A big thank you to all the people who entered my ‘anniversary giveaway‘ over the last week. The winner is Denice McMechan from Canada, and the blue scarf will be on its way to her first thing on Monday morning. (In the interests of transparency, I have described the draw process here.)
Meanwhile, I have gone from buzzing to skipping — going from one manifestation of my double weave thoughts to another in a thoroughly non-linear fashion. The linear ideas I mentioned have been percolating while I wove the warp with all the mistakes in it.
This is the sort of thing I’ve been playing at:
The threading is networked, but the treadling is in discrete blocks. The yarn here is quite a thick lambswool so the fabric is pretty chunky. I would probably choose a finer yarn ‘for real’ but the thick yarn is great for testing a concept — it weaves up so quickly! I am very happy with the way this is developing.
The next warp is taking me back to the linear maps. I’m using a 60/2 silk doubled and mainly want to see (a) how I should set it and (b) the weight of cloth I get from it. The colours are just ones I happen to have, though I do quite like them together.
Amazingly, I managed to wind four bouts on the warping mill without any mistakes! That’s right: I didn’t make a mistake until I was planning my threading. Then I forgot one of the bouts and planned for three instead of four. Honestly. I was, so I thought, nearly a third of the way through the threading, and seemed to have an awful lot of warp left… The revised plan is a straight draw. Take that, loom goblins.
I have been thinking about old maps. Specifically, the kind of linear map which presents a single route from A to B and the important features along the way. We have an old map of that kind, but it is framed and behind glass — my attempt to photograph it was not a success. The linear map thoughts go with my double weave thoughts, and the combination makes me all buzzy with excitement.
Especially given the way that these turned out:
That’s also a pretty poor photo, but there was a distinct and depressing lack of daylight today. There are several things here which make me very happy, but at the moment I am focused on the middly bit where there are four ‘units’ which gradually change face and then snap back to the beginning again. This bit (with apologies for the horrible blurriness):
While I play around with these ideas, I thought I would warp up for more samples of a related-but-different kind. So I went ahead and made a complete muddle of it. That’s three warps I have wound on the mill so far and each one has introduced me to new mistakes! This time I managed to get the colours in exactly the places I didn’t want them: quite an impressive feat, I think. I am sure this is tremendously good for me, and that I’ll eventually — if only by accident — get to a warp without mistakes, but I am wishing for this sooner rather than later. So I haven’t decided yet whether to go with the draft I had originally planned, or whether I should adjust it to try and reclaim some of my intention…Could go either way, so I am postponing the decision until tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone who has posted here already — the draw is open until the end of the week, as I am sure I’m not the only person who takes a few days to catch up with their blog-reading.
In November 2003 I had my first encounter with a 4-shaft loom. It is a funny sort of loom – clearly homemade and featuring a number of idiosyncracies – but I liked it so much, that I bought it the same day. In the ten years since that moment of woman-meets-loom, I have re-fashioned my home, my work and my entire life around my love of weaving. That was unexpected.
I reckon a decade of weave-upheaval should be marked in some way, so here is a little giveaway: a free Graffiti scarf to one person chosen at random. If you would like to enter the draw, please leave a comment on this post before midnight (GMT) on Friday 6th December.
The winner can choose between this mainly blue scarf…
…and this pink-purple scarf,
so I hope you’ll find you like one or t’other. I will put it in the post as soon as you’ve decided and — for most of the world — it should be with you in time for Christmas.
This would also be a good time to say thank you to all the lovely people who have supported me on my weave-journey so far. So to my teachers, friends, long-suffering family, fellow-weavers, customers, students and – of course! – blog-readers: thank you. Thank you very much indeed.
The next decade starts tomorrow!
So plain weave is all very well, but…
Having finally tried out a peg plan for gradually exchanging layers, I really wanted to change it from plain weave to a twill. This, of course, takes twice as many lags and pegs, not to mention a bit of extra thinking. Fortunately, I quite like sitting down near the heater while my studio warms up!
The first eight lifts are easy. Twill in both layers; lift top layer out of the way to weave the bottom layer. Sorted.
I had originally planned the layer exchange on the basis of a straight draw in both layers. I wanted a randomish appearance so I had switched the shafts in a satin order rather than trading first 1 then 2 then 3 etc. Anyway, the first pair to be switched are 8 and 16: wherever I lift 8 in the first plan, in the second plan I want to lift 16 instead, and vice versa.
So far so good. I must admit, though, it gets pretty wild and hairy in the middle. I found that the simplest way to handle it was to use the shaft shuffler in Fiberworks to exchange the shafts at each stage, then I could just do the same straightforward liftplan each time — while the earlier ones get more and more mixed up. At the end I moved all the shafts back again to correspond with my threading. However, I’m never convinced by such tricks unless I can also get out a pencil and paper and check that I know what I’m doing! It is quite satisfying to pick out the pegs which are making pattern and confirm that they are indeed weaving a twill.
And quite unnerving when you have horrible skips and have to work out why.
I was relieved that this turned out to be a simple peg-in-the-wrong-hole problem and not a wrong-hole-in-the-plan problem. On this advancing threading, the exchanges are not the gradation I had originally intended, but I am really liking these blocky shapes.
I like the shades of grey too, though they do look a bit alien on my blog and FB page amidst all the colour. The cotton I am using at the moment was only ever intended for sampling, and I had planned to go on to sampling in silk but stay with the greys. However, I am now thinking that all silk would be more glossy than I really want, and a mix of silk and something would better capture the texture that I’m after. Tricky to say for sure though, as I am headed off on a definite tangent. Only one solution: more sampling!
Yesterday I cut off the plain weave piece to finish. After handling it, I decided that some stitchers would be in order if I’m going to weave each block for any length. So the last thing I did today was to start adding them. Just one stitched end per eight-lag block so far. I will see how that behaves before I get carried away.
This week saw the last of the current series of weekly weaving classes and my four students are now Real Weavers. I am amazed and delighted by the wonderful weavings they have produced. They spent the first few weeks doing a ’round robin’ and trying out different yarns and threadings. However, for the last month or so they have been beavering away at their own projects — and now that they have finished you would hardly know they had taken the same course! When the time came for cutting off we rigged up a ‘display string’ on one of the warping boards…
…and had a mini photo shoot. I must say I did a pretty poor job of getting pictures which aren’t blurred, but here are some close-ups — I hope they will give you as good an idea of the weaves as possible given my technical limitations.
This is by Christine:
The looms are now bare and my studio is very quiet. I shall miss our Tuesday night weaves, but I feel very proud of these new weavers.