Friday, July 08, 2005


I so enjoy weaving knotted pile. Textiles woven of knotted pile originate from every part of the Asia, the Middle East, Turkey, the Caucasus, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. It is unknown how old or widespread the technique is, as discoveries of extant ancient textiles are rare. The oldest known carpet fragments date from the fifth century BC, but they are examples of a well developed technique, fine work both in design and execution.

I learned this process 6 years ago, from a friend and fellow guild member. He had *retired* from weaving, but was gracious in teaching me, and kind enough to pass on his tools and looms.

It is a meditative activity (as I may have mentioned previously), and creates the most luxurious of fabrics, whether used for rugs, or otherwise, as I have in bags:


When I first took this up, some people looked at me cross-eyed, as if *why?* would I want to take up to such an anachronistic and slow technique. But I am a spinner, slow does not daunt me. There were also a few people, mostly those who looked at the product, who said they wanted to learn it too. So I do try to pass on what I know.

This Fall, the class is included in the workshops at SOAR. We will spin the silk for the pile, as in the bag above, and build our looms. The class filled. The waiting list filled. Working with the organizers at Interweave, we were able to find a bigger room, and I found a co-teacher to help, so we could expand the class size. Sarah Swett, a tapestry weaver and friend, has agreed to come and help me.

I can't tell you how grateful I am, first that people are interested in this technique, and second that Sarah, who is much nicer than I am, will be coming too. It is a treat for those who signed up, expecting only me, to have Sarah too. A full class generates energy, and can be a magical experience (small classes can be magical too, for their quiet grace. It is just not the same bubbling energy).

This class sometimes fills, sometimes does not. I am curious why, and will be asking when the class convenes. In May, before registrations were known, I told my friend Amy that I'd be surprised if the class was full. So I am surprised, curious and grateful, and so looking forward to this class, and another chance to meet with people who I feel are my community.

SOAR 2001 was scheduled to begin on September 16th, also that year in Utah. For a few days, it was uncertain if it would actually happen, who would make it, if teachers, supplies enroute, and students could manage to get there. Only two people canceled. We drove, because plane travel was uncertain. It was a relief and a release to be there, with people who traveled from all over the world, and joined in an activity some consider anachronistic and frivolous. But it was comforting, and signaled to me that we could and would go on.

It is nice once again, to contemplate this hopeful event, as a contrast to the opposite: the mindless stupidity of bombing innocent people. My condolences to the people of London, may you go safely about your lives again.


Blogger Sheila said...

Sara, when you spin the silk for your knotted pile, about how many wpi are you aiming for? And, do you use spun singles or do you ply and if so, how many plies? Thanks in advance! (Unfortunately I can't make the workshops before SOAR, although I will be there for the retreat)

2:31 PM  
Blogger Deanna said...

What lucky people to get to take a workshop with both Sara and Sarah. I am filled with envy.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Lola said...

Wish I could take this workshop. I've always wanted to learn how to make this kind of weaving. I love Oriental rugs but at this point it's simply out of my price range.

5:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home