The season of significant birthdays continues…
Yes, I have joined a new club! The occasion was understated, thanks to post-holiday lurgy and the fact that I am among the youngest of my ‘cohort of peers’: eleven months of milestones and by the time my birthday comes around, I have pretty much forgotten that I am not already the next number up. So it was a lovely, quiet day. The sun shone and cake was eaten. And in other excellent news: the flies are vanquished!
Also… I got a beautiful new shuttle, which is poorly served by the following photo.
It’s a long low-profile shuttle and perfect for freeform weaving, which is something I have been playing about with for a few months (thanks to Meg). Some of you may have seen the freeform overshot banner I added to my Facebook page:
I’ve done quite a few pieces in white/off-white as I intend to experiment on them using natural dyes and inks.
One of my motivations is to be able to incorporate Pictish forms into weaving in quite a simple style. I could have sworn I had a photo of some samples I did with the Aberlemno serpent in different weave structures, but I can’t find it now. Most recently, though, I have been trying out a very simple Celtic knot design in freeform Bronson Lace and my shuttle arrived just in time to help me finish it.
(Isn’t that a beautiful shuttle? It slips so smoothly though that narrow shed…. *sigh*)
I really like the texture contrast of lace and plain weave, and one of my favourite weaves is a plain weave pattern on a lace ground: for some reason, I much prefer that to the opposite configuration of lace on a plain ground. It is quite easy to slip up and catch or miss threads, as you can see here (this is after washing):
But the new shuttle has made a big difference.
I found that with this piece I had to abandon my first version, which was based on a cartoon, and turn to graph paper to get a consistent rhythm to the lace-vs-plain. I am not entirely satisfied with version two either, as parts of the pattern don’t come through as clearly as I would like. This is most of it, held up against the window: I couldn’t step back far enough to get the whole thing in!
This journey started with a bit of warp in 2/6 cotton which was left after a workshop, and I have gradually worked my way down to a 2/16 cotton for the current warp. I am not sure how far I can go without a new pair of glasses: my eyesight has taken one of those sudden downward steps in the last two or three months, but I really want to hold out until the new year before I buy another pair of specs! I may stay with the 2/16 for a while… I am reasonably pleased with the resolution at this scale although it is still quite blocky. It’s one of the things I like about lace, that the floats tend to soften the edges of blocks and give them a more rounded look.