Monday, May 30, 2022

Daisy Chain


the horizontal line in the middle is a reed mark, no doubt made more noticeable by a small tension problem, but should minimize during wet finishing - the warp runs left to right in the photo, not top to bottom

Fancy twill designs can get to be rather large.  I didn't actually realize how this design was going to render because the graphic in the book that I adapted only showed a portion of the repeat.  So it was a bit of a pleasant surprise when I generated the entire draft in Fiberworks and saw this rather large repeat nestled in amongst the different elements of the draft.  I had really liked the little 'starburst' you can see in the centre of the daisy chain, but I hadn't been able to tell that the draft would produce this larger motif until I did the work of getting it into my weaving software.

And life, like weaving, is often like that.  We see small fragments of something, aspects of living or weaving, that we really like, all unaware that once you get involved in the bigger picture, there is something quite lovely waiting for you.

The daisy chain motifs also overlap each other, each chain part of others next to it, and the pattern links up and become bigger than the pieces they are made up of.

Weaving or spinning is frequently seen in the European 'fairy' tale traditions and I think it was because every family did some aspect of preparation in the creation of the fibre into yarn, the yarn into cloth, the wet finishing that made it 'real' cloth.  Everyone knew the steps involved, and how much work and effort was required.  So it was something very known to every person in a village and likely even the bigger towns and hanging a morality tale onto the creation of textiles was meaningful to everyone who heard it.

Because fairy tales are much older than our modern day history.  When the Brothers Grimm* published their book in the 1800s, they didn't write those stories - they had gone round the countryside in what is now Germany - and collected the oral traditions of the people.

(And if you think they are gruesome, let me explain that they expurgated them of the worst of the blood and gore.)

Working with fibres goes far beyond European written history.  Latest archeological finds have been pushing that date further and further back in time so that Elizabeth Wayland Barber's book Women's Work; the first 20,000 years should have more accurately been 'the first 30,000 years'.  And I do believe that it goes further back in time than that.

One of the more recent finds was a bit of cordage that bound a flint to a handle and the thread that did it was so thin and so consistent, it is pretty much impossible to achieve that level of expertise very quickly.  

I believe human involvement in the making of yarn goes much further back in time than we can ever know.

When I chose weaving as a career (because it was not a hobby that turned into something more), I never dreamed of all of the things I would set my hand to for 40+ years.  And still want to do it, even if it is at a slower pace.

Weaving has taught me many things - to be humble, for one.  To keep going until it's obvious continuing in a direction is never going to produce the results I want.  That sometimes things just don't work and it's ok to leave them behind in the dust as you move forward.  That people are, by and large, pretty nice and decent.  And the few that aren't?  Don't need to continue to be a presence in my life.  Just - keep moving forward.

So yesterday I generated the next draft for the warp coming after this one.  My shelves of 2/16 cotton are *almost* empty, but I still have some left.  I have enough natural for two more warps, so I will make a dent in what is left.

But I'm also aware that I have other yarns that are crying out to be used up, so once I've used up the natural 2/16, I think I'll pull out the 2/20 mercerized cotton and start working on those yarns.  What weave structure will I use?  Well, they will make more tea towels so probably in the twill family.  Maybe instead of weaving such large motifs, I'll take a walk through Oelsner, which has multiple 16 shaft twill drafts, all done on a point progression, as does the small booklet The Fanciest Twills of All.  So maybe I'll do some small motifs for a while, as I work on using up some of my even finer cotton and linen yarns.

Time will tell.  

*(from the Wikipedia page)  

The brothers were directly influenced by Brentano and von Arnim, who edited and adapted the folk songs of Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn or cornucopia).[15] They began the collection with the purpose of creating a scholarly treatise of traditional stories, and of preserving the stories, as they had been handed from generation to generation—a practice that was threatened by increased industrialization.

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