I have never been so happy to get something off the loom. I am talking about THIS:
While I suppose that the black panel looks nice enough on its own, as do the red ones, the three simply weren’t working together for me as a whole. They just weren’t ‘in sync”. Apart from that, I was learning lots of “what not to do” while weaving the black panel and I wanted to start anew using all the lessons I had learned.
And so,I wove on and on so that I could squeeze in as many lessons and discoveries as possible on that one piece of cloth before abandoning the project. But my heart wasn’t in it and I just wanted to get it OFF the loom!
So, finally it is off and folded and taking shape on its way to being ”something”. I have to admit that now I like it on its own despite some of the wobbly lessons learned along the way. As long as it is nowhere near the two red panels I can be pleased with it.
In the meantime I dyed a skein of green Guatemalan cotton black in preparation for the second attempt at the black panel. Then I took a break and wove a backstrap for Terri. I really needed to warp and weave something that I was pleased with and get my head together before diving into the black panel thing again.
For those who don’t know, Terri is Magical Moons. She makes beautiful swords for backstrap weaving as well as other cool wooden tools and implements. I asked her to make wooden hangers for my three wall hangings so that they could be shown in an Exhibit at ANWG last June.
After exchanging several emails with measurements and ideas, Terri knew exactly what I had in mind and her finished work far exceeded my expectations.
Then Terri suggested I make her a backstrap in exchange for the hangers which I thought was a cool idea…two craftspeople exchanging our handwork. All I knew was that she liked “earthy colors”. So, out came the terracotta dye.
I like a backstrap to be wide and thick…wide enough to spread the job it does comfortably across the back and hips, and thick enough so that it does not fold in on itself on the sides.
This is a backstrap that I would like to have….sturdy and butt-cradling….
But, we can’t all have backstraps like those.
I used Aunt Lydia crochet cotton size #3 for Terri’s backstrap. I wouldn’t consider #3 heavy enough for a good backstrap in just warp-faced plain weave. I wove a center strip of pick-up pattern which was thick and made the plain borders match that thickness by weaving them in the intermesh structure (this “thick border” structure is taught in my first book).
This made for a nice thick and sturdy strap.
I have bunches of backstraps! My “favorite” regularly changes. Right now, I am using a simple piece of fairly thin leather with shoelace ties that a friend in the US found and gave me. It does the trick. It is actually pretty rare to find a backstrap weaver here in Bolivia who has gone to any particular trouble over her backstrap.
But then again, just how badly do you want to weave? Sometimes you will put up with anything to get your hands into a warp!…like just a piece of string around the back as you can see below.
Okay, so I wove Terri’s backstrap, got my thoughts and ideas in line, and then felt ready to get back into the black panel project. I just love winding that black warp and sitting in my loom looking at all those threads stretched before me.
This time around I am making a conscious effort to ensure that the black panel sits happily between its red partners. I had made the mistake before of thinking that the design on the red panels was quiet enough not to interfere with what was happening on the black one…not so.
Finally,I am feeling much happier about it and darn, now I have to leave it to travel! In sync and then out again…oh well.
What to take as an on-the-road weaving project? I have to take clothes for two seasons….the cool to cold US fall and then the warm to hot beginnings of the Australian summer. I will need to think carefully about a small project to squeeze into the bulging bags.
Here are some projects from Icha in Chile who has both my books and is getting along just beautifully with the Andean Pebble Weave structure.
She has two projects going at once on her frame. Carolyn, an aspiring bee keeper, contributed her original bee pattern on the left to my second book. The hummingbird motif on the right is from my first book and comes from Taquile Island in Peru.
Now, here’s something just for fun….
A friendly gentleman from Cochabamba that I met the other day noted that I am more or less bi-lingual. (I say “more or less” because, despite being here for so many years, I find myself always apologizing for what I perceive as my imperfect Spanish. I think that being a language teacher makes me very hard on myself.) He then went on to tell me that he, too is bi-lingual. He of course, speaks both Spanish and Quechua. I then had the idea that it would be fun to record some phrases in Quechua so that you can hear how it sounds.
I have recorded the phrases along with a slide of the phrase in English that would perform the same function.
Delfin’s Quechua is that of Cochabamba and I gather that it varies from region to region. When I was at the Tinkuy in 2010 in Cusco, Peru with a group of weavers from Cochabamba, they talked about how the Quechua spoken in Cusco differed from the Quechua they know from Cochabamba. They said that the Cusco variety was more pure than theirs as speakers in Cochabamba have adopted many Spanish words which they mix with Quechua. There were quite a few Quechua words being used in Cusco that they simply didn’t know.
I have not written the phrases in Quechua to go with the recordings. When I was traveling and learning to weave, I would have someone repeat a phrase several times and invent my own way of noting the sounds on paper in order to memorize them. Sometimes one of my weaving teachers would ask me to teach her a greeting or a question in English for fun. It is interesting to hear how beautifully someone repeats exactly what you say without seeing it written down and then how distorted it gets once they have seen the written words and then start to reproduce their interpretation of them rather than just the sounds.
The word that Delfin uses for “beautiful” is the same one I learned in Potosi. I didn’t hear it being used in Cusco.
The word for ”delicious” is always useful as, when I have visited people in the highlands, I have always been offered food. Even if you can’t say anything else, that one word and a smile will go a long way to show your appreciation.
I once spent an entire day on a mini bus in Peru getting to Ayacucho. Everyone on the bus was highly entertained when the gentleman sitting next to me decided to teach me numbers in Quechua. No matter how convinced I was that I was pronouncing the Quechua word for “one” correctly, everyone on the bus would crack up when I said it….and the numbers get progressively more difficult from there! The only one I could manage without sending everyone into fits of laughter was chunka…the number ten. It was a long road from one to ten! That was a fun trip.
Of course, nothing was written down. It was always a very good exercise for me, as a language teacher back then, to be put in the learner’s position. I realised how quickly I arrived at the point where my head was about to explode trying to memorize and reproduce all the strange sounds. I would go back to the classroom as a teacher with a different approach after that little reminder.
Here’s a Youtube video with the numbers:
To finsh I will show you what Kristin from Ravelry wove on a backstrap loom using a beautiful reed that she made herself…
Please visit Kristin’s blog for details of this spectacular project and more about that gorgeous reed. I am in love with this neat little set-up!
See you soon again from the US with some beautiful fall colors, I hope.