weavers, weavers everywhere

I’m not quite home yet, but I am in the next best place — my Dad’s house in California — where I can slob about in sundress and flip-flops while doing laundry and generally getting organised for the transatlantic return. A packing endeavour like no other will be required to accommodate all my weaverly purchases, so it’s a good thing we have a few days to work on it.

Since I’m in marshalling mode, therefore, it seems like a good idea to try and marshal some of my impressions as well. I did the whole Complex Weavers and Convergence weavathon in Albuquerque — seven days in total — so my mind is teeming with new ideas and new projects, but the most fun of all was had meeting people. People who weave! Amazing! So let’s start with those.

CW was first, and of all the people there I think I had only met two in person before, both colleagues on the Journal Editorial Committee, but there were several I had been in contact with: on Journal business, through this blog, through their own weaving blogs and through various online communities. The very first such person I met was actually someone else from the UK: Wendy Morris, who recently became the proprietor of Handweavers and — even more recently — the president of Complex Weavers. I have shopped in her store and she has written for the Journal, but we had to go all the way to New Mexico to meet for real! I also met Stacey Harvey-Brown (weaver, blogger and juror of the Convergence yardage exhibit) having done lots of work with her for the Journal (see forthcoming issue for her really useful guide to types of looms) but never having met face-to-face until last week.

Then there were a few North Americans there too… I think the first of the ‘online’ weavers I met was Alice (in the lift after the plenary talk!), then Barbara, Bonnie, the person I think of as @amyfibre (I had to check: “Are you Amy as in amyfibre?” says I), and not only Sandra but Sandra’s wonderful scarves as well. Of course there were heaps more people whom I had known only as names at the end of WeaveTech posts or who were completely new to me, but all were friendly and approachable and full of enthusiasm for weaving. I was also really touched at how many people spotted my name badge and said, “Oh Cally, I love your blog!” If that was you, then thank you for making my day 🙂

All in all, CW was a great environment for meeting people and it was enormously exciting to be involved in such a passionate weaving community and to be drinking in so much new information. OK, so my overloaded brain crashed once or twice, but it was worth it.

Convergence also brought me into contact with many new people, but overall it was less of a community experience. There were simply so many people there (2,000 is a figure I have heard bandied about) that it was rare to bump into the same person twice. In fact whenever I saw someone I had met at CW, I just about fell on them in relief — new acquaintances were suddenly my oldest, dearest friends! However, there were still some fun meetings: on the first evening I spotted Daryl at the Fashion Show (not very hard, as she was standing in the aisle just in front of me and wearing one of her gorgeous handwoven dresses); an email from Dot gave me an excellent excuse to track down Laverne, who was hanging out at the Weavolution stand; and finally I had a very special rendezvous with a longtime e-buddy, and here is the proof:

I’m not going to link directly to Lynne’s blog as this is a lady who likes her privacy, but she has given me permission to post this special pic — and anyway, if you read weaving blogs and/or are interested in e-textiles, then you already know fine who she is, don’t you? Lynne also gave me a gift to take home, but more on that later…

weavers, weavers everywhere” was posted by Cally on 30 July 2010 at http://callybooker.wordpress.com

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how to recognise me at Convergence

If you are going to be at Complex Weavers or Convergence next week, then look for the chubby round face with the red specs and messy hair, and say hello!

The camera is not guaranteed, but it may well be present. Or you can look for these brightly coloured legs:

The photo is a bit dark (it is POURING with rain here) but in real life they are pretty bright, so You Have Been Warned. The ties at the sides are a bit flimsy for the job they are doing, but I reckon I’m to be able to get something better in Albuquerque. I’ve heard there may be some other weavers in town and a few folk selling things that weavers like to buy.

For now, I am going to pack.

how to recognise me at Convergence” was posted by Cally on 15 July 2010 at http://callybooker.wordpress.com

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extreme preparation

Having spent the best part of two days with my stripey fabric (shown above before wet finishing), I am finally ready to start assembling my trousers.

The washing led to more widthways shrinkage than I was expecting — from approx 26 3/4″ in the reed to 23″ when finished — but there was still plenty of cloth to play with: more than ample for the width of the main pieces and, in fact, enough left at the sides for pockets and other inside bits and bobs, which was gratifying. First I had to cut a length two trouser-legs long and stitch it to the remaining length leaving gaps for pockets and ties. Then I had to lay out pattern pieces and prepare for the real cutting.

I took some time to read a guide from an old issue of Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot (Winter 2006/7) on cutting pattern pieces from handwoven cloth, in which Stephanie Corina Goddard recommends outling each piece with fusible stay tape before cutting. Fusible stay tape is beyond the scope of our local haberdashers, so I used a rotary cutter to slice up strips of lightweight interfacing. Tackling one pattern piece at a time, I tucked these little strips of interfacing under the edge of the paper pattern and then pressed them into place. The first trouser leg I did took me about two hours! But, hey, by the second one I had it down to less than 90 mins.  Thank goodness for square pockets, that’s all I can say. Once I had cut out each piece I did the usual tailor tacks and notches (although given the interfacing, I cut the notches inwards rather than outwards for a change) and then zig-zagged round the circumference of each piece to secure the edge.

Here is the wrong side of a pocket,

and the right side of the waistband:

So altogether I have a pile like this,

and all the sewing still to do. Nevertheless, I am reckoning that I have done the lion’s share of the work, especially since the assembly is the bit I have tried before so I have already worked out the details of what I need to do.

You may notice, comparing the wet finished pieces with the unfinished cloth at the top, that a slight vertical line in the weave structure has been noticeably strengthened in the washing. This was a surprise to me as it didn’t do this in my sampling. I am not sure how to account for it, but suspect that it could be the result of a treadling error, albeit one that I managed to make consistently for about six yards on the loom! I have to compare what I actually did with what I meant to do… Still, I like the look of it, and the fact that the regularity of the structural stripe contrasts with the irregularity of the colour stripes. You might think, however, that by now I would be able to get a sequence of four (yes, I said four) treadles right, mightn’t you? I really do wonder about myself sometimes. At least you didn’t have a bet on it.

You didn’t, did you?

extreme preparation” was posted by Cally on 11 July 2010 at http://callybooker.wordpress.com

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So what have I been doing since my last post, nearly two weeks ago?

Travelling – firstly to a research workshop with the rest of my department, then to stay with friends and gawp at the lovely home they have just moved into, then to Brunel University for a training course and finally to my sister-in-law’s just in time for…

Celebrating –  Abigail’s second birthday.

Blushing – at all the nice things you have been saying about my yardage, thank you. I know it is not at all like my “usual” weaving, but that is the great thing about such a rich craft as ours.

Grappling – with the most annoying and information-withholding courier company (naming no names, but you know who you are) over shipping said yardage to Albuquerque. To get the thing in the air I ended up contacting eight different employees, and had a different story from each of them. To be fair, HMRC only told me half a tale as well, and they also do a good line in cryptic information sheets.

Shouting – at no-one in particular, but just to get the above out of my system.

Working – on my research; yes, it must be done, but it isn’t getting done fast enough. I wonder whose fault that is?

Finishing – my stripey warp and cutting it off the loom. Now I just need to wash it and press it — oh, and make it into trousers.

Boggling – at the costs of our US trip mounting up… almost everything is sorted now, but when we get home it will be bread-and-water until Christmas.

Skimming – hastily over all the blog posts I have missed. If you haven’t done so already, you must visit Purple Donsu to see Pat Foster’s Convergence yardage Frijoles Creek Remembered.

Reading The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville, which I found very moving. One I’d recommend.

Losing – a whole blog post which I composed in the WordPress app. I have never yet achieved a successful post with this app and it is one I definitely wouldn’t recommend. What was I going to say? I’ve forgotten, so we’ll never know.

-ing” was posted by Cally on 7 July 2010 at http://callybooker.wordpress.com

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