Monday, March 07, 2005

Quilt Blocks

pile quilt block

OK, so it's not a typical quilt block. It's knotted pile, not fabric (well, it *is* fabric, but not that kind). Anyway, herewith my first knotted pile quilt block design. This bag back is approximately 5" x 8".

I used handspun wool for the knots, Lincoln to be exact, on a sample loom I already had warped. It was quick and fun, I like it. This type of weaving is simple and can be a very meditative process. Sometimes I sit down to work, and look up hours later, having lost all track of time. Such are many of my days.

This is much like quilting in another way: quilters take perfectly good pieces of cloth, cut them up into little bits, and sew them back together again. I have taken perfectly fine skeins of yarn, cut them up into little bits, and knotted them back together again. But it's all in the pattern of knotting, or sewing back together, if you will. We all have our little obsessions, eh?

Charleen asked why I don't make bigger bags. Well I have, some, but there are problems. First: the bag itself becomes heavy. Knotted pile tends to be a weighty fabric, and not conducive to carrying around. So if a bag is to be a container, bigger is fine. But as a carry bag, not so good. I did try it once:

pile goddess bag

I carried this bag for about a year, which was about enough time to make another, smaller bag, to replace it.

Also, the width of the bag sets up a range of practical lengths: if a narrow bag is too deep, it becomes impractical to reach into it. Long narrow bags are fine for storing long narrow things, but not really as useful to carry about.

There is an eminently practical aspect of knotted pile that appeals to my thrifty Scots heritage: the knots use only small amounts of yarn. Therefore virtually *no* amount is wasted. The Big Bag, for example, is all knotted from leftover knitting yarns, and weaving thrums. I can point to various parts and tell you where the yarn came from, again, much like quilters, who might make quilts out of their scrap bag. The design for the Big Bag above came from this book, which I recommend as a great source of inspiration and information.


Blogger Charleen said...

Sara, your quilt block is so beautiful! I never thought about the similarities between knotting and piecing before.

5:44 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

When combined with orange (at least on my monitor), blue is almost lovely.

7:02 PM  
Blogger LauraJ said...

Nice goddess on the larger one! I want antlers.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

Wow! Looks great.

6:13 AM  

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