Thursday, May 1, 2014

What's in Your Weaving Tool Box?

Avril Loreti created these delicious baby blankets with 4/8 cotton in a rosepath pattern. The colour combinations remind me of ice cream. 
Like a musician, a weaver improves with practice and experience. Nothing else can replace that. Although they are important resources, it doesn't matter how many books one reads, how many videos one watches, nothing can replace the actual DOING. This becomes very evident if you've ever tried to learn another language, or  to dance. To improve virtuosity, skill and reportorie one needs to practice, practice, practice. There is no getting around it. 
We saw this blanket created by Mai-Liis Toome a while back but now here it is with the baby included. This is Mai-Liis' grandson in Sweden and she says he doesn't notice any of the mistakes! 
"Rules" often vary from one book/DVD/instructor to another. See them only as guidelines. None are completely right or wrong and all have their appropriate situation when applying them will be very helpful. From one fibre to another, the best method of handling also varies in terms of what is most suitable. Methods and techniques, approaches have their different conditions and circumstances when they are most appropriate and best circumstances.  Most of us know that if you want to paint like Robert Bateman, one probably wouldn't apply paint like Van Gogh. The same holds true for weaving. One learns that to achieve certain outcomes, different and varied strategies, equipment, approaches exist and what works for one person, may not for another. It's important to evaluate your project once you've done it. What have you learned from it? What will or won't you do again ....though never say never!
Helen Skelton was creating this warp at home. Her son called the warp a Wooly Caterpillar. Though the colours look Christmasy, Helen informed me that these are the Welsh colours....and oops, I forgot the rest of it! She's making three scarves. 
This is a wonderful time to be learning to weave when there are so many great resources now available at your fingertips.....a great springboard for our weaving practice which can serve to generate discussions about various methods and techniques.
We had a bag load of miscacealeous yarn donated to the Toronto Weaving School. Here Helen Skelton, who is a chemist (on right) and Laura de Vrij (on left in top picture) do burn tests to see what the fibre is. 
There are many pros and cons to using various technical methods in weaving and discussion about them can help dispel confusion and frustration.
Here Carla Duncan (left), herself a scientist and Laura de Vrij, continue to unravel (tee hee) the mystery fibres with burn tests. By analyzing the smell of the flame/burn and the colour of ash, as well as burn speed one is able to determine the fibre. 
What's in your weaving tool box? 
Books, magazines, DVDs, YouTube, other teachers, other learners, and the many cultures that practice weaving all in their own way with their own unique methods and techniques. Also in that toolbox new ideas, new weave structures, new materials. Colour design courses. Workshops. and oh yes, you will need a screwdriver and plyers once in awhile. 

All that being said, who says it has to be hard work to weave! Enjoy the journey and the discoveries. Enjoy the not knowing and let the delight of wonder and curiosity ignite your imagination! Enjoy the people you are meeting who are also on this weaving journey!

Very happy colours scarf by Arlene Williams.

Houndstooth scarf by Phyllis Fitzsimmons
Link to the Tapestry Blog.....

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