Sunday, November 03, 2013

Pick up sticks

About this time last year we were shown how to warp up our rigid heddle looms at the meeting of the guild of Weavers, spinners and dyers.  Following on from that, I was able to weave quite convincing lengths of fabric.  It had got us started, but I felt that the two expert weavers who had led the session had more to teach us. 

At the last meeting we were given a quick rundown on how to use an extra loom stick to introduce simple surface texture.  Once we had grasped the principle, we were away.  About twenty people took the class and there were twenty very different outcomes, because the yarn combinations were so varied.  I had picked up a ball of tan acrylic on my way out of the house, thinking it was unlikely to be needed any time soon for another project, so I was surprised to see how it produced a successful fabric.

This image shows the heddle in place and, behind it, the loom stick picking up the warp to create the pattern.  Once the pattern row is woven, the stick is turned on its side and pushed back so that the heddle can be used in the normal way.  This is much easier than it sounds.Newspaper is used to separate the layers of warp on the loom.
It was my birthday this week, and we went to Norwich to have lunch at Jamie's Italian for a treat.  We also looked around the fifteenth century Dragon Hall - a merchant's trading hall which had been hidden within a row of houses for centuries.  Its position, between the river Wensum and a main trading street gave a good idea of how life was lived in those times.  We really enjoyed the exhibition.
One of my gifts was this fascinating book, recommended to me by the people at Gawthorpe.  On the cover, behind the main images, is the white quilt from Gawthorpe which I examined on my study visit.  Inside the book the writer, who had worked at Gawthorpe, analyses a large number of costume items, focusing on how the embroidery was carried out.  I don't think that I have ever seen this done in such detail before.  This, and the many quotations from eighteenth century sources, make it a delight.



Thelma Crape said...

Happy birthday and thank you for the update.

Anonymous said...

Belated happy birthday! That looks like a very interesting book.