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Last week I gave a very brief overview of texture through double weave, and today I’m focussing on pique which is a tied structure.  If you look back through technical books, pique and the technique called matelasse are frequently called each other and crossed over, but there is a slight difference.  Matelasse is very similar except that it is totally a double cloth, and not a tied cloth.  My interpretation is that pique is a tied double cloth. 

Using differential shrinkage, in other words, with your main cloth in a non-shrinking fibre such as cotton, and your supplementary warp in a shrinking fibre such as wool, you can create quite puckered effects with pique.  Because of the tied nature of the weave, any potential floats are kept short which was very useful for upholstery and soft furnishings.  One UK company that used pique really well was Arthur H Lee, based in Birkenhead, near Liverpool.  Some of their fabrics are held at the Whitworth Museum and Art Gallery in Manchester.

One of my pique samples, woven with 24 shafts, is shown here and you can see the wool ties pulling the top cloth into smaller ripples, as well as the bigger undulations caused by the secondary warp. 

The principles behind pique are as follows :  when threading, put the plain weave, non-shrinking layer on shafts 1 and 2, and leave a space between them as indicated.

In the alternate gaps between the cotton warps, put the wool tie-down warps on shafts 3 and 4. 

Then, in the remaining spaces, put in your pattern threads (wool)

The pattern ends (shafts 5 – 8) are always on the bottom cloth, in this instance, the wool one, as are the tie-downs threads on shafts 3 & 4.

For the treadling, there is a sequence of 6 picks for the complete treadling unit.  The first 3 picks raise the tie-down ends on shafts 3 or 4.

Pick 1 :  Raise P (shaft 3 or 4 (tie-down thread) + shaft 1.   Throw face weft.

Pick 2:  Raise P (same tie-down thread) + shaft 2.  Throw face weft.

Pick 3: Raise top cloth and tie-down threads – shafts 1-4.  Throw backing weft.

The second three picks raise the selected pattern shafts.

Pick 4: Raise P’ (all pattern lifts marked) + shaft 1 .  Throw face weft.

Pick 5: Raise P’ + shaft 2 .  Throw face weft.

Pick 6: Raise shafts 1 & 2 (+ all pattern warps on 5 – 8).  Throw backing weft.

Here it is in draft form for you to see.

Picks 1 & 2(cotton)Pick 3 (wool)Picks 4 & 5(Cotton)Pick 6 (Wool)

If you want to get a more raised look, you can put in a stuffer weft, after picks 2 and 5.  This entails simply separating the two layers, so you raise shafts 1 & 2 and insert your thicker stuffer weft. 

Next week, we shall look at matelasse.