My weaving life has taken on new heart and I am bursting with creative energy. The reason is simple. I spent last week end at a weaving workshop. It was held at the studio of a wonderful 80 year old member of my Guild. She offers workshops and tuition to Guild members in her studio attached to a lovely cottage in a village next to Jane Austins house!!! There were just 6 of us and Mary encourages each student to explore whatever thay want. She has a selection of looms and shelves of yarn. As I have taught myself using books I thought I should prepare a warp and get it on a loom under Mary’s beady eye. I also wanted to get away from patterns and tie-ups and think more about texture and mixed warps. I used one of Mary’s Harris table looms which I have been able to borrow to finish what I was doing. One of the most important practical things I learnt was that I am beating too hard as Mary quietly said, “Its not a rug!”
I also learnt so much from watching the others. I think it opened my eyes to a freer approach and how to liberate myself from books of patterns. I have been working the wrong way round. Selecting patterns and then wondering how to use them. I am learning to imagine the fabric I want to weave and then start to work out how to interpret the idea. I realise this must be obvious to many of you out there, but I have been dazzled by the intricacies of Summer and Winter, Overshot and the whole caboodle. I actually love simple fabric, especially Scandinavian design and light colours, creams and white and texture rather than surface pattern.
This table loom worked rather well though I found the metal heddles noisy. It made me realise how uneven my string heddles are. I ended up with a rather organic looking mixed warp which reminded me of wet rocks and moss which wasn’t intended, but as it was an exercise in warping and mixing colour and texture I can live with it!!
The next bit of inspirational help was my birthday. My other half surprised me by suggesting we drove to Fibrecrafts near Guildford so that I could buy whatever weaverly things I wanted, and we could combine it with a nature reseve and some birdwatching and a birthday lunch!! Fantastic. I wrote a list of requirements, rather modest but things I really needed. A new shuttle, a drop spindle, linen loom cord (very expensive and most utilitarian) a threading hook for my spinning wheel and a wonderful book, “Mastering Weave Structure” by Sharon Alderman.
I can recommend this book 100% and more. It follows my perceived need to imagine the fabric and then work out how to create it. The photographs are yummy and make me want to start experimenting. The weekend workshop also made me realise the importance of having a small table loom to sample on whilst weaving seriously on the Bergman.
The drop spindle is giving me a frustrating time as at the moment I can’t do it, but I will practice. I was thinking that I could spin on holiday but I wouldn’t want anyone to see me at the moment as the spindle continues to part company with the yarn and go rolling around the floor. I am confident that I will master it eventually though!
As it was my birthday I grabbed a copy of Vav as well. I hadn’t seen inside a copy before and found the projects delightful and inspiring. I don’t think I can afford to subscribe annually so I will have to build ideas from what I have.
We are going on holiday at the beginning of next week to the Netherlands with our camper ( its a Roadtrek from Canada). Derry will be looking for birds and that will take us to the Texelislands and northern part of the country. I enjoy birding but actually just enjoy being out and about in new places. We are taking bikes, Holland is so beautifully flat and for a hater of anything remotely like a slope well within my abilities!! We are hoping the tulips will still be in bloom as well, so I am unable to start any weaving projects for a week or two. Hopefully I will return bursting with ideas and the confidence to make them a reality.