I am undertaking a study of soumak. I have seen varying instructions for soumak. Some just show using the soumak weft and some refer to making plain weave picks between each row of soumak. I plan to experiment with both, but would also appreciate expert opinions.
Can you find a Caucasian soumak rug? Mine is in storage, but I don't recall seeing plain weave picks on the back side. I have only done soumak in strips a couple inches wide and know I didn't use plain weave. If the plain weave is relatively fine, I doubt that it would hurt.
Unlike knotted pile (a relative) the soumak weft is continuous so it will not fall apart if there is no plain weave.
I checked Peter Collingwood's Techniques of Rug Weaving and came up with the usual answer "it depends". While he intermixes soumak with plain weave, it appears to done for the sake of pattern and design rather than structural. He shows some very interesting variants on soumak. It makes me want to abandon the projects on my other looms and go to the Navajo loom to do soumak.
it's my very limited exp. with soumac that it can be used in many ways! I would purchase one of Kathe Todd-Hookers book where she goes into great detail. ( it's either Line in Tapestry or Shaped Tapestry, one of the book stores or her website will give the write up) . I Would experiment as you plan too. Collingswood book should have more too.
i have used plain weave between soumac for decorative effect on the floor loom from selvedge to selvedge. In tapestry I don't do that. It's straight soumac used in a variety of ways, sometimes decorative, sometimes to draw a line, sometimes to smooth out the stair steps of edges etc.
Interesting, it was essentially Collingwood's book that raised this question for me. I think I need quality sleep for a year straight before his book is going to make sense to me.
I taught myself to tablet weave from his tablet weaving book, but I find Nietzsche more easily comprehendable than his rug book!
I would use plain weave every few rows just to be on the safe side. I'd keep it fine, so it doesn't show.
No, you don't need plain weave.
Thanks everyone. I looked in Nancey Harvey's tapestry book. I do have Kirsten Glas around here some where too. This has all greatly helped!!!