers are tightly bound together. In these areas, you cannot easily tell that the fabric is in two layers.
But other areas of the shirt are woven with the two layers entirely separated. You can grasp the outside and inside of the shirt, and pull the two layers apart, creating a hollow space within the fabric. The large, dark, diamond shaped areas are done this way.
After the shirt is woven, it receives additional processing (called “finishing”). One step in this process slightly separates the two layers of fabric, and then moves the weft yarns in the front layer sideways.
As a result, the weft yarns no longer run in straight lines, but curve quite dramatically. Some of the yarns cluster together, and some of them move farther apart. You can see the resulting wiggling in the photograph of the shirt, and in the close-up below. This technique is called “push-pull.”
Note that the front layer of the shirt becomes quite open in places, as a result of the weft yarns being moved aside. You can clearly see the back layer of shirt fabric showing through these spaces (an effect called “grin through”).
The construction is 108 ends per inch by 100 picks per inch. The yarn is 80/2 cotton warp, while the weft is 80/2 cotton and 40/1 cupro rayon weft, pick and pick.