Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weaving at Peters Valley Cont'd

My first exercise on the second day was a balanced weave, meaning that the weft threads would be the same number as the warp threads. I measured inch by inch and only achieved the goal as an average of all the six inches. As you can see on the sampler, or "book" as Sarah Saulson calls it, this section didn't hold up so well, not maintaining its structure at the edges where it was pulled.

Here are two views of my first twill weaves. The fuschia is fine acrylic boucle, tighly beaten and doesn't show up the structure so well. With the blue warp I chose, I used weft thread colors that harmonized.

Here's my "book", to be read top down. The first leaf was cut off, (see yesterday's post) so the book is a record of what I did on the second and third days of the workshop. Left photo shows the front and the right the back.

The seventh section down, gold and black, was an exploration of unexpected weaving materials. It was really fun. My goodie bag contained black tulle with gold dots and six 12" lengths of gold cord. I worked out how to cut the length of tulle into one long strip, which I accomplished with only a few minor glitches. Fran, the helpful and knowledgeable studio assistant, suggested I spin it. Great idea. So I whipped out my Golding Spindle and made a tulle yarn. Spinning it intensified the black and "popped" out the gold bits. I began weaving this at around 7:30 and continued the next morning. Some of the tulle pokes out, at Sarah's suggestion. I'd just had the gold cord and loose tulle bits hanging over the selvedges so that added just the touch needed. I thought the regular stripped structure somewhat ironic considering the materials.

We also learned to read and draft patterns. Sarah demonstrated software and introduced us to Marguerite Davison's classic pattern book. I'm glad I took notes on the drafting because it helped me with the drafting homework assigned for the last day. I didn't remember until I was in the shower Monday morning. Eeek. So, I furiously wrote out the pattern on the drive up. In a panic that I wasn't understanding it, I asked Marsha to pull over so I could grab my notebook. The D.B. was laughing -- nay, e'en howling in delight -- because she'd never known me to forgePublish Postt to do my homework before.

The magic of the whole experience was how natural weaving seemed to me. I think I may have some deep physical memories of all the weaving I'd done as an eight year old at the Phillipstown Manor Restoration (it's name in the mid-50's when my father'd been their business manager). It may be that I felt very much at home working with the loom as a machine. It seemed very logical and easy to use. I figured out tricks by myself that a more experienced weaver had to have Sarah show her, which surprised me. There's a very appealing rationality to the craft. Now, I only hope that I can find an affordable loom before I forget everything I learned.

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