I briefly mentioned the ongoing Explorations in Colour project that the Handweavers Guild of Cork members are working on last time. Colours were picked at random, from Red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, to ensure we end up with a rainbow of squares to exhibit.
I’m happy to say I was given green Let’s face it, the chances of it being purple were quite high and I’m not sure I could have managed had that been the case 🤢
Green is fabulous, green is everywhere here in Ireland, the farmhouse sits in rolling fields of green. Green, green, green and for a while there I couldn’t turn my brain off long enough to concentrate and begin my piece of weaving because I kept seeing green and coming up with ideas.
My normal approach to weaving is to freestyle, I largely go wherever the weft takes me 😉 There are a few exceptions, notably the first piece I ever wove on my Rigid Heddle Loom. Predominately, though, I tend to improvise rather than plan.
So, even though it goes totally against the grain, I decided to put a little more thought into this project and draw out several cartoons. (Technical term for the picture you follow when weaving, one of the few I know)
I pulled out a sketch pad, pencil, ruler and watercolour pencils and set to putting down some ideas. First things first, I drew out several 8x8inch squares – not as easy as it sounds when you can’t find your large right-hand triangle thingy. Regardless, my sort of square squares were eventually ready and I began playing with the pencils and some water.
Initially, I tried playing with a basic two colour stripe, which I think could look quite striking if executed perfectly. (not for me then)
Following on from the stripes I decided to explore squares in my second cartoon. The long slits formed by the straight vertical lines in the weft would make this one a little unstable,
The same can be said about my third cartoon, definitely too many vertical straight lines.
My fourth attempt, inspired by the many coloured fields and hills the house sits on, was what and probably still is calling to me.
However, having spent so long looking at the work of Tommye McClure Scanlin for the past 18 months or so, while I complete my Knitted Diary, I couldn’t help but be drawn to her 2009 diary, with its little blocks of colour that remind me of row upon row of buildings.
We warped our frames up at our February meeting, 4 ends per inch, which gives a fairly utilitarian warp to play with? That is unless you’ve decided to do little blocks of colour, possibly containing smaller blips of colour – smacks head. It’s a learning curve right?
Determined for once, to stick to the plan, I pulled out a selection of yarns from my stash. Predominantly they’re knitting yarns, which are a little too bouncy to give clean crisp lines, but it’s what I have and 2019 is all about using exhibits from the Yarn Museum.
You can see I’ve already had to change my weaving a little to suit my warp. The cartoon helps as a rough guide, but as I add in more weft, things are changing a little.
Continuing on with the next row of blocks, I’ve had to totally change the width of some of the slimmer rectangles. It’s really quite difficult to make the edge where one block ends and another begins, crisp and tidy, particularly if the yarn I’m using is springy knitting yarn. Where I’ve stuck to rustic tapestry wool, it’s been much easier to keep the separate wefts neatly in place.
As things stand and if time permits, I think this might be my first attempt and I’d like to think I’ll be able to complete the rolling hills piece too. That way I can decide which one I’d like to enter into the guild’s exhibition in October.
Time to head out to walk the dogs in the spring sunshine.