Saturday, April 30, 2016

Process Path

A while back I offered to make cloth for 'sister' wraps for a couple of young women I know.  Katie sent me a photo when I asked what colours they liked and Carol pretty much said - what Katie said.

This photo was taken by Katie near Telkwa, BC and I was given free rein to design something inspired by it.

First things first.  Baby wrap cloth.  Right now I know most hand woven wraps are being woven of 2/8 cotton so I looked at the Brassard colour card.  Their cotton comes in about 80 different hues/shades so I just looked through what they had and ordered a bunch of yarns in the various greens plus some blues, a dark brown and a russet and a few purples for the fireweed in the grass.

I also ordered some greys/blues based on the colours in the sky.

When the yarn arrived I had already number crunched, working out width, length, epi.  At first I intended to weave in plain weave as many of the wraps are done, but after some mulling decided that a very simple twill would help the cloth drape.  I had also decided to use 2/16 cotton for weft instead of 2/8 in order to make a lighter, thinner cloth, because both wanted the 4.6 meter length and I felt that using 2/8 for both warp and weft was going to make a too heavy/thick cloth to wrap well.

Fortunately I had some options for weft in the studio already.

The bag was unpacked and the yarn intended for the wraps laid out on my work table where I would see it every time I went into the studio.  I find that a colour combination - especially not one of my own choosing (so to speak) - gels better if I can let it seep into my brain subliminally, catching the grouping in the corner of my eye while thinking about something else.  If there is something visually jarring it helps me to let it simmer on the back burner for a few days.

Over the course of the week I worked on other stuff and I kept going back to the table, grouping the threads in different ways, in different combinations, adding some more colours from my stash.  And I just could not make those light value blue/greys work.  Finally I grabbed the whole lot and removed them from the table.

Although there wasn't a lot of blue in the photo, I chose to use a dark blue/emerald green (mostly) stripe combination on one side, then gradually move through the colours winding up with the muted greens and purples on the other.

My loom has a one inch sectional, so it's fairly easy to gradually change out one or two ends for different colours making a gradual change.

Here the mostly dark blue/emerald green has been threaded.  Each repeat was 42 ends so I thread groups of 4, 6, or 8 depending on the threading progression, then when the entire repeat is finished slip knot those together so I can keep track of how many repeats I've done.

At the beginning I tested three colours, then let Carol choose which she preferred and started weaving hers.  This morning Katie came and we agreed on her weft colour.  I was going to change the treadling but both seem to like the design so the difference between them will be a very subtle change between the deep forest green for Carol and the dark navy for Katie.

The loom fix I did yesterday is so far holding up so I'm hoping I can finish weaving without further bodging.  Then the loom will be taken apart and inspected with parts needing replacing, replaced.

The loom is 'old' - not just in terms of years but in yards across the beam.  Nothing lasts forever and the part that gave way is metal against metal.  It was just a matter of time/use until it wore out.

Fortunately I have another loom and a dozen pre-wound warps ready to go into it, not to mention writing, lesson planning, guild room organizing and a bunch of other things that need to be done, too!

1 comment: said...

Looks lovely so far! I look forward to seeing the finished wraps.