Friday, March 25, 2011

Has It Really Been Three Months?

Has it really been three months since Mary Margaret began her long-term study? It seems as though the time has flown by faster than any of us could imagine. She was busy during her last three weeks here.

The photos above show her working on a set of 8/2 cotton dishtowels in a turned twill using an 8-harness countermarche set-up. The basic pattern was derived from "Shaker Towels For the 21st Century" by Mary Elva Congleton Erf. It took a whole morning to rig the tie-up, versus an approximate half-hour for a counterbalance tie-up, as each harness is connected to the top and the bottom of the loom. Each treadle carries a piece of the very complex pattern to create different combinations of 4-up and 4-down to form the sheds. Four harnesses make one twill and the other four make the second twill.

Mary Margaret said she loved working on this project because there was so much more pattern potential. It was her first experience weaving with a countermarche set-up. Her towels are beautiful, are they not? Her color choices with this pattern made for a very striking fabric.

Two weeks ago she produced an incredibly handsome venetian carpet. You can see how rich her color and design sense are from the above images. The rep weave carpet was warp-faced with carpet wool, with a chunky cotton filler that Kate dyed a beautiful mottled umber, which set off the selvedge quite nicely without distracting from the brilliant color patterns in the body of the rug.

During her last week with us, she sat curled up in a sheepskin nest under a sunny barn loom and worked on her finishing...darning in all the hundreds of fine color & bobbin change ends on the summer blanket/winter sheet, darning in all the ends on her fine linen towels, & darning ends on her turned twill dishtowels. It gave us all an opportunity to admire her quiet diligence when faced with days-on-end of such tedious but necessary work, and to reflect on our time with her, which has surely been several months of coming to know better a serious, intelligent, funny, sweet, and very dedicated student with a great love for the traditional textile arts.

Here are Kate and Mary Margaret late Thursday afternoon, enjoying some welcome spring sunlight, surrounded by all of MM's beautiful work from the last three months. It has been a delight for all of us to work, and study, and learn with you, Mary Margaret! We will miss your presence very much in the coming weeks, we wish you all of the very best in your continuing adventures.

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