CNCH was wonderful! I had a great time looking through the vendor booths, and I met so many people I’d been corresponding with for years! And, of course, it was great getting so many compliments on the dress, after all that work!
I’m pleased to say that one of the people I met up with was Pat Stewart, who lives in Berkeley and is an expert on computer-aided drafting (especially Photoshop techniques) and doubleweave. Pat graciously agreed to help me figure out doubleweave, so I’ll be going up and visiting her sometime soon. I hope that will help me wrap my head around doubleweave!
I am now considering what to tackle next, and am at a bit of a loss. There are so many things to try! There are 40 samples in the COE handbook, some using techniques I’ve never even heard of. I must confess, from here completing the COE looks pretty daunting. But I think it’s important for me to get “a broad liberal arts education” in weaving, so I’m going to start in on it anyway. If I finish all the samples, great; if not, it will because I found a topic to fall in love with, and that’s fine too.
Since I have both a table loom and a computer-assisted loom, I’m thinking I may break my usual path and weave two samples at once, doing the weaver-controlled samples on the table loom and the loom-controlled techniques on the AVL. The advantage of the table loom is that, once all the levers are flipped, the shed stays open – so I can do the weaver-controlled techniques without having to hold down one foot on the treadle. But for loom-controlled, of course, the AVL wins hands down.
First on the sample list is tapestry. I had never thought I’d be interested in tapestry – I tried it once briefly in my very early weaving career – but reading through the book and seeing some of the design possibilities is piquing my interest. The only problem is that tapestry is traditionally done in wool, and in considerably heavier yarns than I typically use. So I would probably have to order a whole new set of yarns to tackle it, and I can’t afford that until after the wedding. It also involves a lot of colors of yarn, and again, that’s not something I have. So I’d either have to buy lots of small skeins (expensive) or dye them myself (time-consuming). Nothing insurmountable, but I want to meditate on it a bit longer.
So it seems likely that my first samples will be doubleweave, since that’s what currently interests me. I have some vague design ideas that I want to work up (mostly involving doubleweave on gradated color warps) – hoping to be able to weave some shawls on the same warp as the COE samples. Probably not the fastest way to approach the COE, but I’m more interested in enjoyment and beauty than time. If it takes me four years to finish the COE instead of two, that’s just fine.
One more distraction (O, the world is rife with possibilities!) – a dyer I was chatting with at the conference suggested that, as I was planning to dye a lot of samples and was interested in mastering dyeing anyway, I might consider looking into the COE in dyeing at the same time as the COE in handweaving. I think that would be interesting as well, so I’ve ordered the COE-in-dyeing booklet. I’m hoping to get the same experience in dyeing that I have in weaving. Tools and techniques are important if one wants to achieve mastery, and my over-arching goal is still to become a master, so these courses are important, I think. I don’t need the certificate, but I do need the education.