Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Student's Journey

Nancy T included this summary of the experience doing Olds Master Weaving class as part of her homework.  I asked if she would allow me to post it to my blog.

My Journey from Olds to Final Project

This has been a journey of learning, disappointment, achievement and frustration.  Weaving with wool was my first challenge as I had never woven with wool until I arrived in Olds.  I thought the comparative book report would be the death of me; I seemed to get over that hurdle, then there was the weaving. 

My next plan of attack was to wind one warp 8 yards long which would weave 2 yards of plain weave and two yards of twill along with the six sett samples.  I found a very nice Peruvian wool, which I enjoyed working with.  I was very pleased with the sett samples, and the 2 yards of plain weave.  With a square at my side I wove and measured and unwove and rewove and remeasured, cut off samples, washed samples, resleyed, wove, measured, unwove as I tried to achieve a 45 degree angle for the 2 yards of twill.  I was at the point of settling or declaring defeat and walking away from the remainder of the homework.  So I settled and that is what I submitted.
With my remaining warp I moved on to the weft faced sample which I wove 3 times and was satisfied with the third sample.  Finally I reached the warp faced sample; only to discover that I couldn’t get an open shed as the friction of the yarn that was sleyed and threaded so closely together was impossible to pry apart.  I tried this sample with a reed and without a reed and was unsuccessful.  I was very discouraged as I would have to start again with the sett sample exercise using a different yarn as the instructions indicated that the same yarn was to be used for all sett samples.
I had woven beautiful samples that I couldn’t use, I was disappointed.

I decided to change gears and weave the value gamp.  I thought the book report was bad, how hard can it be to weave a value gamp? It was as if I had never woven a thing in my life.  My edges were so bad, they were like nothing I have ever woven.  After weaving samples and finishing them it appeared I had figured out the sett and ppi and was ready to go.  Again I couldn’t master the final product to achieve 2 inch squares so I settled, not pleased with my work again it was decision time to continue or declare defeat.  I dusted myself off and thought I’d better see if I can achieve a warp faced sample using the remaining warp from my value gamp.  A true test to myself to achieve this weave structure would be to use the rust yarn for the weft in a warp that contained the six colors of my value gamp. I did it!! Finally there was something positive to build on so I would wind another warp to redo the sett samples along with the weft faced sample.

As I worked through the sett samples I liked what I saw with the colors which got me thinking of the final project which I had decided long ago, it would be a scarf.  Through the finishing of the sett samples I was pleased with the hand and drape of the 9 e.p.i. so I was quite sure that would be the sett I would use for my scarf.  One additional sample was woven at 10 e.p.i. just to confirm that 9 e.p.i. was what I wanted, and it was so I completed my final scarf project.

I’m very happy that I have become very proficient and oh so comfortable in threading, resleying and dressing looms. I have learned so much throughout this journey.  I’ve learned how to place yarn instead of beat it, how lightly dyed yarns have more spring than darker dyed yarns which was most likely the reason for the uneven tension in my value gamp; about keeping better records, what fibres can and can’t do and how they react when finished; what I can and cannot achieve, how determined I am to continue and hopefully succeed, and how important it is to weave with your heart.  Nothing that I have woven throughout this journey was done by my heart (with the exception of my final project) it was woven with a tape measure and square being used every ½ inch to see if I was on track and if not it was unwoven.  I’m sure I unwove just as much as I wove.

When it was time to weave my final project, and with the luxury of it being my own design, I put all that I learned into play but with no “rules” I wove the scarf with rhythm and enjoyment and most of all the way I like to weave, from my heart, it was a joy to weave and I am very pleased with my final product.

Without the support of a fellow classmate I’m not sure I would have made it to the end.  Through all of the trials and tribulations I was never turned off of weaving, to which I am thankful and happy.  I’m looking forward to weaving my next project using all that I have learned and once again weave from my heart.

At the end of it all I am looking forward to returning to Olds to take the Level 2 course.


Peg Cherre said...

I have only 2 things to say: Congratulations to you, Nancy T! And again, I wish there was an analogous program here in the eastern US.

kmcc said...

What a great story! Not only well written but also entertaining and oh so true! I am currently struggling through the same Level One course so I know just what you are talking about.
Thanks so much for sharing this, Nancy and Laura.
Kathy McCauley
PS: I'm almost done the Learning Exercises and still hopeful I will get the rest all done in good time.

Laura Fry said...

I'm sure you will do just fine. :) It's not about making 'perfect' but learning the lessons.