On Inspiration and Process

What I’m noticing about my process with Saori is this: I start out with an idea in mind. Not a goal, not a plan, but something around which I build the piece. In the rainbow scarf for my wife, the idea was simply to use rainbow yarns: variegated through a bright spectrum, or multicolored plies, or whatever else I found. The landscapes themselves from the colors as I went.

Now I’m working on an oceanic piece for my mom. I wanted the feel of the warm ocean off Florida (where she lives and I grew up), the Gulf Stream, the Gulf itself, the waters around the Keys. I began to build a yarn stash for it around those colors and those images. Some of them were things I had already in my stash, that I had bought before or that someone had given me (I have a bunch of odds and ends that people give me, actually), and some were bought with the project in mind. I thought a lot about the sea in its different moods as I knew it, in summer and winter, in clear weather and in hurricanes, at the beach and in the deeps, on the surface and below it. I wanted all of those. A light chop, huge rollers, the dim grey waters at the winter solstice (my friends and I used to stay up all night, watch the sun rise on the beach, and take a cold dip), the bright warmth of snorkeling in the summer at Looe Key. I wanted kelp forests and tropical fish, and the light refracting through the water on the white sand below.

So I collected yarn in those colors, and I browsed Google Image for pictures that struck a chord with me. Photos, but also drawings and paintings. Japanese paintings of towering waves and the fish-waves from Ponyo inspired me. So did the art of Guy Harvey (somewhat to my chagrin; he’s a something of a cliche among sportfisherman and sailboat types, but he actually turns out to be pretty nifty). Photos like this one and this one of macrocystic kelp forests. Oh, and pictures like all of these of sunset at Key West. And these, of the beach in the area where I grew up.

I live in Seattle now. I don’t know much about the cold waters around here. I make it out to the beach on the Sound relatively often, but rarely out to the Pacific. It’s beautiful, but not in the way the waters I knew for twenty years were. And it’s not the water my mother knows and loves, so it’s not what I want to make for her.

I’m spending lots of time building small curves and large ones, for the movement of the water. Waving seaweed. Right now I’m working on a coral reef. It’s all fairly impressionistic, rough outlines, swirls, feelings-as-shapes. It’s not meant to be representational, but evocative. I’m using tapestry techniques to achieve much of it, as well as Saori techniques. There’s one of the latter, I can’t remember its name or find the book to look it up, but I think of it as “wandering yarn”, that’s proving to be quite a good way of giving the flavor of fan corals and branching corals. I say that I’m not a tapestry weaver, and I mean that, because I don’t plan what I’m doing more than a step in advance, much less draw out cartoons and then charts. I don’t have the mindset for that. But I can grab those techniques and use them to good effect as impressionistic, evocative images in Saori weavings, unplanned. They’ll never be as precise as a traditional tapestry, but they serve my purpose and my imageries.

My next big piece will be another rainbow scarf, this one for my dad. He asked for one that was “all bright colors, like my wife’s.” Nearly twenty years I’ve been out, and he’s never caught on why I and the women I date like rainbows. That’s ok, whether he knows it or not, he’ll be wearing Pride colors, and I know he’s proud of me.

But I didn’t want to repeat myself, of course. So I started casting about for different inspiration. And I found this:

It’s Jupiter in chain stitch, and it sparked something. My dad has his PhD in astrophysics and cosmology, and he taught astronomy. I remember staring up with him at a clear, clear sky full of stars, while he pointed them out to me and told me about them. As soon as I could read, I started to learn why the stars had the names they had, what the constellations were and what stories were told about them, as well as about what they were and what they did. It led me to Greek mythology, which, in the long run, led to my religion (shhh, don’t tell him that).

So then I started collecting images of the the storms of Jupiter and rings of Saturn, and then I quickly moved further out, finding nebulae and galaxy clusters and voids and things I do not understand at all, but are gorgeous, galaxies, a supernova remnant, this fantastic cone shape that graphs the expansion of space over time, if I understand it correctly. These and more I have stuffed away in a bookmark folder, to look at as I start, and as I look at yarns to buy. More of the Mochi yarn I used for my wife’s scarf, although possibly fatter. Pulled silk sari threads, to spin loosely and deconstruct in the middle of the piece for wisps. Silver filament plied with deepest black, for the billions and billions of stars.

That one is months off, though. I still have Mom’s to get to. I’m one yard into a three yard warp, with ten hours logged, probably another two I forgot to log. Call it twelve hours, over a month. There’s only so much of the delicate, fiddly work I can do at a time. (And I got sick, which means I lost about ten days there where I just felt too crappy to move.) Most weavers want the loom down around waist-level, as it’s most ergonomic for simply passing the shuttle back and forth. But since I’m doing lots of pick-ups and small passes and trying to see which thread I want to turn at this time, I need it closer to my face. I’m now weaving sitting in front of a tallish table, with the front of resting on my (rather ample) chest, just so I’m not bending over it constantly to see and giving myself huge knots in my neck and shoulders, When I finally get a Saori loom, I’ll have to get one of the adjustable ones, so I can jack it up high when I need to. My upper arms do get tired, though, and I may work for an hour or two without gaining more than an inch of fabric out of it.

One of my Rav boards started talking about quotes we found inspiring or applicable for our weavings. This was my contribution:

She became dance’s analogue of the jazzman.

 

 

Dance was, for Shara, self-expression, pure and simple, first, last, and always.
Once she freed herself from the attempt to fit into the world of company dance, she came to regard choreography per se as an obstacle to her self-expression, as a preprogrammed rut, inexorable as a script and as limiting. And so she devalued it.
A jazzman may blow Night in Tunisia for a dozen consecutive nights, and each evening will be a different experience, as he interprets and reinterprets the melody according to his mood of the moment. Total unity of artist and his art: spontaneous creation. The melodic starting point distinguishes the result from pure anarchy.
In just this way Shara devalued preperformance choreography to a starting point, a framework on which to build whatever the moment demanded and then jammed around it. She learned in those three busy years to dismantle the interface between herself and her dance. Dancers have always tended to sneer at improv dancing, even while they practiced it, in the studio, for the looseness it gave. They failed to see that planned improv, improv around a theme fully thought out in advance, was the natural next step in dance.

-Spider and Jeanne Robinson, Stardance

I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a jazzman in that sense, but it is very much how I try to work. A starting point, and improvisation.

Woolly Dionysos

My two patron deities are Hekate and Dionysos. I work with others, but those are the most important to me. I keep altars to each of them in my ritual room, which see regular use. My Hekate altar is small and simple and fairly plain, but has multiple images of the goddess on it. My Dionysos altar is large and complex and has lots of stuff, but no image of the god. (I had one. I took it elsewhere for a ritual, and it broke.) The Zati book had instructions for a doll, so I thought I’d give it a shot. At first he was too Jesusy:

Jesus does not belong on my Dionysos altar. Nope. So I added leaf and grape cluster beads to his fillet, and when that wasn’t quite enough either, I borrowed some Green Man iconography, and gave him a green cloak trimmed with leaves. (Trying to make a felt leopard skin sounded like faaaaar too much work.)

I am reasonably pleased. I want to make him a thyrsos, whenever I find my tiny pinecones. The vertical stripes are meant to represent the pleats in a bassara, the long version of the chiton, which Dionysos wore. (It was usually a woman’s garment, so D was considered to be somewhat . . . gender transgressive, shall we say?)

I’m working on a second doll, this one a Valkyrie, for the Ravelry Folklore and Fairy Tales group’s read-along/knit-along/weave-along of the Volsung Saga. I did go and reread the story, if not the longer translation, and I’d forgotten most of that, but I was surprised to see how much of the rest of the mythology I remembered in the discussion. I ended up explaining the context of the mistletoe dart, and then giving some of the reasons the Aesir lose at Ragnarok, and was able to reel off a lot of it off the top of my head.

I may, if this one comes out well, try doing a Hecateon somehow, the three-form Hecate pillar.

In other news, I treated myself to some fancy wool batts, and am having fun spinning those. I want to chain ply the yarn and send it to my Mom, who crochets, but she doesn’t do tiny fine stuff, so it’s not like I can send her my usual cobweb yarns. So I’m spinning fingering weights, and it’s more fun than I remember. And it goes so much faster! I’d forgotten how fast spinning can go! Whee!

The wool is not as soft as I had expected, which is probably the Coopworth/Romney, but it’s pretty colors. And it’s fun to spin, and I’ll get to practice my chain plying.

Warped

I hate winding warps. I hate warping looms. It’s so boring and repetitive to me. Hating it makes me slower at it. I always want to just dive in and start weaving, doing something where I can see that I’m making something, actually create. It can’t be done, though. You have to lay the foundation before you can start to build.

I’m starting a new piece tonight, a cocoon wrap for my mother, in ocean colors and waves. I’ve never done a highly varied warp before. My wife’s scarf had a little variation, a few threads that were double strands of very fine Habu silk and steel, but it didn’t have a lot of effect on texture. So I’m mixing it up a little, trying to shake it up some, trying to put some creativity into the warp itself, to make it a little less dull, as well as to give the piece more texture and color.

But before I could even start to wind the warp, I had to wind two skeins of yarn — nearly a third of a mile’s worth — into center-pull balls to pull from. I have a ball winder, but no swift (a device that winds yarn into a reel and also allows you to pull smoothly from a skein when winding a ball), and my sweetie wasn’t available to hold the skeins for me to wind from. So I ended up looping them over my computer desk, and unwinding and winding up in sections, and it was a serious pain. Literally. My neck and shoulders are in knots.

I’m just taking a break now, and typing this while I try to loosen up my muscles before I start winding the warp.

=================

The next morning:

OK, ow. I did, in fact, wind the warp, and it was much more interesting than it has been previously, and that is awesome. It also got much trickier to keep the crosses straight (I put one at each end of the warp), because I would stop to switch threads between circuits, and I’d lose track of which way I was going in a way I don’t when it’s a continuous motion. But it was significantly less annoying.

But oh, was I sore afterwards. Unwinding skeins with no swift, winding balls of yarn with the winder off at a funny angle from me to minimize tangling, and then warping, left me with all kinds of knots. So I lay on some heating pads for a while before going to sleep, and that helped.

=================

Later:

It bothers me that warping bothers me so much.

I threaded the reed and wound the warp onto the back beam, but the paper I had for putting between layers (cut from paper grocery bags) wasn’t quite wide enough, and now both edges of the warp are wound wrong. I ordered some craft paper of the correct width, which should be along tomorrow, but once again, warp is frustrating for me.

So I’m taking a little time off from it while I wait for the paper to arrive. In the mean time, I have warped my Zati loom for a receiving bowl in the colors of our cat MacGuffin who died recently, and I finally built my copper pipe tapestry loom and warped that. I have a few ideas for making small panels on it using Saori techniques (including one called WWW+, which if it works, I will post here for all to see) and layering them to make a Steampunk bustle. We shall see how that works.

I’m trying to get more positive about warping. Right now, it’s a roadblock, something that keeps me from being creative, and I waste days between projects, trying to work up the motivation to warp the loom. One of the things I am most looking forward to about a Saori loom is the pre-wound warp. Thread it through heddles and sleigh, tension, and go. Still a chunk of work, but cutting down any of it sounds wonderful.

In the mean time, all I can do is try not to let it slow me down too much.


Warp for Mom’s Seascape


Guff’s receiving bowl


Copper loom, warped with linen thread

Devotional piece for Athene

Since weaving and spinning are becoming a significant part of my life again, my art and my meditation, I have been wanting to do a devotional piece to Athene in her guise as patron of fiber arts. At first, I was going to do a small tapestry, but I turn out to be very bad at the planning stage of that. Really. Bad. Ugh. So I’ve been looking for something else to do.

I found, on one of the Saori groups on Ravelry, the idea of a diary hanging. People with writing words on strips of paper, ribbon, fabric, whatever they liked, and weaving it into the web. So I decided to do that with a prayer to Athene.

Pallas Athene
Athene Ergane
Weaver, Goddess who stands alone, independent
Steady and support my spindle
Let my warp not tangle
Guide my shuttle and my needle
Grant me both inspiration and skill

I am using some of my oldest yarns. A coarse, dark grey wool that was the second yarn I spun when I was learning (the first was a stripy grey-and-white, and I wove it on an inkle loom and turned it into a belt, with a nifty dragon-headed penanular buckle); a green wool-and-mohair that came from a friend’s goat, that had died recently (Vincent van Goat, in fact); the very first cobweb weight yarn I spun, a white wool, single-ply and over-twisted, which had been sitting in a skein for twelve years at least, and was hairy and felted and tangled and broken in many places. I pieced enough of the white cobweb together to make a warp out of, and I wrote out the prayer, line by line, on strips of paper I made. I’m also including the newest threads I’ve spun, reeling silk and bamboo straight of the spindles of works in progress. And I’m using bits of leftover yarn from my last project, the scarf for my wife.

I’m weaving very loose and open, a technique I have not used before, but so far I’m liking it. I may end up backing it with something, though. Which will let me get in sewing as well as the spinning and weaving already there. I might dye the backing myself, too, to get that aspect. I’m also experimenting for the first time with having random warp threads double- or triple-sleighed.

This piece is very much about how far I have come since those first yarns, and how far I have yet to go in my craft. It’s also a sacrifice, not just of the work of making it, but of the thread I’m currently spinning, and of the attempt at new techniques.

The imperfections of the piece are also becoming very important. My ancient wool warp keeps breaking, and I have to knot in new lengths to repair it. I leave long ends on these, and do not try to hide them. Where Arachne the weaver showed hubris in trying to compete with Athene at weaving, I am showing all my mistakes and flaws, in humility. (But now I wish I’d added “or break” after “Let my warp not tangle.”)

The biggest challenge of this piece wasn’t the physical difficulties — although the warp broke, threads from different sheds caught on one another, and both the warp and the weft threads I reeled off the spindles were “energized” so that they kept kinking up — but psychological. Weaving so loosely is very new for me, and the way the threads don’t lay tidily alongside one another, and the uneven beating, and the warp thread that broke inside the web so I couldn’t repair it without undoing a bunch of weaving, and the occasional float, well, they aren’t things I’m accustomed to tolerating in my work. I’m having trouble liking the piece, even though it’s exactly what I set out to do. Hell, because it’s exactly what I set out to do, which was to do something very different for me, to put myself outside my comfort zone, to stretch, as tribute.

Athene has never been a favorite goddess of mine. She’s always seemed very distant to me. As I weave this, I’m finding places where I’m closer to her than I thought. I’m discovering things about her independence, her . . . not quite solitude, but her ability to stand alone, and to be strong alone, that are resonating strongly for me right now.

Most of these posts I crosspost to LJ and DW, but I’m skipping it this time. It’ll automatically be posted to Tumblr and Twitter, and I’ll let it, but I’m also not posting it to any of the discussion boards on Ravelry, not even the one that inspired it, or the pagan one I follow. I’m feeling weird and self-conscious about sharing religious bits again.

If there are tense inconsistencies, it’s because I wrote this in bits and pieces as I worked, and not at all linearly.

Landscape of a story, and the stories of a landscape

The scarf from my last post is finished!

This one took me two and a half months. Yikes. Part of this is because of the tension problems I had (I had to rip out the first eight inches or so to try to fix the tension once, but it did a strictly limited amount of good), which were infuriated and frustrating and made things really difficult. I eventually figured out how to deal with it on the fly (those knots from the last post), but even with that, it was a pain in the ass.

But it is finally done.

The original idea for this was simply to weave a scarf for my wife in rainbow colors and black. It morphed into something else entirely, in a very organic fashion. It became all about landscapes, curving shapes, color shifts, and transitions. In my mind, it grew into a series of snapshots of a quest out of a fantasy novel, or possibly science fiction; the last bit of landscaping had the bit from Heinlein about “We pray for one last landing/ On the globe that gave us birth/ Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies/ And the cool green hills of Earth.”

It was as if an adventurer, finally venturing out of her comfort zone of home, saw incredible vistas and scenes that stuck with her all her life, bigger even than all the wonderful and terrible things that happened to her, simply because she always thought about places, about the land itself and the way it moves and lies, because she connects with that before and after all else. She returns home, and she tells her story again and again, but when she thinks about her journey, the images that come back to her again and again are all about the land and the sky.

This idea of a personal narrative being rooted in images of the earth rather than events connected for me with the way Literata talks about a landbase, and how having that kind of connection being centered in one’s personal world changes how one sees other places as well. To me, the hero of the scarf had, like Bilbo and Frodo Baggins*, never been outside her landbase before this journey, and never had to think about her connection to the land before, but traveling made it really come home to her. She saw all these other places, and they were amazing, and they imprinted themselves on her for the rest of her life — but each of them made her long for her own land again.

It’s also a very narrative scarf. Obviously. So it’s also about the power of stories, the infinite possibility in an outline of a story (how many different stories could be written about the journey sketched in that scarf?), and how the story in one’s head can differ from the story as one tells it to others, and about how setting shapes a story.

I don’t know what she’d think of the comparison, but the emotional, mental, and spiritual process of working on this reminded me of the way Elise Mattheson talks about the jewelry she makes, and what each piece is about, their names, how they tell her what they’re about. I feel like there’s a story in this scarf — no, many potential stories in this scarf — but I don’t need to know them to create the scarf in a way that is true to those stories.

I posted a bunch about this scarf on Ravelry, but never really talked about any of this. It’s a thing I find difficult to talk about in more secular spaces. Which is why I started this blog, really. I feel very deeply about my religion and my experiences, but I don’t always feel very comfortable sharing the details of that. It’s not, most places, that I feel unsafe talking about it, but more that I feel like it doesn’t necessarily belong. Sex, politics, and religion are Not Polite Topics for mixed company, traditionally, but I’d much rather talk about either of the first two in public, unless I’m specifically asked.

There it is. A scarf that’s the outline of a story, told in images of the places it takes you.

The next project will, I hope, be more literally literary, as in I’m planning on weaving actual words into it. If I can ever find the right prayer to Athena Ergane (Athena of the Works, her title as patron of crafts, particularly spinning and weaving). It will also have some of the first yarns I spun.

*And yes, the mountain is a reference to the Lonely Mountain, and that black spot on one side of it is a reference to the Back Door.

Weaving Landscapes (or just curves)

Weaving Landscapes (or just curves)

This is something I posted to Ravelry, at the request of a mod who had seen some of the Work In Progess (WIP) pictures.

Process post! Someone suggested I do one for the curves and hills when I posted this scarf in the WIP thread. I didn’t start taking detail pictures until past the middle, but the technique is the same. (Er, lots and lots of pictures follow.)

I shamelessly stole this technique from tapestry weaving, because one of the awesome things about Saori is that you can do that, and I suck at tapestry, but this technique is pretty awesome.

I’m working on a 15″ Schacht Cricket with an 8dpi reed. The project itself is MadGastronomer’s Kate’s Rainbow [NB: This link leads to a Ravelry page, and you’ll need to have a login there to see it].

So. For this first bit, I already had a hill, and the idea was to build up more curving shapes around it to make a mountain.

To start a new curve, I wove a few passes (four, here) on just a few warp threads (again, I used four). If you want to try it, how many will depend on the size of your warp and weft threads. Fiddle with it. It’s really very organic. I loosed the warp very slightly, opened sheds as usual, and then used fingers or a pickup stick to lift the individual warp threads. You may not want to change sheds, but just use the pickup stick. I sometimes get lost doing that, so I did it this way.

I began moving outwards, one warp thread at a time.

Leaving lots of extra length in the warp, I packed it quite closely, creating the beginning of the curve.

What was I using to beat in such small and irregular bits of yarn? A little pickle fork.

I did several more passes, moving outward from the center by one warp thread in each direction with each pass, again leaving lots of slack in the weft threads and beating them in tightly to get that curve. (You can beat them in more loosely, but this is a warm winter scarf, and I wanted the density.)

Since I was building up multiple curving shapes together, I would occasionally run a couple of passes along the entire shape, to keep things cohesive, once the two shapes met up. I also do this when doing a row of hills.

Then I started building a third shape in the crook where the first two met.

Again, I laid down rows of weft across the entire shape periodically. Since I was using variegated yarn, this became especially important to build up color relatively evenly later on.

And then I started building up more shapes on the other side.

And back to the left.

See what I mean about threads going across the whole thing keeping color relatively even with the variegated yarn?

Then I put a peak on it.

And this is Uther, who wants you to know that he Helped. That’s very important, he says. He Helped.

So, having created all those curves and steep angles, I now had to fill in around them. Which I apparently got exactly one picture of the process of:

As might be apparent, I started weaving on just the outermost two warp threads, just going back and forth and beating them down tightly until I built it up enough that I could reach the third warp thread, and then added that. Again, since I used a variegated yarn, I kept switching sides, to keep the color shift even. I think I did a pretty good job.

…of course, it all came out a bit trippy. A friend commented that the mountain really did look like a Tolkein illustration, and I could not help but respond, “Yep. Complete with the psychedelic colors from the 70s paperback editions.” But I’m pretty pleased with it.

Other things I did with this technique in this piece:

A line of rolling hills receding off into the distance. If you look closely, you can see the texturing in each hill where I decided to make the curve steeper, so I built up another layer of short rows with longer rows on top, basically building a hill on a hill.

A trio of hills, the middle one being done with clasped warp, in a way that manages to remind me of the sheen on an old vinyl record.

And a series of small iterations, building up curves unevenly here and there (again, look for the texturing) to achieve in appearance of a rolling plain and eventually the bed of a river. And here’s the river:

I threw in a few more curving shapes so that the ground under the mountain wouldn’t follow the line of the river exactly.

This technique is pretty simple, and the only real problem is creates is that if a row of weft reaches the selvedge at a steep angle, it can make the edge a little weird and loopy, but what the hell, it’s Saori, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The real problem I’ve had with this scarf has been tension. I managed to screw up the tension once, and had to tear out about eight inches of weaving and try to fix the tension. Only I still mucked it up. The paper I used to layer the wraps of warp was too crinkly, and I managed to get the threads all crossed and bunched and messed up, so the tension on each thread keeps changing.

I ended up dealing with it by tying knots in individual warp threads as they go too slack. (You can see some of the knots sticking out from the weaving). It got really bad towards the end. I’m sure the finished piece will be all kinds of warped and buckled and weird, but my partner assures me she doesn’t care and she’ll love it. She’s sweet that way.

Ta-da!

Free Weaving

Having had a nightmare time trying to learn very structured tapestry weaving (much of the problem was not having the right tools and materials, but much of it was also my headlong approach and ignoring the planning required) and getting very frustrated, I finally got a small rigid heddle loom and the book SAORI: Self Innovation Through Free Weaving. SAORI is a type of weaving that started in Japan in the 70s, and specifically rejects the very structured ideas of traditional weaving. Floats, draw-in, uneven beating and other things traditionally considered flaws are instead valued and even intentionally used to create an organic and personal feel. It is weaving as a form of self-expression, self-discovery, and self-innovation.

SAORI specifically uses some really cool techniques, like clasped warps, using various materials (like wool locks, unspun roving, and sakiori fabric strips) as weft materials, leaving loose ends hanging, very loose warps, and more. It’s woven in long, relatively narrow lengths, in the tradition of kimono fabric, and made into loose, draped garments. You can see some of what I’m talking about at Weaving a Life, the blog of the Salt Spring Weaving SAORI studio.

One of the things that’s been really fascinating to me as I embark on this journey has been what traditional techniques and values have been easy or hard to let go of. It’s been very easy, and indeed joyful, to embrace throwing in whatever comes to hand and looks pretty, and to weave with areas built up here or there and then subsequent rows beaten in around it, giving curving shapes. Less easy but not difficult has been leaving ends hanging loose and beating unevenly. But what’s really been hard has been accepting the uneven draw-in at the selvedge. When I first started weaving, my selvedges were very good for a beginner, and other weavers complimented me on them, saying how nice and even they were, and I really valued that. Now the new techniques I’m using are causing wildly uneven edges, and looking at them makes me cringe. But I’ve only just started, in time I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

My first piece, which I’m working on now, is just a scarf for me. The rigid heddle loom (a Schacht Cricket) arrived before the SAORI book, so I started a more traditional piece on it, and the first seven inches or so are plain weaving. Then the book arrive the next day, and suddenly it goes wild. The progress of the scarf has become a timeline of my attempts and new and more free weaving, so I’m keeping a pretty thorough photographic record, although of course the finished piece will be its own record. It’s not like it’s not easy to tell which end I started from!


The very beginning, with two stripes of sequined silk, because I had some samples lying around. At the far end of the scarf, I’ll finish with the rest of those samples. I was going to do the same stripes, but I think I’ll do something else instead, maybe a clasped weft.


Then I moved into a variegated merino blend. I love variegated yarn for warps. The shifting colors are just delicious.


This, obviously, is when the book arrived, and I started playing. This is loose reclaimed silk fiber, probably loom waste from saris or other brightly-colored fine silks.


Then I started building curving shapes on top of the silk. I am completely in love with this effect. I was even able to build in some of the techniques I learned from my attempts at tapestry.


Some more silk fiber to build hills and valley back up, and then I pulled out a few different colors of narrow silk ribbon, and tried to create waves and oceanic effects. I’m quite happy with the result. You can see the ends hanging out as well.


Then there was a longish section (for this piece, anyway) of the clasped warp technique. This gets used in tapestry as well, and while I managed it reasonably well in that, it was kind of a pain in the ass. On the rigid heddle loom, though, it got far easier (and now I know how to make it easier on the tapestry from!), and a lot more fun. You can see the uneven draw-in on the left here (I’ve got a couple of badly-tensioned threads there that are making the problem far worse). The new color coming in from the left is from a package of small amounts of odds and ends a friend sent me. It looks handspun, and is great fun, especially to use against a yarn with a longer variation. The sudden shirt from wine to green was where there was a discontinuity in the yarn balls, where two colors had just been knotted together. In a traditional piece, I’d ben very annoyed, but here I really like the effect, especially the way it worked with the color shift in the secondary warp.


And more reclaimed silk! This one, unfortunately, has particularly poor lighting, and the true, intense violet of the larger chunk doesn’t show well.

So. I’m maybe a third of the way through this warp, and having a blast. I’m hoping to get a whole bunch more done tonight. It was a busy week, and I’m trying to decompress from it. Weaving really helps.