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!

10 Comments:

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 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 gw 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.
Kate

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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