Friday, September 27, 2019

A New Way to Play

Last week, when looking at the Aldi ad, I saw that they were going to have weaving kits in the store beginning Thursday. I knew we were going to Donegal Town on Tuesday and I figured they'd probably have at least one left by then--at least I hoped so! At first, I thought I was out of luck, but then I saw a couple buried under piles of crochet kits, so one came home with me. I wasn't interested in making the white/black/grey/neon pink wall hanging the kit was put together for, but I did want the wooden frame loom, which was my reason for buying the kit. It was a good price (7 euro), so worth it for the loom alone, but I stuck the skeins of yarn in with the rest of the stash and I'll use it for something else. The ball of warp thread is big enough for a few projects. It also came with a dowel, which I'll use for something at some point and a tapestry needle, which is meant for the weaving, but I used one of my wooden tatting needles instead. Finally, it came with a wooden shuttle thing that looked like it was for wrapping the warp threads around and using to weave the first several (footer) rows. I didn't use that either.

I've been interested in certain types of weaving for a couple of decades, but not the 'regular' kind done on a floor loom. First of all, they take up too much space. But they also require a good deal of prep work before the weaving can begin. I know I would hate this. It's the same reason I never could get into traditional quilting. There is too much planning and fussy preparation that I don't do well with. I love the results of those art/craft forms and am frequently in awe at the gorgeous work people can create, but I know myself well enough to know that warping a loom in a particular way or cutting a gazillion bits of fabric to precise measurements, then working to a predetermined plan would only leave me with unfinished projects. I need to be able to improv and shift gears partway through a project if the mood strikes. I like to be able to combine techniques if I get an idea (I am thinking about ways to incorporate crochet and kumihimo braids at the moment). Tapestry weaving fits my criteria.

I didn't get to try this new-to-me technique until today. I warped the frame, but only warped it about 2/3 of the way across. I wanted a more narrow piece and my plan is to make a few smaller practice pieces in order to learn about how things behave, how to change colours, and how to keep an even tension. So once I had the warp in place, I took some weird novelty yarn that I got a few months ago at a charity shop--it's a cord with fluffy slubs at regular intervals. I opted to do the fringe that the kit instructions call for and I used that yarn to make the rya knots that form the fringe. I did a few rows of plain weave with the slub yarn, then just used some scraps that I already had out and kept on doing plain weave up the warp, changing colours at various places through the piece. I used the yarn doubled. Then I did a few more rows with the slub yarn and then some header rows with the warp string.
The slub yarn worked well for the fringe and weaving, although if I pulled the end wrong, the slubs unravelled, so I tied a knot at the end of each piece of fringe. I decided to keep the fringe uneven, because I like the shape. I'm pretty pleased with this as a first effort. I can see some tension issues, but more practice will take care of that. There were a few places where I should have taken more care about how the two strands of yarn were laying, but that's an attention issue. I pan to add some embellishments to this and have it as an autumn decoration and it'll be fine for that--the embellishments will cover up the worst of the issues. Who knows--maybe next year when I unpack it I'll be able to see how I've improved since this first experiment. I have a ton of ideas, so I'll be getting a lot of practice. I think I should be able to warp the loom and do a bunch of smaller pieces using the one warp, too, if I use spacers. I'll try it at some point and see. I'm not sure yet what I am going to do next. I know that there are a lot of possibilities beyond the plain weave, but I am going to stick with that for a little while before I start branching out. For now, playing with different kinds of yarn, colour, and maybe shape seems like a good way to learn and practice. I had such fun with this and I'm looking forward to trying out some of my ideas!

I hope there is some new (or old) fun stuff in your day today, too!


Vicki said...

It looks great, I like it!

Shari Burke said...

Thanks, Vicki! I had fun with it :-)