Back on Track on Birthday Eve

It's like this.

I belong to a group called Cross Country Weavers, and once a years, we exchange two woven samples, one in a group theme structure, and another in anything you've been working on. It's supposed to be an enjoyable learning experience.

My group's theme this year was Corkscrew, which is, in short, multiple twill threadings being intertwined within one cloth. Kind of.

I started reading about this structure last year just to get a feel for it, and it was either going to be a piece of cake, or it was going to do my head in. At my exhibit, on the quiet days, I read up on it and started to make notes, but because I read too many books, and weave structure definitions can vary, I got completely confused. So I went back to one book, listed the characteristics of this weave, and designed a few original ideas on the computer. Two of them looked workable, in a way that they were totally not the look I normally weave. And then it hit me.

The only way I can explain this to you is like this: say you've eaten bananas all your life, and sometimes they taste delicious, sometimes not, but on the whole you love them. And then one day, you get a bad one, and it nearly kills you, and the doctor tells you you're allergic to all fruits and the next piece will be really finish you.

Corkscrew had me so frustrated I was actively avoiding weaving and things to do with weaving probably most of March and April. I didn't avoid weavers, and I faked at being excited about what I heard, but I couldn't even look at a weaving book or my yarns, and it was mid-April when I finally got around to cleaning my looms. At one point, I was ready to sell everything and get a job.

Interesting things were happening, like I heard two gallery/museum shops were interested in stocking my scarves; I was asked to submit a proposal for a Nelson artists' exhibition taking place in Wellington in conjunction with World of Wearable Arts award show later this year, and most surprising of all, a gentleman from the local newspaper emailed me, and said he read my Get a Life post, and asked if I'd like to contribute an opinion piece in an unpaid-but-by -request-only section. And I sold the most pieces, ever, this April. All through this, I kept telling myself, "If this isn't the most exciting thing in my short career, I don't know what is!!" And still, I kept pacing in my living room like a living dead.

But I missed my fruits. I missed weaving, and being a weaver, and I figured if the corkscrews I drafted were so bad, I could get one out of a book and weave it. So I measured the warp on Friday and dressed the loom on Saturday and sampled my two drafts today, and you know, they're not bad. I can think of things I could do mixing different colors, and I wouldn't mind designing a few more.

So today, I ate a banana, and instead of killing me, it cured me. And it took getting back on the loom and throwing the shuttle to get me out of my creative coma. Serves me right.


Tomorrow is Unravelling's first birthday. I've been preparing to post something completely different, but this post suits the occasion better, so I'll leave it at that. I thank you all for visiting Unravelling, your encouragements, compliments, ideas and suggestions. I really appreciate your taking the time so I can bend your ears and get you tangled up in my ill-tempered warp.

Thank you, again.


  1. i have no idea what this corkscrew structure is - i'll have to go and consult my (few) weaving books, but hope you are going to post pics! sounds interesting. I'm glad you got your weaving mojo back.

    I couldn't get the point you made a few posts previous about tension - point A. about NOT tying on new warp and threading through reed and heddles. could you clarify?

    I have to admit I'm rather resigned to the warps being very variable lengths when I finally get to tie them onto the front beam..... but then I'm a very amateur, part-time weaver!

  2. Hi, Lettuce! Thanks for visiting on the birthday. Yes, weaving mojo, exactly!

    I am definitely a part-timer because of the time I waste not weaving! And I don't profess to being a professional, either; I just try to sell my pieces. It's an interesting distinction whether you call yourself a professional vs. amateur - or when you decide to call yourself a weaver as opposed to weaving as a hobby; this is one of my favorite points to ponder.

    Re. the tying, say you want to weave two or more warps of the same threading with the same number of warps, for example, two exact same scarves except in two different color warps. When you finish weaving the first warp, you cut off your woven piece, and you have a bit of thrums sticking in front of the reed, don't you? And the thrums are threaded and attached to the back beam, aren't they? So, you can tie each warp yarn from the next warp chain onto one thrum/yarn of the previous warp, in order. Then wind the back beam. Get the picture?

    Tying one warp end at a time is a little time consuming, but you don't have to thread them through the heddles again; you just pull them through the reed and heddles gently.

    If you can keep the tension even, this work a treat. If you're still confused, I'll take a picture and post or send it to you the next time I do it.

    Oh, and the corkscrew.... I shall post that, too.

  3. Glad that you got the whole corkscrew thingy off your chest and have decided to move ahead. Funny the tricks our minds play on us.

  4. Yes, thanks Beryl. It was a strange experience.


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