I used garden wire as a warp – the green stuff, plastic coated.  It was quick to warp on  6 epi.  I wove in double weave to make a tube and used lots of different strips of plastic.  Green, transparent green, white, yellow.  It sort of matched some of my art work.  Of course it was flat and looked more like a squashed caterpillar but it would TRANSFORM magically once released from the loom (aka chryslis).

Well………  3 hours of work later…. it did not look at all caterpillar like.  I can hardly bear to post a photo of it.  Should I ? 

Even my husband was lost for words (and that doesn’t often happen).  I don’t think I have ever woven anything un inspiring before.

I didn’t give up. A lot of time and energy had gone into getting the PVC, I couldn’t just give up on it.  I tried warping up on my 8 shaft table loom.  I used polypropolene garden string as warp.  It comes in lots of different colPVC Weavingours and isn’t slipperly, knots well.  I chose yellow and blue and warped it in stripes. 

It wasn’t as bad a disaster.  It was colourful.  It was PVC.  It looked a bit like plastic deck chair covers.  I persevered for a while.  Honeycomb weave didn’t work particularly well – I think I would need more shafts to make it look 3D with PVC.  Basket weave looked OK. 

I looked at it critically.  Did I want to spend 4 more months trying to make something look OK, when it was only looking fairly mediocre at the moment (with rose-tinted glasses on).?  Did I want to be a PVC Recycling Hero ?  No.  Why not do something that straight away looks quite good and with some more work and inspiration could look fab.  Well, I tried…….. Do I get environmental brownie points for trying ?

But not to worry….. I have inspiration for a new project……..

It’s hard to pin-point the ideas I have at one time because, by the time I’ve finished the sample that was my way of exploring them,  my ideas have moved on.  

I will try and explain the thinking behind my first set of samples (even though some of my ideas have changed now).

Pinecones    – blocks of dark and light ( the scales being light andthe shadows in between being dark),  generally brown (oh… I know… I will add a contrast…play around with photoshop for a while…)

brightened image of pinecone scales

brightened image of pinecone scales

OK – so orange, yellow and red.  Pinecones symbolise rebirth, and winter so maybe fire colours are a good idea.  Or so the thought went at the time.

I wonder what would happen if I developed the spaced twill scarf idea, (see pinecones pinecones pinecones post for photo) using 2 warps.  I put a brown felting wool on one beam and multcoloured cotton/linen warp on the other 2nd beam.  I wanted the 2 warps to loop over each other – you know, blocks of colour and blocks of shade..

looping the warps from the 2 different beams

looping the warps from the 2 different beams

 

I was being driven by my aim of making mens’ winter scarves.  But I really wasn’t very happy with the result.  The fabric wasn’t very stable (maybe might have improved with a bit more rigorous washing.).   The colours and texture looked less than sophisticated.

The rest of the same warp yielded one interesting sample.  Where I had done pleats in the warp, (need the 2 beams), interesting little pockets appeared on the reverse. 

Pockets on reverse of double weave pleats.
Pockets on reverse of double weave pleats.

But all in all, I was not happy with the warp or choice of colours.  The way the warp had different stripes of colour meant that it was not easy to hide the colour, so all the samples looked similar.  The colours were too strong.  I was hoping for more subtlety in this this project (all my other projects had been described as having  ‘strong use of colour’ – not bad in itself but I wanted to prove I could do ‘subtle’ too. ) I mentally started on the design of warp 2.

Well, I’m well into the first year of a 2 year course at Bradford College – THE weaving course, apparantly – there’s nothing much else like it round the country.  Distance learning with long weekends in college every couple of months.  Great people on the course.  Learning lots.  Spare time since I started it in Sept- Nil

We’re on project 4 now.  I may go back and do a few photos of previous projects but for now, I intend to stick to this current one.  My design thoughts (in varying degrees of practicality) come thick and fast.   Getting anything down on paper in time before the next urgent idea blasts through is a challenge in itself.  I hope blogging will help me keep track of all my ideas.  A bit like a notebook that I can’t lose.

Project 4 – is about Double Weave (or Double Cloth).  I’ve done some of this before and loved it.  Easy on 4 shafts.  Can make it look like layers of leaves

Double Weave - 2 layers 'stitched' down along centre

 

Double weave -2 layers with all layers stitched down in centre

 

 

Cabbage leaf

 This Spring Cabbage leaf was the inspiration
Or the layers can be stuffed….
   
Stuffed double weave sample

Stuffed double weave sample

 In this case, the naturally cotton (onion skins) was stuffed with indigo dyed sheeps fleece.

Large Totem Head
Large Totem Head

The inspiration for the stuffed double weave.  Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.     www.ysp.co.uk/.