A couple of days ago I finished a 10 yard run of towels and took them off of the loom, hemmed, washed and folded them all in one afternoon. This never happens, I have things I have yet to finish from last year.
When I near the end of one project I’m always moving on to the next and my excitement may get in the way of the finishing part. That’s my theory anyway. I’m in wedding present mode and asked one of my nieces if there was anything in particular I could make her that would be useful. She asked for a specific type of towel. I asked what colors and she said something to the effect of light shining through ferns. She is an amazing artist and thinking about projects for her pushes me creatively.
I found a modification of an old draft that I modified further and worked up half a warp yesterday hoping this came close to ferns. As I was winding it I decided to call it “A Walk in the Woods” because it had the colors I envisioned when I walk onto the fern lined path headed into the wood lot in the back forty.
Today I’ll finish winding the warp and possibly get it onto the loom.
Right now I’m in that creative manic mode that seems to really set in after a loss. When my mother died I made quilts and rag dolls – lots of them. I gave most of them away to my friends. Again, it’s the process, not the product. Weaving seems to be what’s on the agenda right now although I do have a knitting project going as well as needle felting, rug hooking and, oh yeah, the gardens.
This time around though there’s a different sort of feel – like time is getting short and there’s still so much I want to do. Maybe it’s that generational shift that comes when you lose your last parent. Maybe it’s the realization that if you’re lucky you have a quarter of your life left to go and who knows how productive all of it will be.
Most of the time I don’t really think about it but on those days when all I can think about is the project I’m planning and working on to the point of no sleep it does make me wonder. I think some of it is a distraction, maybe a defense to fight off the depression that could take over or the overwhelming sadness at moments. What’s the saying? “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. I just have to keep going, keep creating.
Last night’s weaving adventure was extended twill. The warp was 8/2 unmercerized cotton in a mint green. I chose to weave it with a dark green tencel and was really pleased with the result. I had been looking at these towels and different weavers choices in color and I have to say before I started weaving this I was not a fan. It is a really quick weave though and once I was into it I have to say that it’s one of my favorites so far. I probably say that every week about whatever I wove in class so take that for what it is. This one was a little different in the fact that the entire time I was weaving it I was thinking about different ways to change this up. I’m thinking of doing this with a striped warp and a dark weft, maybe towels but maybe a wool scarf. The possibilities are endless and having something that looks complicated be so easy helps to get those creative juices going.
We are coming to the end of our round robin and I am pretty sad about it. This has been a wonderful experience giving me (and I would say many others) the opportunity to weave out of our comfort zone. The results are beautiful. Only 2 more towels to do and then onto finishing. I had thought that these would make great Christmas presents but I’m not sure I will be ready to part with them by then. Maybe a they will go off for birthdays later.
One of the best aspects for me was photographing them as I went along. I now have the drafts along with the photograph of the finished product and in the long run that is all I really need.
In weaving class last night I decided on a Rosepath Point Twill. This was woven on a Leclerc counterbalance loom (my first experience). It is warped and woven in 8/2 unmercerized cotton.
The draft for this one was interesting because it gave me choices. It was drafted with 5 different weave structures and I had to decide how I wanted my towel to look. I decided to do a 4″ band of one design, a 12 pick band of plain weave and the body in another simpler design (which I modified even further to satisfy my symmetrical OCD). It was warped in a soft pink color and I chose a chocolate brown for the warp.
All in all I was pleased with the end result. We are coming to the end of this weaving adventure. Fabric is coming off of the looms now as people finish it up. As a sewer this takes on a different feel. I looked at the 8 yards of towelling that was taken off a loom yesterday, folded and looking like a bolt of beautiful fabric and couldn’t help but think I may have to weave something to make into clothing at some point. It is just too beautiful to use just for a dish towel.
The towel I wove this week is an undulating twill in 8/2 unmercerized cotton. This is done on a four shaft loom and weaves up pretty fast.
Another new experience for me was using tie-ups for the harnesses. I never have – I have a four harness loom with four peddles. I use both feet pretty much all of the time I’m weaving. I must confess that as I wove last night I felt like I was cheating somehow. It was so much easier. Hmmmm, makes me think about modifications to my loom. Actually, it makes me think I want yet another loom, smaller, 8 shafts, more possibilities.
This is a disease, truly.