Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Weaving away

This last year has passed in a bit of a blur and quite a bit of it has missed being captured on my blog.  I will endeavour to do a bit better next year as it's a shame to have gaps in my record of things we've seen and places we've been.  Way back in July my two stitchy friends and I went on an adventure in Yorkshire for the second time in as many years.  The excuse for the getaway was to house and dog-sit for my friend's daughter. As part of that adventure we found ourselves at Wingham Wool Work at Wentworth near Rotherham.  I have been interested in weaving for some time and have played around with peglooms and a simple cardboard loom but I was feeling that the time had come to invest in a 'proper' loom to see if I liked it.  Woolfest had a lot to answer for!

Our visit to Wingham Wool Work found me coming home with an Ashford SampleIt loom. which I couldn't wait to put together.

The SampleIt rigid heddle loom gives a weaving width of 8" (20cm) and is very easy to work with.  Knowing nothing about weaving I bluffed my way through warping the loom and began experimenting with the help of an Ashford video. 

There are lots of videos out there on Youtube and I took inspiration from the Saori weaving that I had seen at Woolfest.  This video will give you a little idea of the style of Saori weaving.  

There are one or two centres for Saori weaving in the UK and the nearest to me is The Saori Shed in Diss in Norfolk.  Saori is as much a philosophy as a craft form.  There are no rules in Saori, which suits me down to the ground, and there are no mistakes.  Even better!  You can please yourself how you weave and use colour and texture in an intuitive and natural way.  What also attracted me to Saori is the ability to make clothing in a very simple way based on a rectangular form with limited cutting and stitching.  Saori clothing is usually loose fitting and very comfortable.

So, how did my first experiments go?

This was on a linen warp and was a bit wibbly wobbly and not very flexible.

I was soon playing with the colours and textures of the sea and shore and produced several lengths of cloth with a cotton and acrylic warp, at least I think they were, it was yarns I had inherited.

I think I went a bit mad with the texture!  As you can see there are plenty of loose yarns and fabrics hanging out of the sides of the weaving and this is quite acceptable in Saori.  The weavings were set to one side for a couple of weeks while I wove some scarves for Christmas presents.  There's nothing like using your friends as guinea pigs for your novice weavings!

This scarf has gone to my friend in Macclesfield and has happily been well received and eyed covetously by her daughter.  I think I may have to make another one!  Three others in different designs went to other friends but I forgot to photograph them! Doh!

Having got Christmas out of the way I have set to this week and made up a waistcoat with my sea themed weavings.  Ta da!

As it's Saori weaving it doesn't matter that one side is longer than the other.  I designed it that way. Cough!  The brooch that is holding it closed was a Christmas gift from one of my lovely stitching friends.  I am delighted with the vest but it's probably a bit more exotic than I would normally wear as it is strictly a sampler, so I am going to learn more about weights of yarn and warps when I go to the Saori Shed soon.  My little SampleIt loom is lots of fun but I am hankering after a Saori floor loom.  I am still quilting alongside the weaving and have thoughts of combining the two in some way but the weaving is very calming and relaxing and is good to do in the evening.  If you've ever fancied trying your hand at weaving have a go.  You can even weave with a piece of cardboard and yarn wound round it. Be warned though, it's addictive!



Amanda said...

It really is so beautifully textural. I have a little loom that has been gathering dust since 2009 and I think I may have used once. I keep it in the hope of using it one day. Well done you on achieving it!

Heather said...

I love your 'sea' weavings - the textures and colours are fantastic. I have tried tiny weavings on a cardboard loom but dare not get hooked on another skill which would mean more equipment and more supplies! I will enjoy weaving vicariously by reading your posts.

Gail Pierce said...

I spent the 70's and 80's weaving! I even sold weavings in 3 galleries. I'm very impressed by what you have done and now i feel inspired to take a look at the yarn stored in the garage! Happy New Year! xo

Emma said...

You can't have too much texture & a great way to use what we have - come visit my slightly crazy leg warmers, they'd go nicely with your beautiful waistcoat!

Maggi said...

Love what you've done already Julie and I can see this working with art quilts.