Margreet, Sandra and Geodyne all took notice of the fact that I said I didn’t like the colours in this picture, but nonetheless found I had exactly those colours in unmercerised cotton. Well, almost exactly. The yarns are rather more saturated, which is something I’m happy about.
So is there something subliminal going on here? No, not really. I didn’t actually go out and buy that set of colours at any time; they have simply accumulated over the course of a number of different projects. Nonetheless, some of them go back to my first year of weaving so I thought I’d treat myself to a bit of nostalgia.
The bright blue in the middle came first, along with a lighter shade which was all used up some time ago. I had been weaving for about six months and wanted to make a present for some friends who were approaching their 25th wedding anniversary. I knew they liked blue and decided to weave a table runner in huck using two shades of blue cotton. I had a four-shaft table loom so I didn’t have that much flexibility with the patterning but I mixed huck with plain weave and some nice hem-stitching and it turned out pretty well. I never photographed the runner, but I still have a little sample which looks like this.
I’m afraid it looks a bit wavy — I really should have ironed the poor thing first! A friend of my mother’s was staying with her at the time I was doing this project, and she liked the runner a lot. So my mother and I decided to give her something similar for Christmas: mum would buy the yarn and I would weave it. This friend prefers warm colours and said she would like her runner to be orange. Enter the three shades of orange cotton! I planned to do a darker warp + lighter weft again, only we couldn’t decide which would be the best dark shade so we got two options. By the time I wove it I had eight shafts to play with and so I planned a design with diamonds.
A year later I signed up for the Bradford course and over the next two years my weaving got all funky. The three shades of beige/brown and the teal blue were all purchased for my final project in order to help me create the colours of a mosaic angel’s wing. Like this.
There are a lot of other yarns in the warp too, including mercerised cotton in blue, pink and cream and some very fine silk in blue and rust. I love the effect of mixing yarns (as I may have mentioned once or twice) but it was this very warp which put me off using unmercerised cotton. Beaming a mix of fine silk and unmercerised cotton was a total nightmare. The cotton chafed and grabbed at the silk until the whole thing was a gigantic unspeakable mess. It worked in the end — desperation and deadlines are wonderfully motivating — but my stash of unmercerised cotton has not been added to since that date. Perhaps this project will change my mind, who knows?