I have just been reading Laura Fry’s recent posts on sampling and I want to add my “Hear, hear!” so there it is. As you may have realised, my own problem with sampling is forcing myself to stop…
Thinking about sampling also caused another thought to pop into my head. It is a recurrent thought but one which I have never recorded, so I thought this time I’d catch it and write it down.
It is quite common for new weavers to start by weaving projects from books and magazines. I certainly tried a few drafts I found in Handwoven, although it is (or was six years ago) less easy for UK weavers to make the exact projects therein since we don’t (or didn’t) have ready access to the US yarns and yarn suppliers. However, in the weaving community it is more or less expected that sooner or later the novice weaver will move on to designing their own projects, and for some — especially those who have experience in knitting — this seems to be a strange and frankly unreasonable expectation. After all, many knitters produce beautiful work and become very expert without getting into pattern design. And you wouldn’t expect a pianist to compose all their own sonatas, would you? What snobs those weavers are!
But in fact this expectation is not unreasonable at all. The secret is this: designing your own weaving is really, really easy. And the reason it is easy is because you only need to make rectangles. Rectangles! Knitting projects involve all sorts of garment shaping as well as pattern and colour; weaving projects are rectangles.
Of course, they don’t have to be rectangles, and the challenge of using a loom to make non-rectangular cloth can keep a weaver happy and busy for a lifetime: just look at Anna Champeney’s post about the Danish weaver Lotte Dalgaard*, for example. Even if you don’t want to go that far, “defying the grid” in small ways to create pattern and texture is enormous fun — but you don’t have to worry about the shape you get. You can make the cloth and then cut it up to create whatever you want.
The only thing standing between a weaver and his or her own designs is fear of it all going wrong. So if you feel that fear, go and make samples!
Rant over, thought recorded, time for bed.
*Right after this quick plug: I should mention that Anna has written a fascinating profile of Lotte Dalgaard for the forthcoming Journal, which is how I come to know about her amazing cloth. It comes out in late November so there’s still time to sign up for your copy 🙂