I have two out of three panels for the wall hanging finished. That sounds like a lot but these two panels are just the “quiet companions” for the center black panel which will be heavy with supplementary-weft patterning. So, while it might sound like 66% of the work is done, it isn’t so. Still, it feels good to have this project well under way. I have even wound the warp for the center panel and now need to install 312 heddles and wind 624 ends around the coil rod….it’s worth it!
The black panel will have a lot of supplementary-weft inlay filling both positive and negative space. Then I would like to join the three panels across the top using weft twining and need to plan a design for that which will suit the woven patterns.
The Montagnard (Vietnamese hilltribe) backstrap weavers with whom I studied in the US use weft twining across the ends of the panels they sew together to make blankets. Two or three panels are sewn together once off the loom and then weft-twined patterns are added to one edge.
Here are some the beautiful examples of twining on the edges of Montagnard skirts and blankets made by Nagch and Ju Nie…just the right colors for my project!
I have tried weft twining both on and off the loom and it is far easier for me to control while the pieces are still on the loom with the warp ends under tension. As my wall hanging is nowhere near as wide as the Montagnard blankets and skirts, I will be able to put the three panels on my backstrap loom side by side and twine all the way across them. That will be the only place that the three panels will be connected.
Then I will add some twining to the bottom of each individual panel. Again, it will be fun coming up with a design that works well with those on the panels.
I think they will need the weight of the twining at the bottom to help them hang well. I have always imagined that one of the possible reasons Montagnard weavers add twining and beads to the bottom of the loin cloths they weave is for the added weight. You wouldn’t want the flaps of those loin cloths blowing about in the breeze!
Anyway, that is what I envision for my wall hanging for the time being. Who knows how this plan will be modified along the way.
I have other ideas for perhaps edging the piece with a tubular band. So, I took some time off from the wall hanging project and brushed up on a tubular band structure that Marijke van Epen and I studied together when I visited her in the Netherlands last year. We had a picture from a book and were able after a couple of attempts to figure it out.
As luck would have it, just ten days after I got home from that trip, I went to Peru and came across a weaver from Chahuaytire, in the Cusco region, weaving and sewing one of these very bands to the edges of a large piece of woven cloth. I saw how he had set up the warp and separated the threads into their various heddles and was able to buy a prepared warp from him.
It was designed to go all the way around one of the typical large carrying cloths.
Look at all that luscious handspun thread! The thread was colored with natural dyes and some of the shades of green were very similar. This means that the pattern is a little hard to discern.
The example that Marijke and I had been studying in Nilda Callañaupa’s first book had been done in very bright and distinct colors…six in all counting the border color.
I have made a few examples and have decided that I prefer a quieter version. The minimum number of colors could be as few as two. That’s just as well as my wall hanging uses only three colors.
I have been sewing them along the edge of a wool band for practice. The one on the right is probably closest color-wise to the one in Nilda’s book. There is one fewer color in my wool version in the center.
Here is the three-color cotton version I made that I would prefer for my project:
And, while on the same break…basically dithering around before getting into what I was really supposed to be doing, that is, winding the warp for the black panel….I decided to continue the three-color Andean Pebble weave sampler. It was coming out so well that I decided that I really needed to use it for something. I will probably sew it onto a woven piece of fabric. Too bad we won’t be able to appreciate the fact that it is reversible that way but it just so happens that all the mistakes are on the back! Never mind, there are some bigger and better projects yet to come using this structure!
Now, if only I were as talented with fabric and sewing needle as Julia….
Julia and Cindy, who are both in the Ravelry group and who have taken classes with me on opposite sides of the US, got together at the Mannings to show and share their backstrap weaving work. Cindy lives n the northwest and studied with me at the ANWG conference and Julia and I got together a couple of times at the Mannings this summer. That’s Julia on the left and Cindy on the right.
Father Kyriakos in Australia sent me a picture of his Andean pebble weave work. He has both my books and is playing with color changes as well as working on using narrow patterns with reversals and reflections to create wider designs. I would say that he is a natural!
To finish, I have a word about my up-and-coming travels this fall. I will be starting in Vermont this time and am pretty excited as I think I will hit the fall colors at just the right time this year. I am giving two workshops there in the home of my host, Lausanne. She tells me that there is one spot left in the second workshop which is two days of Andean Pebble Weave on the weekend of October 12. Please contact me here if you would like to take part.
Well, that’s enough thinking ahead about how my wall hanging will be finished. It’s time to knuckle down and continue weaving it. I am off to dress up that black warp with its heddles and coil rod….see you next week.