“THROUGH THE WINDOW”
16TH January 2021
Welcome to Challenge 2021. Once again, a big thank you to all contributors.
A tree through the year
I tried to portray a tree through the year, with flowers to fruit to snowy twigs. Lots of inkle braids, and a fair bit of twisted woolly stuff, but all from my huge stash. The mossy wall was soft felted, and it is all stitched to a hand painted piece of calico. The title could have been better done, but I was too near the deadline, as ever.
Rainbows in the fells
Scarf woven in Knoll Supersoft Shetland. Straight entry threading with zig zag design in lift pattern. Inspired by rainbows against the fells.
New weaving technique
I didn’t have much inspiration for this, but thought I’d try a new-to-me weaving technique and something that looked vaguely window-like. The idea is to look through my window (the glazing bars are brown rather than black, but still dark) at the sky and fields beyond.
This is 2-block double weave with cotton from my stash, of unknown make/weight. Using my 8-shaft Louët David loom, it had to be tabby. I had woven with the yarn before (unsuccessfully!) so had an idea of what sett would work – 20epi, so 4 ends per dent in a 10 reed. I have 4 pages of notes as I had to calculate, sley and then thread the pattern correctly.
After all that, the weaving was straightforward and I didn’t make too many mistakes. In retrospect it would have looked better with thinner black lines. To use the fabric double, I should have ‘stitched’ the layers together. I should really cut it and use it single for tea towels but I haven’t been brave enough yet, so it’s just a large sample.
This was inspired by the view through the middle three panes of my conservatory window into my back garden. When it became clear that we were in it for the long haul, I decided to carry it on through the seasons- right to left is spring, summer and autumn.
Hand-made felt, wool and silk dyed with natural dyes, mostly from my CoA samples.
Blue Remembered Hill
I wanted to make an optimistic view based on the Colours of Spring, but that did not work. Meanwhile, as I spent so much of 2020 looking back, the phrase ‘Blue remembered hills’ kept recurring. With the deadline approaching, I settled for the simple method of applique, using bits from my fabric stash. I cut out and tacked the pieces onto a rectangle of stiffened fabric, edged it with doubled fabric for a solid-looking frame, made the glazing bars from tape, and curtains from muslin. Then I looked up the phrase, which comes from poem number forty in A E Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad, and found an interesting short lecture on YouTube: (162) An Air That Kills: Housman’s Blue Remembered Hills – YouTube.
I do see trees from my window so I started to play with tree patterns. These are samples on a cotton warp using silk, cotton and a textured cotton as wefts. I did make a bag with this design, but sent it off as a Christmas present, forgetting to take a photo. I will use the design for something – I can add more trees or have a single one.
For many months the Cana Lilies have bloomed bright red and the Herdwick sheep graze in the field beyond. The Cana Lillies came from Rosemary’s allotment last year.
This rather crazy hat was designed as part of my CoaS (still ongoing but finish-line in sight). It is spun from Suffolk and Herdwick fibre. The Suffolk was dyed (acid milling dyes) in a mixture of red/yellow to make orange/yellows and reds. It had been pre combed so I had to treat it gently. It was then spun as a slub yarn singles. The Herdwick was combed and spun as a high twist singles. For the ply the red Suffolk was “wrapped” at approx 45 degrees to the taut black Herdwick. This is an improvement on my green slub, (which many of you have seen as a jumper). I realised this time that to make the flame yarn the slub yarn wraps around the thin yarn and not a straight ply as I had done previously.
It is called a flame yarn as the slubs look like candle flames once plied. As this technique almost totally wraps the Herdwick it is a perfect way to peruse my mission to “Make Herdwick Sexy”.