2020 was a year of isolation and introspection. I spent much more time in and around home, and much less time out in the world. At first, the isolation was hard, but as time went on our guilds figured out how to meet and have programs, and rhythms began to emerge. It was good to have meetings again, even if they were virtual, and this pushed me to have something finished each month for show and tell.
In 2020 I wove 70 items on 23 different warps. Three of my favourites from 2020 are:
In Chocolate Mint, I love the big blocks and stripes that come up in just two colours. I also like how the hand and look of the fabric changes when I moved from weaving with cotton for the towels, to weaving with silk for the scarves.
Overshot is silk just glows. Changing the background colours added interest and movement as the colours shifted.
Here the simple plain wave structure is combined with symmetrical stripes and soft, absorbent linen. It feels like a heritage piece.
In 2020 I became more confident as a weaver. A highlight was being published in, and on the cover of the Sep/Oct 2020 issue of Handwoven magazine. I have also become more mindful in my weaving and I am learning to be more present and focused in what I do.
Moving into 2021 I am starting a long-term, multi-part project and building a collection. Well, if every textile has a story behind it, then it stands to reason that every story has a textile connected to it. I am gathering stories, myths, fables, legends and fairy tales that have some aspect of weaving or spinning or textiles involved. I want to examine how the weaving, spinning, or other textile impacts the story and the characters. I am re-imagining the stories with a textile twist, and then designing a textile inspired by the story. Then that textile will become part of the collection. So, you will hear more about this project as the year moves along.
The first story I am working on is Rumpelstiltskin, and the textile concept is spinning straw into gold. From a spinner’s perspective, if the “straw” of the story is flax, then the “gold” must be a lustrous linen thread. The value of textiles throughout history would, at times, overshadow the value of gold.
I have designed a linen table runner “Rumpel’s Runner” to be this story’s textile. This project is currently on my loom, awaiting completion.
Moving into 2021 all three looms are dressed,
The Baby Wolf holds “Rumpel’s Runner”, in fine 40/2 linen in natural flax colour. It is hard to see the pattern on the loom, but it will become more evident once it is off the loom and washed. Weaving here requires full care and attention, keeping in mind the springiness of the linen, and a sixty-pick pattern count. It is hard to see the lace pattern emerging on the loom, and some unpicking happens when I get lost. I am enjoying the look and feel of the linen.
The Queen is dressed with a simple scarf in naturally coloured cotton, light green and coyote brown, and accents of 2/8 cotton in dark brown. Easy and restful weaving, I love the feel of the cotton in my hand, and watching the web build up is easy on my eyes. I understand that the colours of the naturally coloured cottons will deepen and intensify upon washing, so I am looking forward to seeing the difference.
You can see a theme emerging here of natural colours in natural materials. Calm, restful, cool cellulose.
The Ashford table loom hold a carpet warp to weave mug rugs based on the samples in Jane Stafford Online Guild episode 4.9-Weft Faced Twills. I decided to weave the samples mug rug size to help my materials stretch further. With only 69 ends and sett at five ends per inch this warp was super fast to get dressed on the loom. The weaving however is super, super slow. It took me three full hours to weave one 6-inch-wide, 7-inch-long mug “carpet”. My daughter suggested that these be called mug carpets instead of mug rugs, because they are very heavy and dense. Here I get to play with colour and symmetry, and graphic division of space. A lot of design considerations go into each little carpet. I expect it will take me a good long while to work through five yards of warp.
Wishing the best for everyone as we move into the new year. Happy Weaving.