Archive for May, 2012

Being Careful

May 28, 2012

The pile of samples that sits on top of my printer / photocopier is growing slowing, and gives me a little pleasure in doing so. This week I took my first rag sample off the loom – after the linen warp came apart. The good thing is – I know why. It was a salutary lesson. I know I have to be more careful, more exact. As a result, and before going any further, I spent a little time with my library of valuable books, mostly acquired with my tapestry loom, books I am still discovering from the pile of fifty or more that are still unshelved. Very slowly I’m learning how to read and digest (though not wholly understand) Peter Collingwood’s classic The Techniques of Rug Making – if you want to dip into this it is available from the Arizona Universityy archive as a PDF. This week I made a little progress with a few necessary pages of this book, and came to understand what I have been doing wrong / badly. So, time to be careful I thought. And it’s paying off.

Before I go into the whys and wherefores let me tell you about my new warp. After linen I’m now trying an ecru Pure Bourette Silk – described as Chinese No.817 – 17/8nm from Texere. I have a cone of this in my ‘warp’ drawer (I keep some of my yarn in a rather unusual filing cabinet that used to house trays of cassette and DAT tapes). It was a treat to put on the loom and I’ve threaded a warp of 80 ends (no selvedge extras this time) using the same spaced pattern on a 8 reed as my previous samples with the intention of making a 96cm by 48cm rug. The intention is to put into practice just two, possibly three of the patterns I’ve learnt and worked with in my recent sampling. Colours? A grey and a cream 2-ply wool, and possible a cherry red (but just a touch).

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Towards My First Rag Rug

May 20, 2012

During the last seven days I’ve been continuing to learn and practice the very basics of rug weaving. Those first techniques I tried on the two samples I made a fortnight ago needed to be tried again, if only so I knew exactly what to do without a crib in front of me. I needed to recognise instantly the various patterns I’d practiced so that I stood some chance of designing fluently with them. I decided to concentrate on the pick and pick and the 2 pick / 1 pick techniques and see if the business of ‘weaving the selvedges right’ (and with the right selvedge procedure) would gradually become a little more automatic rather than the frustratingly difficult and annoying process it started out as. Sadly, my slightly expanded linen warp (twice as wide as my first), was not very robust and the selvedge ends started to fray badly after only a little weaving. This is as far as I got with my first sample:

A practice sample for pick & pick and 2 pick / 1 pick

I do love the way the grey and cream colours work together. Not confident about the red though. I’m sure I’ll come back to this design and colour scheme. For me, when selvedge ends break it seems continuing with a repair is a lost cause. So for the next sample, which I’d decided would be my first rag rug, I didn’t replace the selvedge ends, but removed them from both sides and tied up the warp again.

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Rug Making

May 13, 2012

It’s been a little time since I wrote anything about my textile work. I’ve been preoccupied with another blog connected with my work as a composer. I wrapped this up just a month ago and sadly it has to be removed from the blogosphere in a fortnight’s time. So catch it while you can. No matter, I shall now be able to resume writing about my engagement with weaving and the world of woven textiles. I struggle with weaving constantly, but it has come to mean so much to me;  each little success makes the sun shine.

Last June I made a  sample for a proposed rug. My first rug and – hand on heart – the first pattern I’d ever copied from another weaver. The weaver was none other than the great Anni Albers whose exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre I had so enjoyed in January 2011. We travelled in the snowy weather across the Pennines into Wales to spend a Sunday there.  I had a broken arm. I was transfixed by the show. I drew and drew, looked and looked, wondered and wondered. It affected me deeply, deeply enough to attempt to make an analysis of three seminal weavings and write about my discoveries on my blog. In the beautiful catalogue there was a double page photo of a dormitory curtain Albers had woven in brown and gold. I was intrigued by this pattern, worked it out, made it my own in the two-greens sample I wove last June. (more…)