Yep! Â Today is my weaving birthday, and I’ve been weaving for five years now.
And here’s a photo of my first project (after the basic sampler):
The pattern is an advancing twill from Handwoven’s Scarves and Shawls, and I dyed my own yarns for the project. Â If I recall correctly, it was Jaggerspun Zephyr at 5040 ypp (even at that young age, my predilection for fine yarns was well-established!). Â The colors are fairly hideous and there were quite a few skips, but for a first project, it’s not at all bad. Â I’m still pleased with it, considering my experience at the time (darn near zero!).
At the one-year mark, I was taking baby steps into design, with help from Bonnie Inouye and many others:
This was based on the “Heart Throb Scarf” in Twill Thrills: The Best of Weaver’s. Â I took the heart patterns, flipped them so Â they were symmetrical (producing a “cat’s eye), then changed the satin threading at the reversal points to something more closely resembling the pupil of an eye. Â The warp yarn is hand-dyed in two subtly different shades of orange (and yes, that wasÂ intentional 🙂 ), the weft yarn in black. Â Silk and cashmere.
Between year 1 and year 2, “Tiger Eye” won me my first weaving award ever: a silver ribbon at CNCH 2008. Â I was thrilled!
At the two-year mark, I had traded my 16-shaft Leclerc Diana for my 24-shaft AVL Workshop Dobby Loom, and was happily dabbling in network drafting (with more help from Bonnie Inouye) and gradated colors:
Here I had dyed 28 shades to get a smooth transition from fuchsia to turquoise. Â Warp silk, weft cashmere.
Year three was a great learning year: I got a chance to study with Laura Fry at her house for five days (how marvelous is THAT!), studying how to weave efficiently and ergonomically, and incidentally also learning a bit about bobbin lace and collapse weave. Â That experience led me to my first publication ever, “Plain Weave Variations“, in WeaveZine November 2009.
Year three also found me hard at work on the infamous wedding dress:
…and, of course, year four brought the wedding itself!
Year four also brought me my first major award (“Best in Show” at the CNCH 2010 Fashion Show), and my first acceptance into a juried show (Convergence 2010 Fashion Show). Â I published articles in Shuttle, Spindle, and DyepotÂ and Complex Weaver’s Journal, and had a photograph of my work published in Handwoven.
In year four I also purchased a book, Kimono as Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota. Â This had a huge impact on my creative direction: on seeing Kubota’s breathtaking kimono, I realized that it wasÂ possible to create breathtaking textile art, and realized moreover that this was what I wanted to do with my life. Â I changed my life to focus on the Muse.
Year five brought a frenzy of activity. Â I explored a number of different techniques, like woven shibori, taquete, and diversified plain weave. Â I took a class in two-dimensional design. Â I started learning to draft my own sewing patterns. Â I started writing a series of articles for Handwoven. Â And, with Kodachrome, I got my work on the front cover of Handwoven!
Where do I want to go from here?
Here are a few of the things I want to accomplish:
- Study pattern drafting more extensively, learning to design my own sewing patterns from scratch. Â Develop a sloper, and use it to develop foundations for coats, dresses, etc. Â This can be theoretical work; it doesn’t have to result in a finished piece.
- Work more with knitted blanks, getting more control over the techniques and colors.
- Dye a more extensive sample set in Cibacron F dyes.
- Write more articles for Handwoven
- Continue exploring new weave structures
- Finish Autumn Splendor
- Have fun!
All in all, it’s been one wild ride, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!