Monday, 21 January 2008

Weaving plans for 2008

I'm at a decision point again. With my weaving so far, I pick a goal and then work towards it, then I slow up and have to think what I want to do next. So far, I have only woven samples. I've joked about this a bit, with kind friends, because I feel I'm not properly weaving yet and I'm a bit embarrassed when anyone asks what weaving I do. But I don't want to spoil good yarn weaving things I'm not happy with, and there are still several things I want to explore.

So, here where the road ahead seems to split two ways - I could weave some finished goods using what I have learnt, or I could carry on working on samples and getting to know different weave structures. I do badly want to produce something useful now, and I know I could weave a collection of towels or scarves - but I have decided to stick to the weave samples. Why? Largely because I find that I am building a stash of yarns, and the yarns I have amassed are not suitable for the things I think I might weave, and I don't want to buy more yarns at the moment. I have to manage my spending better for a few months, so it makes sense for now to carry on using the mercerised cottons that I bought for samples.

At the same time, I have a large pile of books on weaving that I intend to read! It would be a good idea to read them now - before I buy more books. I will just allow myself one more for now - Peggy Osterkamp's Winding a Warp. I started ringing around UK suppliers to find a copy this morning, but most of them seem to close on Mondays. I always want to start new projects on Mondays, so this is a little frustrating!

I have started to read properly through Madelyn van der Hooght's The Complete Book of Drafting. She gives clear instruction that this book is supposed to be read from start to finish, and not skipped through. I struggled with this yesterday. My eyes wanted to skip about the page. So I went back to the early school reading technique, got a piece of blank paper and covered up the page below the bit I was reading. Simple, but it does work.

The longer term plan is: read all through Madelyn's book and work on the design exercises.

I think there's a couple of weave structures I should look at in particular, overshot, which I didn't like at all when I first saw it and yet has grown in appeal since I realise there are many different ways to use it. I also want to do some crackle weave, partly so I can follow Peg's work with crackle better.

Then, I want to go onto a particular weave structure I've wanted to try since I got my loom - doubleweave. I have an ambition to weave a wool blanket in twill doubleweave (to get the extra width) from handspun yarn. I will have to work on my spinning too if I am to achieve this. I want to use a mix of natural wool colours and dyed yarns together. This is my big ambition - to get the spinning, dyeing and weaving to come together at last.

There, now I've put this down to publish on my blog, I'll have to try and stick with it. - sigh! - ignoring other temptations. But I have to have a bit of a plan if I'm going to make sense of what I'm doing - and eventually get that blanket woven.


Willington Weaver said...

Dorothy, there's nothing wrong with sampling and I would strongly advise you to sample when you know what you want to weave. It's very easy to think you have the perfect weave (in your head) only to find when you have bought the yarn, made the warp, threaded your loom and started to weave it actually looks gastly!

Believe me I've been there and got the t.shirt!

It's wonderful to have a library of woven samples in a variety of yarns and know that they work.

Keep sampling, you can always sell your designs!

Alison in South Derbyshire

Leigh said...

Wow, I think I could have written this post; you verbalize things that I think over and over to myself. I have done a few projects however, though often they are actually samples in disguise (because I'm never going to use 38 scarves, am I.) I've thought the same thing about Madelyn's book; i.e. to work my way through it. Something else usually comes up though; a workshop or guild project. I will have to try your trick with the blank paper as I have the same reading problem. Also, I agree about putting it all on one's blog. I find it's an excellent motivator!

Anonymous said...

A mystery has been solved!I have a spinning friend called Dorothy and I have been thanking her for her kind comments.She has kept denying all knowledge of them. I didn't take much notice as I thought that perhaps she was going a bit funny. She's emailed me to-day with another vehement denial and on further investigation I've discovered the existence of Dorothy 2 ! Happy to make your acquaintance and thank you !( I'm not anonymous-I'm Barbara)

Peg in South Carolina said...

No, Dorothy, writing it down is very very important, but it does not commit you to sticking to your plan. It does commit you to thinking very carefully about any changes of plan, however. And all of us would allow you to weave some towels out of inexpensive unmercerized cotton just to get it out of your system. Not, of course, that you need our permission.......(grin!). I'm delighted that you have a structure you want to explore. Have you considered focusing your next samplings on double weave? Perhaps it's time to focus on one thing for a while? I sense the possibility of an interesting discussion of different ways to go about learning?

Peg in South Carolina said...

Another comment (grin!). I wonder if you aren't getting to the point of needing to stop reading for awhile and just get on with weaving? Not unlike you, I tend to read and read and read and read before I engage in something. Working with crackle has been a very helpful corrective to that. There isn't that much to read (sob) and so I am left to my own devices----for me that is a very good thing.

callybooker said...

I wonder whether there are two distinct kinds of weavers - the samplers and the project-people? Mind you, I wouldn't have classified myself as a sampler until Bradford made me that way!

If you did want to break the trend (though there is no reason why you should), you could try gradually making the samples a little bigger until they morphed into mini-projects... pencil cases all round for your next batch of Christmas gifts, perhaps?

Back to my sampling now ;-)