There seems to be no end in sight to weaving and making clothes at the moment. This one was made with my 85cm w i d e width cloth. I still prefer the dynamic feel of narrower textiles but the up side is a very short sewing timeframe because there is far less stitching. This skirt is very easy to make.
This is the result of my first cloth on the WX90. It’s a mix of cotton, organic cotton and silk then cram dyed to give a stronger effect. The pattern is number 30, p56 in the Shitate no Hon clothing book. This book really has a lot of great ideas in it.
It has elastic around the waist because of the limited shaping for the waist. I used fold over elastic which is perfect for this type of design. It is exposed but saves sewing a pocket for the elastic.
The measurements are small so I would recommend taking your own measurements and applying them to the design to check that it will fit or use an old sheet or calico to make a quick mock up toile. I also made longer slits in the central front underskirt panel to get more movement. Otherwise it’s a very flexible style and very comfy skirt to wear. Imagine using an entirely different weave fabric for the central underskirt panel! I used the weftwise grain rather than with the warp down the body as with a conventional garment cut. I know this can affect the drape on the body but it is fine in this cloth.
The button closure is decorative only. So you could go mad with it or just go conservative like I did! Basically the skirt piece wraps from the front around the back then to the front again to form the crossover closure style at the front. Another panel creates the underskirt which is stitched at the front only.
Onto the next design…
Mine’s the longest
It’s all in a days work. I’m gradually getting pics together of my many recent workshops. This one was a delightful local family group connecting creatively for a full day’s weaving over a 50th birthday celebration. In the morning as they began weaving in the studio I mentioned that they just might get a short scarf woven if they were exceptional. Well I didn’t put it that way. But they really were beyond exceptional…after all it’s a race to see who weaves the longest piece. Over two metres for each weaver as you can see here and a decent length wrap scarf for all of them. All so different from each other in colour and use of texture. Pretty amazing I reckon.
Each of the pieces were very different, which although very common in our workshops, it is always surprising as I show everyone the same thing but they do it all in different ways. Such is the way with these looms and the approach we take.
Another thing that impresses me about visitors to the studio is their inherent and almost subconscious ability to create an alive feeling in the cloth. A special thanks to the Wallace family for an inspiring day!
This is something that I’m not so good with. Any decision is a difficulty and when you get a heap thrown at you when you are sewing a garment from your handwoven cloth it’s not easy. With the six metres of green wool and silk that I wove last winter it suddenly came to me what I should make. I used the number 3 vest design in the Fuku no Katachi ni Suru book but modified it because I made it longer, just because I could with all that fabric. But then I needed more fabric at the front so also added wedge shaped pieces for better coverage. When I’m underway sewing these garments, I soon leave the security of a pattern then trip into something more like a sculpture to fit the body. Adding, cutting, reworking. It can be a feeling of desperation or liberation! Read more
The cloth palette
The warping process is a beautiful one! I know some don’t agree with this but it can be very meditative and affirming in a slightly bizarre way. The way the yarns follow each other in a precise path around the warping board pegs, ordered by a cross and creating a design of the imagination but in the process of becoming a physical cloth. The Saori way of purposely using a random selection of yarns keeps our mind attentive to colour and texture too. The absolute order and rhythm of warping creates, I think, a right mind for the weaving ahead. A mind of order and peace. The warping isn’t a free form thing as far as getting those yarns onto the loom in an ordered and even tension for weaving. The Saori set up is more forgiving than others on the loom but you have to have the yarns ordered and thread and sley the loom correctly. There are a few ways to warp up the Saori looms. Read more
Last month I had the pleasure of being with Saori weavers at Morisset Spinners and Weavers in NSW. A few of the weavers had already ‘caught’ my Saori addiction and the cloth discoveries were so interesting. Two full days of weaving and getting to know each other eventuated in metres of expressive cloth destined for clothing, wall, warmth and just plain ‘looking at joy’.
Here you can see Carolyn weaving away. Loads of shuttles and bobbins awaiting their turn through the warp. I wonder what makes us pick up one colour or texture in preference to another??
The Morisset weavers are a growing and particularly keen group of weavers. They seemed to lap up everything and their interests in different types of weaving are diverse.
Morisset weavers have a dedicated storeroom and a space to meet and learn weaving and spinning. Many small places in Australia have these and I’m always heartened that handweaving opportunties survive in pockets everywhere. We’re all thirsty for hands-on craft skill learning and doing it in happy, supportive and conflict free social gatherings. Morisset is managing this well. The historical basis for these groups is the guilds system from England and although this has greatly changed in that the guilds aren’t like unions or political like in previous times, it’s spirit of teaching and passing on skills remains. This history is a very significant one and perhaps one that we don’t promote enough. Read more
The internet and social media is full of advice and opinion on what to do, what not to do and if you are doing it – you’re probably not doing it right. The news is overwhelmingly full of opinion and solutions based on narrow personal observations. So how could I possibly qualify to answer “should you weave everyday?”
I also have a personal world with personal observations that I could inflict on you all. But I can see how variable and different people are in their approach to everything. I think you do something everyday because you want to (or you have to). You’re drawn to it and it gives you a ‘spark’. Some people are more goal centred and disciplined in their approach to weaving, and others like to dabble and slowly meld into the world of creating textiles. It works all ways. Weaving isn’t a chore (at least for most of us)…its a time away from other things to enjoy and savour. If this isn’t how it feels, a break or looking to doing something different on the loom may re-ignite your resolve.
I had a few warpers in the studio of late. This step in weaving gets you designing your own fabric from the beginning and can be a mesmerizing and relaxing process. Certainly a rewarding one. Especially if you are warping for a saori style cloth.
I’ve also had some weavers in the studio as groups or couples, enjoying a few hours or a day away from the usual. Sometimes doubling up as a celebration. What better way to spend some time with people than enjoying colour and entwining. I think it’s better than Scrabble because you get to take a cloth home. Groups can spark and trigger your own ideas so weaving with others is relaxing and rewarding.
Some regular studio weavers bounce in with ideas to try. Our wavy weaving is a big hit, although I might be passing my bias onto others! Why weave straight lines when you can do wavy ones.
Maybe you would like a ‘kicker’ to weave with. This has to be something connected with our senses. For example a piece of music can make a basis for a woven cloth. Music has dynamics, tone and colour. It’s a feeling created in you and felt with our hearing. This approach isn’t for everyone, and natural images are probably the most often used for inspiration. Another one is our sense of taste. Can we create a beetroot cloth?? One cloth I’m not going to make is a green bean one as I don’t like the taste…but then that might make the best cloth of all.
Should you weave everyday? Maybe. Some days I just daydream about it, and that’s nice too.
It’s little people time again.
Little people aren’t worried about how they are weaving or even what they are doing at first. Just using a beater to create a cardboard stiff structure of cloth is fun. Here my one year old granddaughter can’t reach the weaving pedals on the smallest setting of the Saori Piccolo but she can get up into the seat and have a go at something. I so wish I had these looms when my daughters were little. They might have even grown up to be interested in weaving.
When my daughters were young we did frame loom weaving and lots of inkle loom weaving but a floor loom with dimensions suited to a small growing body weren’t around. I find a 4 or 5 year old can weave independently on these and by the time they are 7 years they are really knowing what to do and choosing design and colours. Sometimes attention span is short but that’s ok too. Here is my niece weaving in 2008.
By 11 to 15 years they are capable of just about everything, although more application or interest will be needed for learning drafts and structure. But colour and fun is always there.