Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boys Can Weave Too

Mary Hays threading up her eight-harness dishtowels

setting up the countermarche tie-up

weaving at last!

Lynn threading up for spot weave linen toweling

getting accustomed to the treadling sequence

broken threads are often a by-product when one is learning spot weave

Alan getting ready to thread

weaving the log cabin pattern

such a beautiful pattern!

wearing before washing

The week before Thanksgiving we were busy with new and continuing students. Mary Hays came back specifically to learn how to set up for 8-harness countermarche, as she has a new loom that she wants to become friends with. Through doing her own threading, she became acquainted with her pattern before she even got to the long and somewhat tedious under-the-loom process of setting up for countermarche. And didn't all of that preparation and familiarity make her treadling a breeze? Pretty much. She wove off a couple of dishtowels in 8/2 cotton (warp and weft), and then went home to do the same thing on her new Toika loom, which she acquired through a series of happy, serendipitous incidents.

Lynn came over from Essex Junction to learn about doing fine linen spot weave. He's an interpreter in the Weave Shop at the Shelburne Museum who is passionate about educating his public, and wanted to stretch into a new challenge. He began his week by learning our multiple spool warping method, and then settled in to experience the joys (and frustrations) of working with fine linen. The particular pattern he was working with was a five-harness spot weave, which proved itself to be a relentless teacher. Lynn struggled with broken thread after broken thread, until finally we switched his tie-up to a four harness basketweave, so that he had a more stable shed opening for simply having an experience of weaving fine linen. Linen spot weave is one of those gold standards of weaving, not unlike the overshot coverlet, which is difficult to master unless one has hundreds and hundreds of hours throwing the shuttle and setting up looms.

Alan, who is one of Kate's nephews, came to learn how to weave, and frankly, took to it like a duck to water. He wanted to weave a long wide scarf, out of Jagger Zephyr wool/silk (warp and weft). The pattern he chose was log cabin. And, in spite of our misgivings about him taking on such complex work for a first project, he did lovely work, and went on to finish a blanket (for himself) up in Kate's studio at home, and is now working on another piece of fabric. It's been great having him around. He crews on the schooner J&E Riggin out of Rockport, ME in the summers, is an aspiring lampwork glass artist, and is going back to art school in Detroit this winter. You can take a look at his work with glass and fiber and photography here.

It's been great having a few guys around to shake up the continuous familiarity of the company of women. Thank you both for your presence and point of view!

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