Liz Croft – Sierpinski 3 2023

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I have been weaving for 10 years and found it a perfect tie up of her maths happy brain and the love of yarn that has been part of my life as long as I can remember.

My work is influenced by both Anni and Josef Albers, with yellow, black and white being colours that I revisit regularly, along with as many squares as possible.

I studied Maths to degree level and have always found beauty in mathematical patterns. Fractals are one such pattern, a curve or geometrical figure, where similar patterns repeat on a progressively smaller scale. The first fractal I encountered was the Sierpinski Triangle, named for Walter Sierpinski, and whose fractal – The Sierpinski Carpet this weaving is based.

To weave the Sierpinski Carpet as a double weave structure, I would have needed more shafts on my loom. After studying lampas as part of the Complex Weavers Double Weave Study Group, I knew that lampas could be used as an alternative structure, as it required less shafts per block than double weave.

The original design had just one colour crossing the secondary weft, and one colour crossing the primary warp. Sampling and becoming familiar with the lampas structure meant pushing all the boundaries I could by looking at how multiple wefts on both primary and secondary warps could be used to create the effect of fractals using different colours, as more of the original square is removed. Sampling at the loom was a critical part of the process of developing the different lift plans. The original drafts had either the primary or secondary warp as the dominant cloth, and the sampling led to the challenge of seeing them together

The fractals of the Sierpinski carpet are expressed in this work by the white primary warp woven with white weft with smaller grey squares, and the black central square woven over the secondary warp. The central section of the work has a yellow weft across the finer secondary warp, and then white and grey wefts used across the primary warp to create the smaller squares. By placing the carpets side by side, there is an illusion of depth created, with the twill weaves receding and the tabby cloth projecting from the surface.

I found this satisfying, both to design and weave.


Handwoven lampas using 20 shafts (22 including unseen selvedge)


6 3/8 x 22 1/8 x 1.5 (inches including frame)


Warps – 30/2 merino and cordonnet special No 100
Wefts – cordonnet special No 100, Guterman Sulky thread, 30/2 merino, 1/8nm mohair silk


Louet 24 shaft magic dobby

  • Liz Croft