There are lots of pictures to show you, so this post and those that follow will be piccie rich, talky poor.
As the exhibition is close to home, of course it was a must visit. Those involved in producing the work should be very proud of the skill used to create their pieces. Those who put this exhibition together have produced an amazing visual treat. Well done to all involved. I know some couldn’t get there - this is for them and as a record of what it is possible to achieve in our field.
Lastly, I really couldn’t take a photie of every last piece, but what you see here is more than just the highlights. And be aware, my photos weren’t taken with a “proper” camera taking lots of time over each, so sorry for the quality. Plus (alert - tradesman making excuses for his poor tools) the way the photos come out here is very hard to curate!!
Without further ado, enjoy.
Now then, how cool is this. I’m blogging again so soon!
Now I have gratuitously congratulated myself, let’s get down to business.
Christmas was THE most relaxed and wonderful Christmas for many a year. It was delicious. So, I was able to invest lots of time in spinning (which added to the deliciousness). So I thought I would share those yarns and how they were made.
Firstly, I really wanted to make a good (if I do say so myself) bead yarn. Bead yarn is not for the faint hearted, as there are various processes to make it. So, I decided to cut one part out, by using a cotton yarn to ply with, so I didn’t have to make a 2 ply yarn (cheating, but....). Then I made an overtwisted thick and thin from the commercially prepared fleece. Overtwisted because once the two yarns are plied together to make beads, you reverse spin the same area a lot, so you don’t want it to come apart.
This is the result.
The next yarn was the same fleece, but spun as a single, with a little overtwist so that I could full it once finished, to make a stable and substantial single. Because of the wonderful colours in the blend I used, I didn’t want to ply and lose all that loveliness in it becoming muddy.
Next, I used a merino and silk blend, and this time, did make an overtwisted 2 ply yarn. Overtwisted because the next step was a thick and thin that I just wanted to ply with, but again, there is a chance of the yarn coming apart if you are not careful, so overtwisted is best. So, rather than make beads, this time I just plied the thick and thin with the 2 ply. It could be argued that a single, rather than 2 ply would have worked, but 2 ply, although extra work, does give a more stable yarn to ply with.
As it is almost impossible to not have a little bit of single left when making a 2 ply, I decided to make another new art yarn from the leftover. Often, I will Navajo ply the remainder, continuing on the same bobbin from the 2 ply. But, I end up with bits are that a bit useless. I plied the leftover blue with a gold thread and dark blue lurex thread. The lurex was allowed to do what it wanted as I sat spinning. Interestingly, it was fairly even! The gold and blue were alternately plied back on themselves to create small beady areas. Because of the gold thread, it is quite a harsh yarn, so will need to be used thoughtfully and not next to the skin, but it is very pretty (blimey, blowing trumpet again, this just won’t do!)
Finally, I spun 200g of white merino, which I won’t add a piccie of - tad boring. However, it won’t be when it is dyed later on. Natural dyes will be used and I can’t wait to get back to it when the weather improves. Not for the dyeing as such, but the drying thereafter.
So there, a productive time and lush. Life doesn’t get better than this!
Love and light.xx
Well, I've gone and done it. A saori loom has entered the house!
As I mentioned, I fell out of love with weaving. Mainly because all the looms I have had bar one have been a pain, in one way or another. Now you may say a bad workman blames his tools, but I think one size does not fit all. I got fed of making warps; I got fed up of expensive looms not performing and as a result I no longer enjoyed what I was doing. I sold my octado and eventually kept just Ken (see previous post) and one rigid heddle. Now - I do love floor looms, if I am going to weave at all. The rigid heddle loom is great, but has limitations and Ken - well he has needs that was part of the boring bit of weaving. So, a search later and enter the world of Saori. Firstly, let me introduce you to Jennifer:
Basically she is a 2 shaft floor loom. Her maximum weaving width is 60cm and get this - you can buy ready made warps up to 30m long!!
Now I do intend to make my own some time as well, but to be able to getvones already made is perfect. They are available in black, white, cotton, wool and colour combinations. The one you see on the loom, is the original 6m warp, which not only came with the loom, but was already threaded through the shafts and reed! My idea of heaven. I have purchased 2 other ready made warps, one black wool (this one is cotton, but I am a wool girl) and raspberry something or other - basically 6m of raspberry coloured different warps. Lish!
I've had it a week, and nearly finished the first 6 m warp - mostly because it is 38 degree heat outside, and quite frankly there is very little you can do!
With this warp I have been playing. The philosophy with Saori is that there is no such thing as a mistake, only a design creative. Mmmm - I'm liking this, although it is hard to think like this when all your weaving life has been aimed at creating perfection. But Misao Jo, the Japanese lady who created this form of weaving over 40 years ago, wanted weaving to be an art form made using creativity that a machine would be unable to do. You are not taught saori weaving, only the basics of how to do it, then use your own creativity to make cloth.
It is so simple, with a wonderful big shed and lots of lovely little details that show how well thought out the loom is. I am in love! You can get a 4 shaft version, and I may invest in updating Jennifer at some time, but for now, she is perfect just the way she is, and I am happy making cloth again!! And , I have a couple of books on creating clothes with simple designs. This could be where the wheels come off, because I may look awful in them, but for now this is a great deal of fun.
So, weaving is back on the agenda and I'm loving it. I will keep you posted on cloth made, garments made and more adventures in weaving. This doesn't mean spinning has stopped. Far from it. I am beavering away during the evenings making white yarn for dyeing, because next on the creative path is an indigo dye vat. All ingredients are in the house I just need to get on with it. The loom has kind of taken all my spare time after working in the permaculture garden and renovating the house. But I can't wait to do indigo, and as the natural dye garden is starting to develop, I really do need to get back to some dyeing as well. Now where did I put those extra hours in the day I ordered............
Now I know this is The Spinning Shed, and I know that we are nuts for all things fluff, but I used to be a weaving nut, and also adored all things yarn. I lost the weaving bug a couple of years ago. I had a George Wood 16 shaft dobby loom, that lifted shafts I didn't ask it too, and created faults in my work that drove me mad. I had a Louet Jane 8 shaft table loom that was slower than I would have liked using my hands instead of feet, so then invested (and I use that word correctly) in an 8 shaft Louet dobby, brand new. It was smaller but just as big a weaving width and had a raddle included in the top shelf. Ahhhhh, I could breathe out as I had found, finally, THE loom. Except it wasn't the loom. It had strings holding it together, performing major tasks, that required really huge amounts of effort to get them working correctly. I also didn't like the friction brake on the back beam - my god that thing could slip!! Now I know at this point that I will have already upset some people. Louet are great looms, but they weren't for me. I then had a 10 shaft Glimakra that was so big, it never got made up properly. Blimey! There are two looms that I have loved. I borrowed my weaving teachers George Wood 4 shaft, which was an amazing loom, but huge and she also gave me "Ken". This is the other floor loom that I still own and has now been put up in the spare room upstairs. He isn't fully sorted and functioning yet, but I know this will not take me long when I am ready to sort him out. Ken is a simple 4 shaft floor loom, fairly small footprint, counter balance. He works hard, can do everything I currently want and more and I hope will be used in the not too distant future. I have unpacked the enormous number of boxes of yarn into shelving, and feel really bad that it has been packaged for the last 3 years!!
Here he is in the flesh. This is not in his current situ, as he is not put together, and I think the bottom is wrong here (I will have to see when he is up and running, but it looks wrong), but he is, nevertheless, something to fall in love with. My twill thrills weaving book is back in business!!!
Love and light.