snowbound in the studio

Well, there is an awful lot of snow. I know you are keen to see a bin update, so here is Wednesday (compare Sunday and Monday here):

It is pretty hard for me to get beyond the garden gate now. Stuart has cleared the path again today, but beyond our walls lies deep, deep snow and my ankle is not sufficiently stable for me to walk on it safely. This has been proven the old fashioned way, by trying it, falling down and then making a spectacle of myself failing to get up again. Fortunately, this was less painful than it was funny! Anyway, for the sake of health and safety, the latest bin picture was taken through the window, as was this one of the wee lattice opposite the gate which serves as a windbreak to protect some of the plants (very important in these parts).

Isn’t it lucky that weaving is an indoor activity? (Slightly less lucky that the radiator in the loom room is kaput, but we are praying that Mr Radiator Repairs will make it through the snow tomorrow.) I have been surprisingly productive at the loom, even with only one working leg. Being both forgetful (have I shown you this before?) and lazy (I can’t be bothered to check), I am going to show you the bag I made with the hemp and cottolin echo weave in pink and orange…

…which I think has turned out rather nicely. It is lined with plain calico (I do like a light coloured lining to a bag, otherwise I can never find anything) and has a wee pocket at the side. I am now making some more in different colours and with different drafts, so that I have a nice selection for Petite Noel. In each case the threading is planned, but the treadling is improvised at the loom. Here is some finished fabric in blue and turquoise…

…and here is one on the loom in green and yellow.

My big unresolved question is Button or No Button? I would quite like to put a button on the pocket, but it would have to be the Right Button. I would rather have no button at all than the Wrong Button. None of the buttons I have is telling me absolutely Yes, I am The One, although there are some contenders. This is the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night, you know.

snowbound in the studio” was posted by Cally on 1 Dec 2010 at

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Serious scarves

Today I lined up my four serious scarves ready for a photoshoot and then discovered my camera battery was nearly flat. Unfortunately, it is the kind which you have to take out of the camera for recharging so I had to eat cake while I was waiting. By the time the cake was gone, so had the light… I really Must Do Better. Nevertheless, I did manage a few shots before the battery completely died, so these will have to do for now.

Here are the results so far of my Goethe colour experiment:

And here, for comparison, is the wrapping that started me off:

It is harder to see the patterns in a photo, but here is a slanty look at the blue (wave) and rust (brick)…

…and an even less effective shot of the red (square) and green (curved triangle thingy):

The green curved-triangle-thingy has already been much discussed, but I don’t think I have said anything about the red squares. At first I thought squares might be a bit boring, but then it seemed as though jazzing them up would be too fancy — these patterns were meant to be simple shapes to complement the colours, and the green had already got a bit out of hand. So what I ended up with was this pattern of smaller and larger squares, slightly offset to liven them up a bit:

I’ve used a bright blue weft in the drawdown just so that the pattern shows up. In fact, I am really pleased with the way all these patterns have turned out. On the loom they look quite dull, but once the lace has tightened up with washing, the whole scarf is transformed. This makes me happy.

serious scarves” was posted by Cally on 31 Oct 2010 at

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serious wrapping

Let me tell you about this little wrapping here:

One of the sources which James Koehler drew on in the colour workshop was the picture you can see here — I am not sure what book it comes from, but someone has already kindly uploaded it to flickr with a wee bit of commentary. As I understand it, the characterisations of the colour groups as “lucid”, “reflective” and so on are due to Goethe, and I found them rather intriguing. I would never have thought of yellow, orange and green as “serene” for example, unless the mix was about 90% green and 10% yellow/orange, so I wonder what Goethe had in mind?

Anyway, the way these colours are made is also interesting, and I have tried to illustrate it using Excel (so apologies if the colours are a bit garish). The triangle starts with the primaries (red, yellow and blue – we are talking pigment rather than light here) at the corners and the secondaries (orange, violet and green) in between.

But what happens in those little white spaces? Well, I am going to concentrate on the right-hand side of the triangle, the red-violet-blue, so first of all I am going to drop the yellow vertex as we won’t be needing it. Then I am going to start mixing. The space adjacent to the red will be filled with a mix of red and its complementary colour, green. Similarly, the space adjacent to the blue will be filled with a mix of blue and orange.

If I were doing this with paints I’m sure we would now be looking at shades of brown (presumably Goethe & Albers didn’t have this problem). And recent versions of Excel seem to have given up allowing one to fill the interior of shapes with stripes, which is a little annoying. So what I have chosen to illustrate the result are these rather alarming “gradient filled” triangles.

I think they convey the general idea — somewhere in the middle is the colour you end up with — but for my purposes, actually holding onto the separate primaries and secondaries in the mix is quite useful. We did some wrappings this way at the workshop, and it was amazing how the same selection of six colours became all sorts of combinations in the hands of different students. The five triangles shown above make the colour group which Goethe described as “serious”. They include my favourite purples, so it is a group which rather appeals to me; and I thought I would explore the idea with a small range of “Serious Scarves”.

So I went shopping.

Here are the reds, violets and blues I chose, laid out along the right hand side of a triangle you will only be able to see if you are of royal blood.

And here they are again, with their friends the oranges and greens:

These gorgeous yarns are all 20/2 silk courtesy of the mouth-watering Red Fish Dye Works. I could have just moved in with their fantastic display in the Convergence vendor hall, but I might have dribbled on the yarn as I slept and that would have made them unhappy. Anyway. I have gone for what seemed to me to be quite serious tones of the serious colours — oh, here’s that wrapping again —

but I think that throwing in those complementary colours gives the red-violet-blue combination quite a lift. Plus I am planning to use some very frivolous drafts, which I’m still working on.

serious wrapping” was posted by Cally on 19 Aug 2010 at

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