Having met the last of my pre-Christmas weaving commitments (yay!) I thought that this week I would add to the surplus scarf population chez Booker. Stuart actually asked me for another scarf, please, and could it be purplish to go with a particular shirt and tie? Since I like purple too, I had a soft-focus vision of lovely his-n-hers scarves from the same warp for Christmas… but then Phoebus got himself beaten up again and we have to take it in turns to stay home and keep an eye on him, so no studio time for me for a few days.[Note to the alarmed cat-lover (non-lovers of cats might want to skip this part): the patient looks as though he is going to be fine. He has some nasty injuries to his nose and it wasn’t immediately clear whether his right eye might also be damaged — hence the careful supervision. But there have been no scary developments in that area, so he seems likely to see (and fight) another day. In the meantime he snorts blood and cat-snot all over his people as it pleases him, but can breathe and eat normally. The people, on the other hand, are hyperventilating at the prospect of more vet’s bills.]
So, instead of weaving, I have been thinking about weaving. Of course I have. Some playtime is in order in the new year and there are so many things I want to do that I daren’t even make a list of them all — though they are known to include: following up the things Pat & I learned in our 4CDW lessons with Bonnie Inouye in September, doing my next CW double weave study group project, trying out the metallic Habu yarns I bought in Charlottesville and getting better acquainted with the fine merino/silks from Shirley Pinder. You’ll notice that there are a couple of double weave items there which might find themselves combined into one, and the yarn games could be thrown into the pot as well… BUT. It is all a bit messy, frankly.
To take a different approach to the muddle in my head, I thought that, rather than list all the random things I fancy doing, I would try and list the things I have done. What do I feel confident with? What have I dabbled in but would like to develop further? It turns out to be a fairly short list, especially the first part.
1 Things I feel very confident with: twills
Twills are my default setting. When I think about doing something and I wonder what would be a good weave to use, I realise that I am often actually wondering what would be a good twill to use. Straight, point, broken, fancy (but not too fancy, please), networked or in parallel, there seems to be a twill for every occasion. To a certain extent, I am happy with that: with so much wondrous variety in one basic structure, it is going to take more than my lifetime to explore it all. But I’m not so enamoured with twills that I don’t want to push myself to explore more widely.
2 Things I feel reasonably confident with: parallel threadings, networked drafts, double weave
Hey, look! These are all things you can do with twills! But not just twills. I have done some networked huck as well, which was fun, although it is more challenging on a mechanical dobby than the twill flavour. And who doesn’t like weaving double cloth with plain weave to get as many layers/blocks as you possibly can?
3 Things I do pretty regularly but haven’t explored in depth: summer and winter, huck, differential shrinkage
4 Things I have done recently or from time to time but have explored even less than the above: Theo Moorman, honeycombs and waffles, colour and weave
These are all structures/techniques I like. I appreciate both the process and the result (though in some cases I prefer the process and in others the result!) but have only nibbled at the edges of the possibilities.
5 Things I have done but am really not fussed about: overshot
Actually, I do like a bit of monk’s belt, and also what I think of as ‘fragmented overshot’, where you lay in only part of the pattern as if it were a surviving piece of a mosaic floor, but on the whole overshot is not something I lie awake wishing I could spend more time with.
There is much more I could put on this list. Most of what I’ve included here are structures — and there are plenty enough of those to think about — but once you start getting into design techniques (like the network drafting or colour and weave which I’ve mentioned) or finishing techniques (like differential shrinkage) then the universe expands very rapidly. However, it is quite useful to me to focus on the headline things and see how short the list is! And there is plenty to do around items 2, 3 and 4 to develop even this small repertoire, so that helps me to dream constructively about my new year play time…
This is looking alarmingly like a post without any pictures, so I’ll just put that straight. At the end of November I took some of my latest scarves on a road trip to the Red Cabin Studio in Fife so that photographer Jenni Gudgeon could take some glamour shots. These are a couple of her pictures. Aren’t they lovely?
Photographs are © Jenni Gudgeon, Red Cabin Studio (2012)