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!