Someone asked me recently how long I’d been weaving, which prompted me to go look it up. And yep, today celebrates a year, a month, and a day of weaving.
Looking back on it, I’m amazed at how much I’ve developed as a weaver. I started with a pretty ambitious beginner’s project – the rainbow shawl, which looked extremely complicated but which I assessed (correctly, as it turned out) as being no more difficult than any other pattern, so long as I followed the instructions carefully. It isn’t my favorite shawl anymore – I think some of the color combinations are garish – but it’s a reasonably well-woven piece.
From there I went into weaving shawls and scarves for the family – basically a simple collection of crowd-pleasers – and then tackled my floral cashmere shawl. I remember dyeing the yarns for it – I was nervous about dyeing such fine silk – but it came out fine. Another recipe project, the snowflake shawl, came out well too.
Then I got interested in more advanced weaving theory, and bought a copy of Bonnie Inouye’s Exploring Multishaft Design. An absolutely indispensable book, it taught me a lot about weave patterns, and, emboldened by this, I took on and modified extensively a pattern in Twill Thrills: The Best of Weaver’s to create the tiger eye shawl, the first one I could really describe as “my own design”.
Then I bought a 16-shaft loom, and really started to let loose. First I finished the huck lace shawls that were on the Baby Wolf at the time, and then I warped up with the painted-warp shawl. I struggled a lot with the loom at first – it was a nightmare of skipped threads, tension problems, and so forth – but eventually got it (mostly) working.
Then, I went into a relatively simple project – the 16-shaft placemats – which turned out to be a mistake, because with such a simple pattern I rapidly got bored. After weaving those off, I went into the tiger cocoon jacket, and voila! Here I am now.
12 weaving projects, about one per month. Not bad considering the complexity and fineness of some of those projects, and that I was training for the Death Ride and holding down a full time job for most of that time. I also have a much better understanding of weaving theory, and have had a real ball at weaving.
So what about the next 396 days? I think my ambitions are:
- Understand network drafting
- Use network drafting with painted warps to create something akin to the beauty that Sandra Rude makes with her complex patterns
- Understand dye and color theory much much better, so I can apply it in weaving
- Play with complex designs in doubleweave
- HAVE FUN! (although, that seems to come with weaving 🙂 )
I figure that with another 40-odd years ahead of me (cross fingers and hope!), I have at least some hope of plumbing the joys of weaving. I just with I had 400 years! I suspect even 400 years wouldn’t be enough. I love weaving.