Spring Rain Woven Window Panel

I was super excited to finish this piece, as it is one of my first projects that is completely non-functional. Don’t get me wrong, I love art that serves another purpose, be it wearable, or usable in some other way. But there is also something satisfying in making a piece that has utterly no function what so ever. I found it freeing to not worry about how this will fit, or wash, or be used. It won’t be used at all, except to hang on a wall and look pretty, and that’s okay!

 

This piece was woven with 12/2 cotton, a very fine thread-like yarn. I sett it fairly loose, because I really wanted to exaggerate the diaphanous transparent areas created by the ondulé weaving. Ondulé is a style of weaving that intentionally encourages the warp threads to bunch and spread in a specific pattern, creating areas of densely woven threads, and areas of spread out and sparse threads. This also causes the warp threads to bend and curve, or “undulate” (hence then name ondulé, which is translates from “wavy” in french). I chose to exaggerate these curved lines by painting short segments of the warp threads in charcoal and grey, and also by inserting supplemental warp threads of a heavier black yarn. These threads were trimmed long and left loose on the “front” of the piece, because I liked their natural and somewhat random curl. They squiggle and drape themselves down the length of the fabric, interacting in ways you don’t expect, catching the eye.

On the other hand, the back of the piece is also really lovely. When the black threads aren’t seen dangling, the piece has a much cleaner appearance. Instead of getting caught up in individual curls, your eye falls naturally every downward.

 

I’m biased, but I love both sides of this piece. My favorite way to display it is actually to hang it where both sides can be seen, especially if you can also catch light through it. So right now it’s hanging in the window nook in my studio. This is where I was imagining it as I wove it. The thinly woven “bubble” areas shape the light, like droplets of water on a window pane. The painted threads and black yarn create trails, like a droplet of rain that has traveled down glass.

 

As I was planning this piece out, I had countless ideas for other “window” designs. I hope to continue the series with other things I see as I look not only through my window, but at it.

Alpaca Reflective Walking Coat

I’ve been working on this coat, in some form or another, for almost a year. I’ve been planning it for even longer. I think my New Year’s resolutions for two years ago included something about “sew a garment with my handwoven fabric.” And now I finally have!

The fabric for this jacket was hand woven on my 54″ 8-shaft macomber loom. In fact, this fabric is the only thing I ended up weaving on that loom before reselling it. There was nothing wrong with the loom, but it was simply too monstrously large for my needs. It worked great for this one project though.

I used a simple tabby draft, and counted on the fun colors of the yarn to make the fabric work. And the reflective strips of course! After weaving, I wet-finished the fabric to encourage a bit of felting. It “blurred” the colors of the yarn together, but I’m still quite satisfied with the results. The reflective bits show up nicely, and don’t affect the drape of the heavy fabric.

This coat is very imperfect. I ended up rushing a bit at the end, because I decided at the last moment that I wanted to enter this piece in a textile art show at a local gallery! Which is super cool, and which hopefully I will mention again if the coat gets accepted, or even if not! But yes, I had a hard deadline for photos to submit, so I was definitely trying to get some of the bits done at the very last minute.

I’m still incredibly happy with how it turned out. The lining fabric is Spoonflower’s satin, in a fun patchwork-like design I was excited to find just for this project. The pattern is McCall’s M6800, it had good instructions and a decent fit, though as mentioned I was moving fast and not paying a whole lot of attention.

Salt and Pepper Transitions Scarf

I’ve mentioned many times how much I love commissioned projects. Not only for the ego boost, but because it encourages me to try things I might not have done on my own. Even if the request is pretty open ended, it will likely send me in a direction I wouldn’t have otherwise. Basically, I think of some commissions as free inspiration.

This woman who requested this scarf wanted a gift for her friend. Her friend had decided to stop dying her hair and start embracing the grey hairs. So she wanted to give her friend a black and silver reflective scarf in honor of that.

I really enjoyed thinking about that transformation as a concept; the transition from solid black, to mixed “salt and pepper,” to solid silver.  What would that look like in a weaving? How would it look around someone’s neck?

To achieve this look, I set up the warp to be solid black on one side, and then start alternating silver, until it ends up solid silver on the other side. Then, I used the same method to change the weft from black to silver in the same way. This gave my an asymmetrical scarf, with one end thats black and mixed and the other that’s silver and mixed.

I like that the scarf shows the combination of colors every step of the way through transition. From the first scattering of fine threads, to the dense mixture. And of course, with the twinkle of the reflective light all the way through.

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And of course I couldn’t resist doing one of these:

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If you’d like to commission a scarf, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 🙂

Sea and Sky Scarf

I had a lot of fun recently working on a commissioned scarf for a woman in France. She wanted a scarf in her favorite colors, dark grey and blue. One of her favorite memories is of looking at the sea one day, and where it met the sky, and seeing so many shades of blue and grey together. I didn’t have yarn in the specific shades she was looking for, so I had a lot of fun dyeing it.

I dyed the yarn while it was tied up in “braids” specifically to get an “uneven” dye effect. I like that there are areas that are lighter or darker. My favorite yarn is the one that is part blue and part grey. I first dyed it in the same grey bath as the warp, but removed it early. I then unbraided it and re-braided it to expose different areas of the yarn. Then I partially dip-dyed it in the same dye as the blue. This created lovely randomness in the transitions between the blue and grey.

I’m definitely pleased with how this scarf turned out. It was lots of fun to sort of spontaneously dye a whole lot of yarn and just see what happens!