Sunday, July 26, 2015

What's Necessary

So, here is what I'm aiming for - a rendition of snails trails and cats paws, but done in twill blocks rather than the more usually seen overshot.  I keep returning to this design for several reasons - I like the undulation of the 'trails', I like the quality of cloth and I like the very graphic feel of the design.

Unfortunately I only recently discovered that the two large (kilo?) cones of singles linen left are not singles 12, which is what I had been using to weave this previously, but singles 24.  About half the thickness of 12.  So out came my trusty doubling stand and I very carefully wound bobbins and filled the humidors this morning.  The bobbins really do behave better if they are allowed to 'steep' in the humidor for at least 24, preferably 48, hours.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been thinking a lot about nuances and doing what is 'necessary'.  'Necessary' will change from warp to warp, from project to project, from loom to loom.  'Necessary' sometimes means using a technique, process or equipment which is 'slower' than my usual.  I do it because it is 'necessary' in order to achieve the results I desire.  If it isn't 'necessary' I don't do it.  Simple as that.

However, learning when something is 'necessary' comes from experience.  Someone can tell me something but quite often I will try it myself in order to determine if it is truly 'necessary' or not.  (Like floating selvedges.  I can't tell you the number of times I have been sincerely assured that it is impossible to get good selvedges without them.)

I once offered to mentor a young weaver who I felt had promise and the desire to make a good weaver.  She looked me in the eye and assured me quite confidently that she was intelligent enough to figure it out on her own.  Which she probably was, but learning the nuances from me would have meant she got good results much faster without having to make all the mistakes I've made, taken all the bad decisions I have, woven all the samples I've woven.

One of the things I love and no doubt will miss, is the interaction between me and a student.  I love seeing the light go on in their eye and the excitement generated when they 'get' a concept.  I love how they sling shot into areas I might not consider because then I learn stuff too.  One of the down sides of restricting my traveling to teach.  So I am, once again, seriously contemplating...a book.  If I can distill my experiences, my knowledge onto the page, perhaps others who are willing to learn from me can, even if I can't get to them in person.  I have no children (not that having children is any guarantee one of them will want to learn what their parents know), so I kind of consider the weaving community my family.  I really would like my knowledge to continue, in some fashion, after I have entered the big Weaving Studio In The Sky.

Currently reading The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin


steelwool said...

Looking forward to your book. Got the videos, have been reading the blog and I am learning about weaving. Have had many "suggestions" from many weavers who have forgotten what it was like starting out. While I don't need the beginner books, I don't need designing on 8 shafts, or some of the more difficult "old classics". I did have a wonderful teacher who used old crosswords. she explained how each st was up or down and had us plot crosswords. Vowels up, consonants down or figure out your own code, then she would ask, would it work , and why. I miss Jan and her wisdom. Your common sense approach resonates with me. so sorry I did not find your blog earlier. (I have been reading the archives. It helps.) Thanks for all your work blogging. It is appreciated.

Rachelle said...

I'd love to see a book from you, I'm a relatively new weaver and am tackling new things each time I weave. At the moment it's brushed mohair, currently winding my warp onto the warping board and I can already see there will be some challenges, even with using a second cross. At the same time my son is now starting to weave (he's 12) and I've just bought him a bunch of yarn to start his own stash. At this point he's using a rigid heddle and using DK yarn; he does have access to a table loom as well though, even if it does really need some replacement parts to work at its best.

EllenF said...

I also enjoy reading your blog and hope you do begin a book. I have been weaving for seven years and like you I have made lots of mistakes but I see them as part of the process. You are teaching us through your blog: a life of a weaver woven with intention. Best wishes to you for health and continued creativity.

terri said...

Since it's unlikely that I'll get a chance to take a class from you in person, I'd love to see a book from you!

Kathy said...

I look forward to seeing a book from you!
I have found that students follow one tenet my father used to say, repeatedly.
"Experience is non-transferable." -John Newman

While we strive to teach shortcuts to students, which seem so darned logical to us, sometimes it's good to remind ourselves that there are those persons who do need to roll the ball uphill before they learn something else. When you feel frustrated at students who continue on as well as stubble through techniques that you have many answers for, repeat above mantra as you bang your head against the wall.
As it really is true.

Kelli Page said...

I use your DVD and you are my Weaving Guide by my Side! Do publish a book. Thank you for writing the blog and sharing your experiences!