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Workshop buzz

Deb's woven beanieThis weekend saw the end of another fantastic workshop in the studio here at Old Bar. It’s always a bit lonely going back to my empty studio after such a flurry of creative energy…but then I have all that yarn to get weaving with!

Deb is the co-chair for the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. A distinctly and uniquely Australian invention which has that wildfire effect on everyone who encounters it. So, of course, she wove a beanie and it was stitched with the new Saori bias technique. Such a versatile and easy sewing technique for all sorts of clothing and beanies.  See mini workshop details for January.

We had a mix of very experienced weavers and brand new ones in the group. The perfect mix I think.  Gail has been to my studio many times and is particularly drawn to woven shibori work. This means working in white on white and judiciously placing specific colour adds throughout the piece that will work with the final dye process.  The additions were hand dyed mohair locks which won’t take the dye for the tencel which is a cellulose fibre. Playing with dyes in this way really brings out the flourish of what a weaver with dye ways can do with cloth creation.  The magnificent mohair locks were dyed in a mother-daughter dye session in Armidale.


As you can see here Gail’s shibori pattern threads became regular and tending towards a regular patterning. The shape of the shibori stitch thread isn’t important but the regularity of how the stitches were picked out is. This is the power of more shafts – regularity in selecting threads you want with the touch of a pedal.  You can still pick out random shapes but the work of selecting the stitches will be done ‘automatically’.

It’s helpful to know when to ramp up in looms. A four shaft loom with this particular style of woven shibori will assist the lifting of these threads, even if you pick out a random design. There’s a time to let the full history of weaving knowledge in and get or make a loom that does the basic work for you. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just the design we put on top of it.


Thank you to Gail, Dale, Pat, Sue and Deb for making such a great workshop in the studio.




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