Friday, April 22, 2005

Dreaming of Cardweaving

I spent last weekend at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH)at Asilomar, yes, on the beach at Pacific Grove. It was a tough assignment.

I took a cardweaving class from Gudrun Polack. I hoped to come away with a better understanding of the structure of cardweaving, and insight into how she weaves her beautiful interlocked patterns.

The first day we wove a sampler of shadow weave. I started weaving where the threads are bunched in a loop, with some easier patterning, then tried some more challenging return and spiral designs towards the end of the band.

cardweaving sample

We were given drafting homework that evening. I opted for a gin and tonic (perhaps the first mistake).

The next morning the plan was simple: we'd each choose a more complex draft, warp it up, weave a sample, then try a sample of other structures warped by other class members. We would each end up with about a bookmark-length sample of a variety of patterns. I chose a braided pattern, also chosen by at least two other people in the class.

Day two did not go swimmingly. In the photo below, I started weaving at the loop end. Each of those little threads sticking out indicates where I started over. And over. And over. At the very beginning, Gudrun wove a tiny bit to make sure the cards were threaded correctly. They were. The rest is me, going slowly nuts.

cardweaving sample2

I left for the day not having succeeded. I left the warp set up, and once again, Gudrun wove a sample and it worked just fine (it was me, not the cards). I, however, had returned to the gin and tonic.

Day three. I arrived full of new enthusiasm. I repeated my less than stellar attempts for a few tries. Then I took a deep breath, pulled myself together and wove a few inches correctly, sigh, finally (see the very end of the sample above).

After a few days R & R in Carmel and Monterey, I came home Wednesday with a goal of weaving my bookmark. Yikes, thwarted again. Here are my repeated attempts:

cardweaving sample3

Close, very close, but no cigar. I stopped, went on with my day, and went to bed contemplating The Pattern. I dreamed of the cards. I woke up with the pattern going back and forth in my mind. I tried again. This time, I turned the cards without referring to the diagram. That was the key: I was familiar enough with the pattern to keep going, not be distracted, and I managed to weave a passable sample:

cardwoven bookmark

I have not yet mastered this pattern. I can weave a bit without mistakes, but mastery, to me, involves knowing enough to correct mistakes when they occur. I will weave it over again, perhaps many times, until I understand it, and where the threads should be at any given turn. Then, when I can correct mistakes (which are inevitable), I will have a greater understanding, or mastery. And with mastery comes the ability to innovate, and vary. That's when the real fun will begin!


Blogger beadlizard said...

Do you have any idea how reassuring it is to know that even *you* have a learning curve? I can't wait to see where you go with cardweaving now.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Charleen said...

There, there. Look at the progress you've made. So sit back and relax - I'll make us some gin and tonics!

12:48 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

Weaving? Better you than me, babe.

Pass the gin. I'm parched.

1:22 PM  
Blogger yamamama said...

Your work is absolutely beautiful! I'm completley blown away.

Jen S.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Beryl Moody said...

These are pretty sophisticated patterns. No wonder the gin and tonic didn't do the trick. Try a nice Bordeaux next time.

10:51 PM  
Blogger LauraJ said...

And you already know _how_ to card weave, I've seen pictures of your results....I can't tell if this makes me feel better or worse, card weaving really is HARD.

You are still a goddess.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Spindlers2 said...

Try sticking to the malt?
(Samples stil look good to me, anyway.)

9:01 AM  
Blogger Spinweave said...

Can you post your drawdown of that braid? I'd love to see it.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Kate; click on the highlighted word *braided* in the 5th paragrapoh above. It will take you to Gudrun's website, and the pattern. And thanks, all, for additional beverage suggesstions. Perhaps if I try them one at a time and report back? (Imagine the mangled cardweaving I could come up with then!)

12:48 PM  
Blogger Marcy said...

I second what Sylvia said about reassuring and what GW said about the malt. That'll fix you right up. Next: Celtic braids. :D

6:55 AM  

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