Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm So Underwhelmed

Lotto jackpot tonight was NZ$30 Million, and we arrived at the supermarket at 7:07, seven minutes late to buy a ticket, which might have saved us $22.50 because Ben and I don't win things. Instead, I invested in a bottle of "50+ multivitamins"; that's folks aged 50+ from the illustration on the bottle, not 50+ varieties of vits and minerals.

So the warp. The colors are sufficiently pretty; gradation and proportion regular, values controlled but sufficiently varied. Overall, blah. A couple of months ago I would have been thrilled with this warp, but this week I am not. I've thought of supplementary warps, but with what I have on hand, I haven't come up with anything inspiring yet.

I listened to Monteverdi while preparing the warp, and winding. I suspect madrigals and the Elizabethan flute & lute merriment are roughly of the same vintage; I like the transparency of the female voice in both, but I haven't listened to the latter in any depth. Still, I know madrigals occasionally contain unexpected (to the modern ear) notes, and when these are sung, I'm stopped in my track. I don't think I've had this experience with the Shakespearian interludes. I could be wrong; I don't know much about music. But I'm convinced this unexpected and yet still quite within-context surprise marks the difference between a pretty/blah warp and a warp one step closer to something amazing. I'd like to think Randy approves of this change in my taste/perspective.

Anyway, while threading, I switched to orca and whale cries, which became a little too desperate after half a day, so while sleying and sampling, I switched Enya, who has been the best match for this warp so far.

To combat the bland look, I tried strong wefts to overpower the warp colors, so the changes in the warp were mere suggestions rather than color changes. Nah, they looked dirty. Then I tried some of the colors in the warp, and two similar colors that didn't make into the final warp because they were either too saturated or different in value. Boring. The problem was, I kept thinking I've seen scarves like these before. In fact, I know I have.

Then it dawned on me that it's not only the warp that's bland, but point twill is also the problem; no matter how you dress it, point twill advancing in one way or another must have been done to death several thousand times over, and that's why regardless of what I try, they look so familiar, as if I'm imitating lots of someone else. It would take something truly spectacular to make this combination appear original, and now is not the time.

Just as a matter of habit, I sampled a couple of 60/2 wefts; I do this on almost all 20/2 cotton warps just to compare. It wove relatively quickly, and at 33EPI, it shows enough of the weave structure without suppressing the warp colors, but subduing slightly or uniting, depending on the weft color, and the washed cloth is very stable. I can live with this. I think I'll start with the top Wedgewood blue, (there are two in this piece, though it's hard to see the lower 1/3 is a pale white teal), and then study the sample piece under daylight and plan Scarves 2 and 3.

The edges look purple in the pic above, but it's closer to Wedgewood blue; the center is more browny yellow green. The warp pic at the top is pretty true on my monitor.

Gosh, even the pics look lackluster on days like these. I've been walking around the house imitating Alan Rickman's depressed robot. I don't even have the gumption to go over this post to tidy the tense; I'll just pretend that's a mechanism to convey my all-over-the-place-ness of the day. Night.


  1. Well, I think the warp is absolutely gorgeous and I think you ought to choose your wefts to bring out its beauty. As for structure, I'd go for.........don't drop dead here on me here.......plain weave.

  2. Nah, Peg, because I'd have to resley at around 30 EPI, I think.

  3. Im with Peg, its elegant and the point twill is so New Zealand. Think kete, tuku panels. The shading you've achieved adds a new dimension.

  4. "Nah, Peg, because I'd have to resley at around 30 EPI, I think."
    and why would that be a problem?

  5. Dianne, point twill is so New Zealand? Really? Just as a weave structure, or in relation to pacific weaves? I know what you mean, but I'd love a Kiwi perspective.

    Still, the textile doesn't sing, Dianne. It doesn't make you ache. You know...

    Gee, Peg, for one thing, I'm pressed for time. Two, (ahem), I can't be bothered... You're making me confess to all kinds of embarrassing stuff...

  6. The warp is bewetiful. Can I come to your house and you show me how to 'do' fine warps? I'll be your sleying slave in return. Or cook. Or clean stuff. I am having nothing but catastrophes, just useless, I am.

  7. Call me from the airport - I'm 7 minutes away. I'll put the kettle on before I leave.

    But more seriously, I remember a notorious stretch - actually two - one around 1996/7 and another around 2002 that went on and on and on - where every single warp I put on was short, not by a few centimeters, but for e.g. scarves ended up being half as long as I had planned. I don't know what was going on in my head but I couldn't do anything right and I started to worry that this might spread to other areas in my life.

    Then I just snapped out of it, like that. Can't remember what I did differently. So, dear Taueret, perhaps too much tidying? You can stop the spring cleaning now!

  8. Oh Meg...the warp is aching beautiful, for someone.....just not you at this moment in time.

    Pretend you are someone else on a different planet....
    Warp me up Scottie!

  9. You're always complementing me, Lynne, but you do know what I mean - it just doesn't sing to me.

  10. Actually you might not even want to resley. This way you would have a slightly warp dominant fabric and so the warp would show up more. Sara Lamb does this all the time with her painted warps and ikats. You might also consider using a weft yarn half the size of the warp yarn. I very much like, for myself, to work on interplay between warp and weft, but you've got such a beautiful and complex thing going on with the warp....

  11. I do have saner reasons I'm not doing plain weave, too, Peg. I haven't sampled first and foremost, and it's been years since I've done plain weave of any sort so I'll have to sample. In this particular series I don't want tracking, and I don't know how these yarns behave in that respect.

    Without resleying and using the same size weft is not an option - it's pretty stiff for my liking in a twill as it is, so no way in plain. Someone in my guild thought a previous sample in 2/2 twill had at liturgical look to it! Skinner weft is of course an option.

    Scarf 2 will be done in cotton 1/3 in size, but I'm afraid I'll stick to a twill of some kind, for a better hand.

    But I'll keep the idea for future reference, thanks.

  12. I do like the drape of twill. How about just a plain 2/2 twill. Keeps the drape but doesn't distract from the lovely color. But a warp-emphasis plain weave will have more drape than an even plain weave. Also, if you are using 60/2 silk, between its fineness and really hard pressing (I go over my scarves at least 3 times putting as much of my body weight into it as I can) with lots of steam creates a lovely thin fabric with good drape. You might try experimenting with pressing on your samples.

  13. No, no, 60/2 cotton. I can't afford to weave with silk.

    I think, for now, "my" thing is the complicated drafts, and I like them. In fact, Ben was disappointed I was weaving "just squares and not the usual curvy things", so for the purpose of this wall, to be installed 1 Nov, I'm going to stick to what I know.

    To me, a return to plain weave or plain 2/2, for exhibition purpose, at this point, is a huge step backwards. I need time to convince myself why I would want to do that, and then the warp would definitely have to be far more considered than this.

    That's my position; I'm to pressed for time to think or experiment as regards this exhibition, Peg. And I know I haven't got the time to sample like I normally do with exhibition pieces.


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