Q: Did you have enough variety in your collection of yarns and other materials? Which kind of yarns, etc, did you use most? How do their characteristics affect the look and feel of each sample?
A: I have quite a large collection of yarns and other materials but I did invest in several different colours and weights of rug wool as I hadn’t used that before. I used threads and yarns more than plastics, fabric, ribbons, trims and so on although I gave them all a turn. The yarns give a soft, even coverage – a very carpet-like appearance – whereas the plastics, Lutradur and so on are much harsher, with a coarse rigid surface. I only used silk ribbon as Ghiordes knots but I think there is scope for that to be included more in the actual weaving. Some of the trims I tried scrunched up well in the weaving process whilst others remained big and ungainly looking.
I had the most pleasure working with wool.
Q: How did you find weaving in comparison to the other techniques you’ve tried? Did you find it slow or too limiting?
A: My comments on this have been extensive throughout each exercise in this section. This project has taken me roughly double the time I had allowed for it in my weekly class plan, which is extremely disappointing. Had I known at the beginning what I know now with regard to how my health would hold-up I would have bought a table loom and avoided a lot of angst and wasted time recovering from severe neck pain. The instructions in the manual for making and operating a simple stretcher frame loom are very good but I’ve not found this system suitable for me. If we are expected to weave in future courses I will immediately invest in a proper loom. At this stage, purely from a health angle, weaving is not something I will be continuing with.
This is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed learning the weaving process, I simply need to find a method more suitable for me to work with.
Q: How do you feel about your finished sample? Are you happy with the relationship of the textures, proportions, colour and pattern to the finished size? Is there any part that you would want to change? If so, try to identify exactly how and why you would change it.
A: I’m reasonably happy with the outcome because I did a lot of planning in advance. Never having done weaving before, but realising how difficult it is to undo, I drafted quite a few scenarios and recorded colours, shapes, block sizes and patterns before starting. I even counted rows in some sections so I could see how large the pattern would come out and the length it would cover in proportion to the rest of the piece. This enabled me to assess where I needed multiple yarns lengths together to get the sizing correct.
I would change the chaining section and do it first so I could control the tension better as it would be closer to me. Swapping the first section and the last section would work better as the single Soumak is easier to get right at a distance than the chaining.
I made further comments about this at the end of the Stage 4 blog post.
Q: Was there any stage in the whole design process that you felt went wrong? How would you tackle this process another time?
A: I dislike the blue piece I did in Stage 3 – Experimenting with different materials. The source picture of the sea is terrific, the colours are good, the detail of the picture is excellent but my interpretation is chunky, cumbersome and with no finesse.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like large weighty materials in my weaving. I’m a detail and precise person. I like finer work than this and would prefer to see the whole thing done on a much smaller scale (closer warp) using fine-spun silks and cottons.
Obviously I needed to try a sample with these other items and have learned from it. Hence one reason I went back to the wools for my main piece in Stage 4.
Q: Which did you enjoy more – working from the source material or putting colours together intuitively? Why?
A: Both approaches have their place and I enjoyed the process of them both (despite the sea outcome) but my preference is for putting colours together intuitively. I feel that in Stage 4, although I chose option 2, I combined some elements from both options to get the result.
I used source material as a start point in my Tribal theme but then adapted it for my own purpose, creating my own design out of the basic visuals I put together.
I think there is always a place for materials to be used as inspiration and to kick-start an idea or two. Evolving those ideas is where the fun starts.