Sunday, 25 January 2015

a weaver I am not (yet)

Sunday evening. Again. I don't know about you but I think time is passing far too quickly these days. I remember summers lasting seemingly forever and now years pass in a blink.

I spent the weekend in my friend Emma Jo's studio. Her studio is one of many in a large industrial building in Dennistoun  entirely occupied by artists. If you have the opportunity to come to Glasgow, make it the first weekend in October, when the artists open their studios for us normal mortals to indulge in fabulous art. annual. If you need accommodation, I have space for a few friends.

Anyway, Emma Jo not only a great artist but also a friend and neighbour. She is the most amazing weaver I know and recently finished 18 months of studio weaving to weave a medieval tapestry series for Stirling castle. I particularly like Emma Jo's portraits, some of which you can see here. I quite fancy one of those for myself one day.


Like many girls, I had a small loom but I don't remember doing much weaving at all. I must have used it I guess but produced nothing worthwhile keeping. I do like to learn new crafty things and learning from an expert is just much more fun than learning with YouTube. I particularly wanted to find out how to weave shapes.

We started off with a frame that Emma Jo had prepared for us by stringing it with warp, which is a bit like string but less springy. I think she used 6 warps per inch. First we had to wind bobbins with yarn of our choice. The yarn was not quite double knit (I am guessing), it was rough to the touch, not yarn that I would like to wear on my skin. We used it doubled up. Emma Jo often weaves with other types of yarn, some of which you can see above. Anything goes but it should not be too springy. It is important to secure the yarn to the warp. This is done by attaching it to the warp with a row of knots (two per warp). We then weaved some simple passes to practice smooth turning. The next challenge was to change colour and to weave a triangle shape. This was followed by smaller squares and a pattern for which I don't have a name. It is the one in red and turquoise on my sampler. The last challenge (which took almost all day today) was to weave a circle. This was to practice curves. I found this rather difficult and although I got off to a good start, my finished circle is  more of an illusion of a circle. I guess I'll have to practice a wee while longer before I make my first portrait. This will probably by one of those yellow and black smiley faces....






Although the principles of weaving are not complicated, actually doing it nicely was a lot trickier than I thought it would be. I struggled with keeping the sides neat and straight if you look at my finished sampler, it is narrower at the top than at the bottom. I am also really rubbish at making knots to attach new yarn, or (depending on the pattern) in between passes. I can tie shoe laces no problem but using this skill on the loom was an altogether different matter. Curves are also very tricky and I can't even begin to imagine how to make a shape that uses different elements of what we have learnt these past two days. Weaving for two full days was tiring on the back and the eyes. I think I have a squint now but I haven't dared looking into the mirror to confirm this yet.







Will I weave again? I think so. I have nothing to weave with at the moment and will add things to my Birthday wish list. I don't need a loom of any kind. Emma Jo uses simple wooden frames for all her work. These look like picture frames. I might need to buy some warp. Maybe a couple of bobbins but again, Emma Jo uses her fingers for her portraits, and single lengths of yarn. I could try that but my sausage fingers may not be dexterous enough just yet. We'll see. In the meantime, I have a Missoni scarf and a blanket for Annie to finish.

This marks the end of a really nice weekend. I did thoroughly enjoy doing something different and I am sure I'll be thinking back to the class with a smile on my face. And if this wasn't enough, the house is clean and all kids were taken to their various social activities in time. They were unusually busy this weekend. I am very grateful that Richard didn't insist on his Saturday bike ride and was happy to take over my role.

What did you do this weekend? I hope it was something nice. Have a great week. Cx

20 comments:

  1. What a great post, so interesting. It is hard to keep the sides the same but I love that sample. Are you going to hang it up. Jo x


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  2. How good to spend the weekend doing something completely different. I've never tried weaving either. It must have been exciting to see your design take shape. We had a potter around a local market today and brought home some nice things to eat for lunch. Have a super week ahead, Christina xx

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  3. What a fantastic weekend, you did really well. And how lovely to have a break and do something completely different. Your friend is talented indeed. I did lots of standing out watching football this weekend. I'm finally warm again now, happy sigh. Wishing you and yours a good week. CJ xx

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  4. Isn't it just great to step outside your usual routine and have some time to devote to a new skill. I love the look of your sampler, the colours are so vibrant. I would have thought that you needed lots of equipment to achieve this so it is very interesting to read that your tutor uses minimal kit. X

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  5. That sounds like a wonderful weekend and with excellent results too. I would have been pleased to have done that sample. I have been working this weekend, teaching embroidery at a residential course. I'll have to take you up on your offer on one of our trips to Scotland... I have yet to visit Glasgow!

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  6. So glad that you had such a good time at the class and weekend overall too!! Your work is wonderful, I love the orange hill towards the start of the piece - it probably isn't a hill, but that is what it reminds me of! The circle is great too!! How wonderful that you would be able to do this at home and don't need masses of things to do it. I hope that you will give it another go as I am interested to see more! Purely selfish there! You did a great job!! xx

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  7. I am so impressed I love what you have managed to produce in one weekend. I love the bright colours, it would look brilliant on a dark wood table, or hung on a wall. Have a great week.

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  8. I love what you have made, it sounds like a fun way to spend a weekend. We were staying with my brother and all had a grand old time :)

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  9. I love that you tried weaving, free form weaving like you did is just so amazing, like painting with yarn. Well done.
    Meredith

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  10. That is fab! Lucky you having a go at weaving, I would love to try it one day.

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  11. Obviously she is very talented, can't imagine the skill it took to do that portrait weaving. Lucky you to be able to do this with such a talented artist.

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  12. I had one of those little looms too! Gorgeous colours that you've used, which is half the fun don't you think? Look forward to seeing some more weaving.

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  13. Gosh this takes me back a bit. I remember learning to weave at school back in the day. Glad you enjoyed your weekend. Many thanks for popping over and leaving a comment on my post.

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  14. It sounds like a really good workshop. My mother in law is a weaver and she does beautiful work. I'd really like to learn someday and I think she would be willing to teach me but I think I'd be really bad at it. I don't want to annoy her. But I may ask her eventually. Your weaving looks beautiful and I think you're going to do just fine.

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  15. Ooh, I want to go there too! Learning to weave is still on my To Do List... one day. It looks and sounds like you had a great time. I may need to add that to my Things To Do in Glasgow list for next time I'm there :-)
    Lovely weekend here too - we hosted a Burns Supper complete with haggis, neeps & tatties!
    Hope you're having a happy week,
    hugs xx

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  16. Your weaving looks really good. It looks like the type I tried at the Big Weave in the Mournes a few months ago. I bought myself a peg loom after that event as I thought it also looked like a good way to do some weaving.

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  17. I don't know much about weaving but from what I've seen and read here, it looks interesting and something I'd like to try one day. Your circle is not perfect -yet!- but it is a circle and I think you're doing very well. x

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  18. What a fab way to spend a day ... I can't wait to see where weaving takes you!

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  19. I must get my loom out again. More clearing up to do first, but I know exactly what yarn I'm going to use do I'm finding it hard to wait!
    Jillxo

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  20. What a fantastic day! I love what you've done so far and cant wait to see what else you do :) xx

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx