Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pushing the Boundaries a Tad Too Far

I have no idea what I intended to do, except I felt compelled to weave a length of wool that could be stiffened to stand on its own when turned into a cylinder.  And considering how quickly I put it to practice, I must congratulate myself on my rare spontaneity.  Other than that, I have these two hideously ugly wool... things in 12+ colors.
Thinking back, what I had in mind was a stiff wool tube, straight at the bottom, (which would have been the right selvedge) but jagged at the top like a mountain ridge line, (created by varying how far to the left each pick would travel,) standing on its own.  I had Grand Canyon in mind, but not exactly replicating the images.  Once I got started on my rigid heddle, (first time weaving on it since 1998-ish), I forgot about the jagged left side and concentrated on the color interaction.

I used around 12-15 balls of yarns, and some variegated, so there are a fair number of color combinations.  Because I wanted the cloth to almost felt in the wet finish, I included a lot of handspuns, but as I didn't have many in dark colors, I ended up mixing a fair amount of light naturals.  I discovered I don't like anywhere near an even distribution of values, but prefer in the first instance darker values with a little bit of intentional light spots, and in the second, mid-to-light values with darker values containing/governing the light, as in grids or strips. 

What took me by surprise was how completely I hated this kind of unstructured weaving; so much so I felt sick by the time I cut off the first piece.  As regards weaving, I really do prefer the tightly controlled, structured environment where about the only thing I do spontaneously would be to decide on the warp/weft colors as I make warp/weave. I might have been happier cutting up paper or mixing paint.  At least I never expected a physical reaction.

With these pieces, I need to look closely at the colors, probably with L-shapes, because I know there are interesting bits in the mix.  While I wove, for example, I noticed how one particularly unattractive Azuki Bean brown changed hues in the company of purples as opposed to oranges, and that was around midnight last night, so in the daylight it would be a different story again.  As well, when these dry completely, (they just came out of the dryer,) the values may lighten up a bit.  I would still like to see if I can cut the edge on one side to create the mountain ridge line.  

Otherwise, yuck, yuck, yuck for now.


  1. You have to overstep the boundaries occasionally, otherwise you'll never know where they are!

    That being said, I really like the colours you've got going on in the flat piece.

  2. Yes, I got so used to pushing the boundaries in various design and drawing courses I don't worry about them too much any more, but boy, this was a hideous one. I didn't enjoy the experience at all.

  3. Is the weave stiff enough, or will you use starch or glue or something to make it rigid?

    It's an interesting idea, good to explore different things, even if only to return to the familiar with a sigh of relief..

  4. I had thought the weave would be stiff enough, but after wet-finishing, in a rather harsh way that included me stomping on them, dunking them in the hottest and coldest tap water, and spinning them in the wash machine, they are not stiff. Though when made into smallish cylinders, they might stand up. I'm also considering perhaps folding/cutting several pieces, layering them and maybe stitching them together to give it some thickness.

    I wove this at night, and during the daytime, the colors aren't as subtle or attractive as I had expected, so I'm a little disappointed in that respect, too. But they can't be used for anything practical, so I'm determined to do something.

    I have thought of starch/glue option; they will remain on the "possible" list, but I don't want to change the appearance of the fuzzy wool cloth, so if I can do this mechanically, that would be my first choice.

    Suffice it to say, Dot, I have enough to experiment with.

  5. You should be able to get some good sturdiness from stitching layers together, particularly if you have them already shaped into a curve when you do it. (So, the inner piece is actually a different size to the outer piece, if that makes sense). I've done that with regular craft felt with a reasonable amount of success before.

    And if that doesn't work you could probably cheat by getting some buckram or canvas to sandwich between the layers, to make it even sturdier.

  6. Ah, didn't think of a canvas sandwich, Sonya. If all else fails...


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