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Green Mad

Green seems to be my thing at the moment. Colours come and go on the studio looms and a handpainted green warp is currently weaving along on one of them. I’m extending the clasped weft idea to build areas which are shaded differently.  I started doing an extended pattern in the clasped weft but after a metre some tension problems presented themselves. Not too much of an issue but it makes me stop and rethink where I’m going with the work and look at the way I’m trying to force some sort of organised patterning into it!   Not sure what the piece will be but  just trying to keep weaving.

My last green piece became a top. This is an easy top from the Saori Beginner Clothing Design book. Both the front and the back are simply a straight rectangular length folded over at the neckline and joined below the armhole and at the shoulders. The folding over produces an ‘action’ element which spreads to fit the body as required. Very comfy to wear.

The Saori Beginner Clothing Design book  now comes with an English translation which is very handy. Although the book is quite self explanatory with clear diagrams I always wondered what the ‘points’ were. Now I know! All customers who have purchased the book from me have received or are receiving a copy.

Suddenly greens are also appearing in my purple work too! This fulled fabric let the green linen do its puckered up thing and came up beautifully. Working with very different fibres in the one textile can create great surprises. Mostly welcome ones.

New Saori stock news

Just in stock is a very lovely green cotton set of 10 colours – Green Leaf Cotton, and also a spring flower cotton set. Still a couple of boxes of greens in wool for Winter left too. See Yarns.

A new limited number of white/cream cotton pre-wound warps and a magnificent magenta pure silk warp (tussah and spun silk)  are also added to the list of pre-wounds. More…

The extra large/long boat shuttles and the small boat shuttles are now also in stock with their corresponding plastic bobbins. Photos soon.

Other news is that I’m now writing for Craftsy.com. So a real reason to write more tutorials and weaving love.

The Lozenge technique

There are so many different techniques which can be used in ‘plain’ weave cloth which forms the basis of Saori weaving. Many woven tapestry techniques can be modified to build into cloth which is suitable for drape-able clothing. My biggest inspiration from the tapestry world is Coptic woven tapestry. They used eccentric weaving to create imagery and weren’t hampered or directed by the warp’s  invitation to weave at right angles or in the grid. They also used possible distortions within the cloth with the technique to add to its beauty.

This particular technique creates a lozenge shape in the weave. Fantastic for the ‘pop’ colour in cloth. Grab a length of yarn to start. In the illustration here I’ve started and completed my rough lozenge shape over several warps rather than just one. This is how I usually start and finish on a typical pre-wound warp using a sett of 5 dpc. (dents per centimetre) But it’s my personal preference only. You can grow the lozenge at the edges over as many warp threads are you think will look good. Beat down each row with a kitchen fork or tapestry beater. The lozenge will compress into its shape as you beat each row.

Inspiration for using lozenge shapes keep popping up everywhere once I start focusing on them. Here is the beach weaves and another in orange/reds.

When you complete the lozenge shape there will be a bit of a bump in the weave but as long as the lozenge isn’t too high you can just continue weaving from side to side in the usual way. If the bump is quite high – it’s an excuse for another adventure in weaving.

Community Banner Joy – Everyone Belongs

Photo: Courtesy Manning River Times

I cherish these past two days of weave joy. Meeting lots of people, touching a core of my community and hearing about different life experiences of the people who make up our town. We invited anyone who came into the Greater Taree City Library for the Harmony Day celebrations to contribute to a Saori woven banner themed with our unique environment. One banner represented Beach/Sky and the other Forest/Valley. It was popular and I think it added a colourful vitality to the space. A way to stop and chat with others.
As a venue, you can’t beat the library. It is a real community hub space which includes a cafe, free wi fi, lounging areas and a light friendly colourful feel. I was providing the banner weaving in conjunction with the Living Library event. Over several days we were able to “borrow” a person and ask them questions about their life. The Living ‘Books’ came from a range of cultural backgrounds and we were able to open that door to others which is often closed and not available to us. The event provided an open invitation to all and fits with the chosen theme of the event; “everyone belongs‘.

Two banners completed over 2 days of community weaving.

Both projects were a fantastic way to build conversations with others and I rather think it would be nice applied to other contexts where understanding can be challenging. Politics maybe! Well perhaps not…But even the most ‘ordinary’ of us have unique and interesting stories to tell to others about our experiences in life. Whether we use conversation or weaving cloth with our hands, it provides an excuse for us to connect in some way.

Special thanks to the Migrant Settlement Project and Greater Taree City Library. Thank you Jane, Anke and Danielle for your support and friendship over the two days.  The banners will be presented to both organisations next week!

Media:

Manning River Times – Weaving project underway

Prime 7 News: 19 March 2014

 

Melbourne adventures

Melbourne is a long way from Old Bar.

Well it doesn’t seem far when you get on a plane but it is!  Planes make you have a false sense of geography and appreciation of what country is. A full 24 hours in the round trip through our great country was a lovely adventure. This image is just north of Cooma. We saw a lot of wide open land with almost yellow grasses, blue leaved gums and camouflaged sheep. There are lots of sheep in Australia just waiting to be woven into a wearable! Some of the country I most enjoyed was just south of Yass in NSW and around the Beechworth area in Victoria.

Everywhere we google population stats and see how towns rise and fall  in prosperity and population, sometimes where the land is spectacular and inviting. Like Beechworth with its gold rush population now under 4,000 people. But less population doesn’t add up to unhappiness…I suspect many city dwellers would love a few less cars in the gridlock traffic. Less can mean more as it does for many of us in country towns. More freedom, more weaving, dare I say – more happiness?

The two day Saori workshop was great and I hope all the participants grabbed more than a touch of the improvisational ways of Saori. A great group of ten from a very wide range of experiences led to very different and distinctive approaches to weaving cloth. Expert spinners from both art yarn and traditional backgrounds mixed with experienced beyond two shaft weavers and brand new weavers, one who even swore she would NEVER weave. This mixed with a wide range of life experiences and professions make the groups people mix a truly egalitarian, thus Australian one. Well it does in my little world even if this idea is purported to now be a total myth. Read more

Benevolent weaving

Another fantastic workshop with a corporate group, now named the Benevolent (Society) Weavers. Every member of the group was brand new to weaving and you can see their diversity of styles and approaches straight up.  The other amazing thing was the amount of yardage they wove in only a few hours. Not that it’s a race or even important to weave quickly but in a short time they each had enough to make a cowl, wrap scarf or mini quesquimitl.

A lovely way to finish a week of working at the office and get to know your colleagues in another way. A big thank you to Fiona, Maureen, Jane, Wendy and Alison for making my weekend!

Design your Clothes with a Pattern Start?

I’m finding that some weavers are struggling with clothing design for their new cloth. The Saori pattern books are great with the Saori Beginner Clothing Design book best for beginner sewers and the others for those who know their way around stitching more. However the cloth is sometimes best when it is draped directly on the body. Some people use a dress form and these are great for shaping up and holding some pieces to your size but nothing beats the flow of the body itself.

I’ve been working on an easier method to get you started in designing which is a combination of pattern instruction and draping. Working with a series of Pattern Starts you can jump off from a half way point to create your own way of styling. You can then stitch up the start with confidence that you are jumping off with some sort of structure.

This start will allow you to try something on… then arrange…then pin into a garment. The one illustrated here was ‘composed’ into the garment shown. The hole became one of the armholes and the garment was joined at one side below the other armhole.  You could make the edges uneven or different shapes, leave fringes or add other pieces of cloth somewhere. Could the hole be a neckline or go around the waist somehow? Just remember that you have to get out of the garment and you can use press studs as a way of opening and closing it where needed.  It’s much easier to work this way if you have a start. Basically it’s a case of building a starting unit rather than working with the cloth as it is.
Read more

Memories and pre-wounds

Holding the pre-wound warp at the front of the loom whilst beaming.

I recently had a great day involved in the repair of a very special local community loom .

Years ago as a young newly enthralled weaver, we used to holiday at Forster beach. The very special north facing and beautiful main beach had a craft centre right on the water. It was filled with all manner of crafts but had a large floor loom and table loom with work in progress. Every holiday I would go and spend ages just looking at the looms although no-one seemed to be working them! So you can image the joy when asked to repair and bring back to life the same loom at the albeit now not-so-scenic re-located Forster Arts and Craft centre.

The whole loom had steel components that were rusting in the coastal air. The loom hadn’t really been touched or maintained for over 16 years. The string heddles fell apart when we touched them and the rusted components needed to be replaced. I should say that sometimes older looms aren’t worth repairing if they are missing parts or too badly damaged but this one was worth just replacing the all cords on the  lamms and heddles with Texslov. The loom has a lovely, easy treadling and is a good one for group use. I hope it now gets the WeaveLOVE it needs to thrive and create. It is so nice when I can touch my weaving past in such a way.

Tie the warp to the back rod. Here it is pre-sleyed in the reed and I’m using it like a raddle.

To set up the loom for use I wound a 12 metre Saori black cotton pre-wound warp onto the loom. I would probably still be there winding and beaming if I had to prepare a warp as well as repair it so the pre-wound warp was a fantastic time and energy saver. Many of my customers ask about using the pre-wounds on non-Saori looms but it depends on what type of loom it is and what experience you have.  The pre-wound warps do not have a cross as such but have the threads ordered with some tape so you can take each one in its turn to thread etc. I have a customer who buys the thirty metre long 60cm wide wool warps to put on her loom as there are very few places you can buy weaving warp yarns in Australia and she gets an ‘impossible to wind yourself‘ thirty metres to weave off. Read more

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