Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunshine in Unexpected Places

We packed umbrellas. We packed boots. We packed jackets.

We have not needed them:
Stirling castle
Stirling Castle

Glasgow Stirling 020
The Wallace Monument (off in the distance), from Stirling Castle walls, under sunny skies.

We did see tapestries:
Glasgow Stirling Unicorn1
These are two of the reproductions being woven at West Dean and at Stirling itself, although we did not see weaving: the recently finished tapestry was on display in the workshop (no photos allowed), and these 4 (2 here) were on display in the Queen's Chambers in the Castle itself.

Lots to see and do yet, and miles to go before I see this one again:

marin cuteness
My favorite bit of sunshine.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New! ... Almost

Can I say the clothing is new if the fabrics were woven a year, and two years ago?

silk shirt vest

The fabric had to age, mellow, ripen. That's it. Sewing is my least favorite of all the skills necessary to accomplish new clothing. Spinning? Love it. Dyeing? Yay! Weaving? Fun! I even like the washing and ironing part of finishing the fabrics.

Sewing? Not so much. Forced by circumstances (need new clothing), I have sewn. I prefer to speak of sewing in the past tense.

But these are done! Now I can wear them for the next 10 or so years, like the rest of my handwovens, until I fell compelled to sew again.

Also not quite new:
marin and grandma
Someone is eleven months old! Where does the time go????

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Weaving that is Like Knitting

There are many ways I could describe the weaving that I do, but I am often talking to knitters, so I try to relate the similarities of this weaving:

with knitting. There are the visual similarities, like the section of soumak:

which has a surface appearance like stockinette: thee little v's of opposing rows. Soumak can be pictorial too, like intarsia:
soumak design2

soumak cat

But more than the visual, finger-manipulated weaving like soumak, knotted pile, pickup band weaving, and cardweaving has a similarity with knitting in that it is tactile, contemplative (once the process gets going), takes time, as in a few weeks or months to complete a project, not hours as in fabric weaving, and is less equipment-dependent than fabric weaving.

I had the experience once again, as I am sure many of us have, of a seatmate on a recent flight watching me knit for a few minutes and then commenting that she "did not have the patience for that". Now, I know my knitting style is a bit tortured (!), but really it's not something that requires patience. It is something that requires introversion, as in I am focusing on that which is right in front of me, not the bigger world swirling around (in fact, the ability to focus small and tune out the madding crowd may just be how I survive travel at all).

This weaving is similar. Focused, tactile, small, allowing for contemplation or listening to a book or music while I work. It just may be the slowest of weaving, and it also has some advantages in design: it is one of the few forms of weaving where the graphic image is very freeform, and allows for curves and color changes in a pointillist manner:

But aside from all of that: I love the process, I love doing it. Doing something you love does not require patience. Like the hours watching a child play:
marin swings

Does Not Require Patience.
Just Love.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Everything Old...

is new again.

This silk shawl:
altar cloth3

is now this silk shawl:

shawl overdye

The shawl is about 7 years old, and I might have used it a total of 5 times. It's just so cheerful! bright! and eye-popping in the original colors. The colors suited a purpose at the time, but the new colors are more wearable. Happy happy joy joy that I do not have to weave a new shawl, to get a new shawl :)!

It was an interesting overdye: I used violet, and when I checked the dyebath at about the halfway point, the water was magenta.....was some of the old dye bleeding? Did the new dye color break down into components and the blue strike first?

After the full dye session and cool down, the water was still red. I now think the discoloration must have been the yarn used for the weft: the colors of the shawl are as expected, but the weft where it peaks through is a little brighter.....perhaps it lost a color component. I think the weft is 5/2 cotton, but in order to be sure I'd have to read through my weaving notes on this (2004!), and frankly, not going to happen right now, too busy, a little overwhelmed, in fact.

Why am I so rushed? Have many things to get done before I go visit this happy clean girl: