Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zing 101

I finished Scarf 2 this afternoon. The weft is the same Delft Blue but 60/2 in size, so the warp colors shows through. In fact, in this combination, Delft Blue did not dull the cloth but united the warp colors. (Not sure why Blogger insists on rotating this pic, but you get the... picture.)

On the loom it looks painfully fragile, and I kept thinking of this girl Naomi from school. She was so delicate I was afraid if I spoke too loudly she'd break in half, but she ate like a horse and never missed a day of school. Like Naomi, the washed sample in this very configuration is solid, though with a slightly wiry feel.

I am familiar with analogous, achromatic or monochromatic. These are the kind of textiles I grew up with. When I was little, my mom, her big sister and I would go to several fabric shops once or twice a year. My aunt could sew, and Mom used to have one suit and a coat, or two suits made every year. The two sister would discuss styles, colors, and shoes, and handle every bolt in every store they knew of, and walk out and try yet another store. They didn't have a lot of money, but they had expensive taste, so they had to make absolutely sure they were buying the right fabric. When I'd get so bored I thought I'd pass out, we'd have lunch at a cheap noodle shop or the restaurant in the department store, then finally we'd go back and get the chosen fabric, in absolutely the right amount, so there was never more than 10cm of fabric left when the garment was finished. And then there was button shopping. Anyway, both girls like soft, elegant understated cloth. (Mom's 78 today, and she was putting on a warp for a small double weave mat this morning. She says hi to you all.)

While weaving Scarf 2, I was of course happy that Naomi was turning out quite nicely. Nice to be reminded I still have it in me to do this kind of color schemes, because I felt I had deliberately stayed away from them for too long. But what about the zing?

It's no secret I adore Randy Darwall and Brian Murphy, but the Randall Darwall enterprise is doing very well without my having to make cheap imitations here at the bottom of the world, and besides, I'm too pig-headed to copy anyone, even if I knew how to copy RD, so that's not what this is about. It's about my having been to a workshop called "Making Good Scarves Better" two years ago, and having been challenged/coaxed to experiment with colors; it's about moving towards making cloth that's difficult to replicate on machines; it's about one-offs. And the truth is, I've successfully avoided experimenting with colors up to now. But I knew it's been on my life's To Do list, and the time had come.

First I told myself it was OK if it turned out ugly, and I heard the voice of June MacKenzie of Marlborough Weavers quietly reminding me, "Somebody will like it." Then I had to make my mind up to do it today. Then I had to have a lie down, and then a hot bath.

I was determined to start small; it didn't matter that I anticipated saying, "Is that all?" when I finally saw it. I considered asymmetrical because it seemed so dangerously attractive, but for now, it was prudent to take baby steps.

So what am I on about? I put supplementary warps; 10 orange and 16 gold ends. And boy, my heart was pounding and my hands shaking, but I knew it was not going to be anywhere near "loud". And after I saw the warp with 26 additional ends, I did think, "Well, is that all!" But here you have it. My first Zing; a taste of things to come.

I have enough warp for two pieces, so after this one, I'm thinking of adding a few more supplementary warps, and possibly resleying at 36EPI. In Randy's workshop, some weavers were adding and deleting supplementary warps left, right and center within our small samples, so that has crossed my mind.


  1. this one talks to me! subtle as sea grass waving in a shallow pool. nice.

    Happy Birthday mom!


    I love the colors very spring - y!

  3. MMmm. What a lovely color combination. Go for it!

  4. Thanks for the birthday wishes, everybody.

    Lynne,wow. And I mean... Wow!! Poetic.

    Deep End, it is spring-y, isn't it! Early spring-ish.

    Leigh, thanks. Baby steps.

    The weft is going to be a pale baby blue which, in this context, is so white it almost has a metallic feel. I'm looking forward to see how the whole piece looks. The color is almost... if you have a lovely baby blue cone, and you leave it in the Nelson sun for a bit, it'd fade into this color called Rain; it has a slight yellow tinge to it.

  5. to my eyes, this is the most beautifullest one yet. HAPPY Birthday Mom.

  6. Thank you, Hope. But wait - it gets brighter!!


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