There is something about the process of weaving all the tiny projects I have been working on these last few weeks. While I love my large projects on which I sometimes work for weeks and weeks, it is hugely satisfying to be working on small ones and turning out something new almost every day….new colors, new materials and new textures. But there is something else about the process, and I am not sure exactly what it is, that is opening up doors and letting ideas come flooding in. I am writing and sketching them and saving them for later. Sometimes from little projects come big ideas.
The last couple of weeks have been about making jewelry…”arm jewelry”, as I like to call it. I want to wear lots of cuffs and wristlets and bangles all the way up my arm. I am not sure how practical it will be to weave with all that stuff jangling away, but we shall see.
In my last post, I showed you the beginnings of a blue set of pieces. The bangle was the latest addition…
Since then, I have added two wristlets, another bangle and a neck ”bangle” (?) (I have no idea what that thing should be called)…
I am also using the sample pieces I wove when I was planning my silk journal covers and making them into arm adornments. I used more of that lovely cochineal-dyed silk to make another bangle and wristlet with leaf-themed patterns…
The berry-colored silk pieces are on the right. One of the wide bands is decorated with leaf motifs in supplemental weft and the other has a leaf pattern I invented for the Andean Pebble Weave structure. I used a slight variation of the classic Andean ”meandering river” motif to make another leafy pattern on the narrow band and bangle.
I used a tubular band pattern that I saw woven by weavers from the community of Chahuaytire in Cusco to make a bangle in the brown set (second on the left) and an Andean Pebble Weave band to make another (far left). The pieces connect using buttons and braided loops, or snaps, or end clamps and lobster claw clasps.
I then set about making a matching silk pendant for the light blue cuff I wove some time ago. I put it together like the brown and black pendant on the right. There was lots of pick-up to be done with tiny threads of 60/2 silk but the pendant only required one pattern repeat and so I was able to finish this project fairly quickly. I love these small projects and love my backstrap loom even more as it allows me to warp and comfortably weave such tiny things with little waste.
This is the pattern I used for the neck ”bangle”. It’s one that I wove using the Andean Pebble Weave structure and I was able to set it up with multiple sets of string heddles which made the weaving relatively fast.
You can probably tell that I had a lot of fun with these little projects. One idea that came to mind while I was sitting there weaving and sewing and struggling to put together tiny split rings and other jewelry findings, was how to edge the wool panels that I wove some time ago and had put aside to finish awaiting inspiration.
I have two raw edges with which to deal on this wool project. The cloth is really lightweight and I know that it would not support a tubular band which is what I usually use to edge my sturdy warp-faced projects. Besides, I don’t think a tubular band would work in this case to cover and stabilize the raw edges.
I really liked the way the pattern that I wove for the blue neck ”bangle” looked when it was rolled into a tube and so, I came up with this idea for edging my brown panels using that same pattern. Here is the sample…
The ”star” motif is a big part of the design on the large wool panels that I wove and so I think that this pattern will be a good match for the edging. I am going to fold the band in half and sew it so that the center pattern forms a tube. The edge of my panels will then be sandwiched between the solid brown sections which will cover and protect the raw edges well. A couple of little tucks help the band bend around the corner of the blanket and I am really pleased with the way that looks.
Here is the small sample placed at the edge to give you an idea….
So, from the little jewelry projects came the big idea of how to finally finish my large wool pieces….at last! The two wool pieces have been sitting in a box for months waiting for me to come up with just the right idea for this finishing touch.
I am still lumbering along trying to improve my braiding technique. This is the Peruvian braid that I studied with Rodrick Owen at the recent BRAIDS 2016 conference. I am now trying it in fine wool. You can see the chunky wool that I used in the class. My fine piece is full of flaws and wobbles due to poor tension and a little carelessness. I blamed the cotton for my last wonky attempt thinking that it must be easier with wool. The cotton is not the problem…of course, it’s me! and my lack of experience. Try again, try again. I’ll get there. The idea is to make a wrist cuff but I won’t be wearing this one! It goes in the Reject Box.
One last thing I have been playing with is lettering in silk. I am enjoying this a lot. There are no prizes for guessing what word I am writing. After completing this sample, I might weave a band with writing which will become the strap for another conference pouch.. I will tell you more about this lettering when I have sampled a bit more. Ruth, with whom I stayed in Melbourne, gave me the idea for this. I wonder how she has been getting on with her own lettering.
My online weaving friends have been doing some amazing things and I will show you all of that next time. Bands, yardage, scarves and fobs are being created by my backstrap weaving buddies around the world.
My friend Adem, in Turkey is always up to something interesting and has been at the beach weaving on a tripod loom. Here’s a sneak preview of more to come about this in my next post…