Notes on Anni Albers – On Weaving


The relationship between the structure of a fabric and the material it’s constructed from is essential to its function. There are three fundamental weaves: the plain weave (oldest), the twill weave, and the satin weave.

The plain weave is the simplest, yet strongest way to construct a fabric. Demands less material and can be produced faster than any other. These characteristics explain why the plain weave is so commonly found. Warp and weft are equal, resulting in a balanced appearance on front and back. Has a tendency to be stiff and holds up very well over time. Due to the equal amounts of warp and weft in the surface that intersect visibly, it is very conducive to aesthetic elaborations and designs.

The twill weave can either be a balanced or unbalanced weave, depending on whether the warp or the filling is dominant on either the front or back. The twill pattern results in diagonal lines across the fabric, running either to the left or the right. Twill weaves can either be simple with one line twill line or compound, with a number or lines. Twill weaves are written with numbers indicating the warp threads raised or lowered. Twill weaves are often used for clothing, specifically denim, as the material is inclined to give way more easily to diagonal pull.

The satin weave is believed to be invented by the Chinese, is considered to be the opposite of the plain weave in that it can only be unbalanced. It requires a minimum of 5 warp and weft threads and results in a uniform, smooth surface in which visible structural effects are not obviously visible. Rules for satin weave: split threads into 2 groups where each group is larger than 1, not divisible by each other, and not divisible by a common third. The idea is to achieve the widest possible separation of the stitchers. The satin weave results in a pliable, soft fabric that can achieve very luxurious, glossy appearance when used with a lustrous material due to the homogenous surface.


Quotes I liked:

“A process reduced to just the essential allows for the broadest application”

“Acceptance of limitations, as a framework rather than as a hindrance, is always proof of a productive mind.”


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