Tuesday, May 15, 2018

To Boldly Go Where Many Weavers have Gone Before!

I abandoned the stretchy cotton cowl project for now, and started the other idea I had while making Ben's scarf: I'm knitting Mom a short tubular scarf; she won't have to fold it in a certain way to achieve maximum warmth and it'll be short and tiny so she can put another decorative scarf on top and then put on a jacket/coat if she likes. The width is similar to a sleeve. And because it's tubular, i.e. less purling, it's going quicker.
The problem is, though, and I see this not as a problematic problem but one that requires thought/direction, is I find this more boring than Ben's. I'm using three strands rather than four I did with Ben's because it needed to be fluffier and lighter for Mom. Ben's had two strands of 100% in one color, one strand of a second color in 100%, and a fourth in the second color in silk/cashmere, which gave a comparative solid color plus light bits and sparkly bits. In comparison, Mom's has one strand of the first and the two others, so the overall color is lighter, but the cloth looks more mottled; funny that's the first word that came to mind while I used to see it more complex and interesting.

I don't know if my taste is changing, if I want to make/include bold into my visual vocabulary; I don't know if bold necessarily means flat, or if something can bold and complex/layered. I hope it can, i.e. a scarf can look bold from a distance, but delicate/complex/layered close up? See how many adjectives I can come up in defense of not-flat??
This is what I started on Esther's warp. The warp is far less complex than the previous clasped weft warp, only a gradation of five achromatics. I've put my cousin's husband's piece on the back burner because I haven't come up with (a) good weft color/s.

I wanted to use only black and white in the weft but don't have enough white, so I'm using a mid-gray as well. This white isn't even white but a very pale gray, and I wanted to use another pale gray, (second stripe from the right,) as the middle weft, but had none in 20/2. So the one in use is the same as the middle stripe, which makes logical sense.

It's FAR more time-consuming clasping at two places per pick, not just twice as. I want the lines to be more or less parallel, but that's not as easy as I thought. With three colors, the middle color determines the size and the shape of the two stripes on the sides, so every pick I should weave the mid-gray first, but I find that unnatural and want to start from the side. What's weirder is the lines are so different from each other. I don't know why they're turning out this way, except that it's raining and the light in the basement is different, not necessarily darker, but with the new position for the loom, unfamiliar. I also envisioned the mid-gray being much skinnier, sandwiched between black and white, but that's not working, yet, either.
Some weeks ago I took gazillion pics of leaves from one tree. I had clasped-weft composition in mind, but also, you know what they say about mixing red and green in textiles? The more they say "don't", the more I see possibilities. Hee hee. Also rare for me to look to nature for inspiration, but then I had an hour to kill before Ben was ready to go home, and saw the tree in the parking lot.

Which reminds me of something I read a few nights ago: "If I had been a real writer I might have found post-modern beauty or at least a few lines that pretended I did. But I was an islander from an island at the world's end where the measures of all things that mattered was not man-made, and such sights that moved modern literature did not move me." Richard, Flanagan, "First Person"

I look to stories, fiction or non-fiction, history, art, architecture and literature/lyrics for inspiration. I grew up near Tokyo, and then spent a few years in Minneapolis pre-Internet. After 23.5 years in NZ and most of it in little ol' Nelson, and in the era of ever plentiful Internet, I find myself split in two: a keen awareness of not knowing what's going on elsewhere, or not being able to see it/them in person, of my own FOMO, (that's "fear of missing out", Mom,) on the one hand; and the relief from and appreciation for living far, far away from the trends/fashion/news/noise. That's something I've had to learn how to do, but I prefer living in the basement inside my head. 

Pat came over yesterday to have a look at my clasped weft pieces, my stash, and my basement, to strategize. Online sale is still front and center on that list; I'm moving at a fast snail's pace in the culling department, but I do see bright lights at the end of a long and curvy tunnel now. Pat clarified for me rules for keeping/culling yarns and art supplies:

1) Nelson and New Zealand are hard places to get interesting/good yarns or art supplies, and postage and exchange rates are crazy even with Internet shopping,  and now we're going to be taxed 15% sales tax on all overseas purchases. Experimenting is good, keeping yarns “just in case” is not a sin, and I have some interesting stuff, so keep what I’ll have a hard time replacing unless it violates 3);
2) Tapestry loom may take me into different direction/s so I may want to hold on to certain yarns with which I may not want to weave scarves but want to use as wefts. We see lots and lots of bag fabric;
3) Clarify experimentation and non-product material from nice-garment material. And for goodness sales, Do not waste time weaving "not me" pieces I’ll then have to make excuses for in making them sound attractive. Nice. OK.

I spent last night rewriting my new rules into actionable culling checklist, and I'm ready for another go. There is always FOMO about yarns that survived years of culling, but I do have oh, so much nice thin merinos, cottons and silks that I want to weave with! But then what if I want to change directions completely and work with fat yarns for bold expressions?

And we haven't even touched the subject of books.

6 comments:

  1. Note to self: "Complexity"
    1) pattern/s from afar vs pattern/s close up, or obvious vs background
    2) close hues/values/intensity/sheen, incl fiber contents
    3) texture and/or yarn style/form

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    1. "Bold"
      1) size/proportion
      2) hues/values/intensities - saturated? relatively uniform?
      3) uniform texture? flat??
      4) simplicity? lack of layers/mixtures?
      5) lack of movement? really?? but direction would work.

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  2. I love what you've been knitting, especially the BOLD cable on Ben's scarf. Could it be that the reason Mom's scarf looks more mottled is partly because of how the many cables, instead of just the one, break up the surface?
    I'm right with you, re: living in the hinterlands. Except I no longer have FOMO...I just don't care anymore.
    Yikes, 15% tax on imported goods??? Unbelievable... I could see them doing that on stuff that's already highly available in NZ, but not if it isn't. That's like forcing people to be Luddites if they can't afford the tax.
    xx

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    1. 15% is our normal sales tax for everything, incl food, Connie. Houses may be exempt; they were in the 1990s. Imports under NZ$400 escaped it until recently, but now the government is asking all Internet stores to tax us; over NZ$400 got stopped at the port of entry until we paid up.

      I'm pleasantly surprised I finally managed one "bold". Now looking at my gazillion skinny yarns, I wonder how on earth I could make "bold" out of these guys. Mottled referred to the colors, but either way, these are the looks I've always liked and tried to create. (And the cables move up, have you spotted that?) So it's a revelation I like something else at least for the moment.

      FOMO. Yes. I do so love seeing paintings in person, oils in particular, but also prints. It's something I only picked up in the last decade or so, and I finally got the hang of seeing paintings in crowded galleries, so I want to do some more before I can't see/walk any more. That's been one of my non-verbal sensations I've become addicted to! Also, stone architecture, but that's getting harder and harder to even dream of.

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  3. I hear you about feeling isolated. As I get older I find myself reducing the effort I am willing to take to go out of my 'comfort' zone. There are so many places I would love to see in person, but there is tv and internet and my desire to actually travel becomes less. I feel nostalgic for places I've never been, and never will (like your beautiful islands, so far away). My 'palette' of yarns is also reducing as I cull, er, weave down my stash. My favourite yarns are like good friends. They rarely disappoint. OTOH, as I look at 'retiring' from trying to sell my things I find an interest in exploring the creation of cloth in a more intellectual way. The journey continues. No idea of the destination, but the journey is the thing. :)

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    1. Laura, I kept a large amount of stash because you keep using up yours, and I thought if you can do it, I should be able to do about 1/20 or 1/50 of that. (I also have small amounts of unravelled cashmere sweater yarns, after seeing you and your mother work on them!!) Ahaha, not for this world's slowest weaver, no, madam.

      My FOMO for missed weaving opportunities/ideas/project/options is overwhelming, but I hope culling will allow me to concentrate better on styles I thought I loved. (Yeah, always open to changes, but I hope I won't regret the culling priorities.) Pat thought there wasn't much I could cull further as there were reasons I kept what I still have, and they made sense to her and she's seen what I do, and also knows some of the things I'd like to try, but we couldn't help chuckling because I have a lot.

      I'm the kind who needs to sit among available material to think up projects because materials inspire me, too, but also lack of availability. And then of course there is that holding-on-to-with-scale-wool-at-all-cost thing... And then!!!!! Pat wanted to check the wool boxes at the back I hadn't dared approaching since I spilled books on the stash room floor, and lo, we find some of my drawings, and, oh, dear me, I miss my life drawing classes. I so enjoyed them!

      So of course you're right, it's what we do on the way, in our time. Of course it is! Otherwise I can't keep weaving in the hopes I get better as I also had a short but sharp unravelling of me-as-a-weaver thing recently,because I'm not getting better but quite the opposite.

      I so share your nostalgia for places I haven't been, France, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Morocco, Tunisia, also French-speaking Canada, Mexico, Argentina. NYC, parts of London we couldn't afford to see. Even to revisit Minneapolis! TV and the Internet is better than nothing, but the air, the food, the eavesdropping on languages I don't understand! I even love having the telly on in foreign places just to see what kind of shows and even commercials they have. For two weeks in China in the 1980's, I kept their political broadcast on. I had no idea what they were saying but I found it entertaining. But for the foreseeable future, I must keep going back to Japan every so often, even though the 11 hour flights are getting so icky I want to bang on the emergency exits about 4 hours in and jump off, which while flying TO Japan is somewhere around Fiji! Europe is forever a dream, but if I should ever have a chance, I will most definitely break up my trip somewhere in Asia, because I haven't been to those places, either.

      And yet life goes on, and for that, I am ever so grateful. And for the Internet to allow me to connect to others from around the world, and right here, weavers and others. :-D

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