I've become energized about coming out of semi-retirement and weaving other than self-indulgence projects. It took a month to determine what I want to focus on in the near future, after months of not knowing what I want to weave for the Suter Store. (Interesting how retail outlets are called "shops" in New Zealand, while "stores" may refer to storage facilities, yet websites often have "store finders", and the Suter calls its own a "Store". It's a conspiracy to trip up implants like me, I tell ya.) 

I categorized the kind of weaving I've engaged in, and ordered them on a scale of difficulty/ease or time spent making a piece. In doing so, I realized I love designing, planning, and sampling, and don't mind loom-dressing, so I was comparing only the actual weaving part. 

The easiest/quickest is on the four-shaft Jack, with easy treadling. This can be a twill, basket weave, (two shuttles, but easy once you get used to it,) or something like this:  
Then the option slits three ways. One is clasped-wefts on the four-shaft with easy treadling, which can be time-consuming but not difficult; I just have to pay attention to the line two wefts create. And the good news is, a young jewelry maker called my attention to the fact two weft colors look more effective than three or more. Who doesn't love it when the simpler option works better.
The second option is to weave a slightly more complicated pattern on the Ashford eight-shaft table loom, (which I'm not using at the moment as I find it hard to monitor the pick since the breast-beam-to-heddle is too short for the purpose,) or even Klik, (super easy to dress, cumbersome to lift/drop shafts, which is why I tend to save this for learning new structures or abbreviated sampling.) But cashmere survives the shed in both looms.

The third option is fussy twills on the 16-shaft computer dobby. I usually use one shuttle at a time, but the shafts are lifted with an air-compressor-solenoid combo, so the rhythm of weaving is left to the mechanism rather than my body, and it's a bother weaving backwards when I make mistakes. But I like the look and hand of these. 
Cashmere, though, can't withstand the large shed of the 16-shaft, so in future, I'll be using more 30/2 merino in the warp and cashmere in the weft as I did in the piece below. Although I learned to weave on 16/2 merino and I miss them dearly, these thinner merino will allow even skinny silk in the weft, so I'm looking forward trying that.  
At the most time-consuming end is the tied-unit weave I indulge in. I'm also looking at different ways of including random shapes onto the woven cloth, but I haven't focused on a particular method yet, and I must do a lot of sampling to figure out whether it's worth the time required to weave a piece this way vs. the visual impact of the clasped wefts, for example, not to mention the hand of pieces with uneven wefts.

I guess categorizing isn't going to determine what I'll weave when; I'm going to keep weaving what I want to. But I hope thinking about this will help me use my time more efficiently so I don't get bogged down on only the pleasure projects.

There is a lot to look forward to. I'm currently weaving the last piece on the gray-ish cashmere warp on the Jack; I was so looking forward to weaving more in a similar pattern on a two-grays warp for a while, but now I can't stop thinking about clasped weft in saturated pules, greens, teal if I have some. (The burgundy warp is half-length, so two scarves, which makes it even more tempting.) I'll keep you posted.


Leigh said...

Good job on the analysis. Sounds like a good tool to keep your focus (as opposed to "now what." which is where I often find myself.) I love the burgundy. And I think I hear clasped weft calling my name! That will be a new one for me to explore.

Meg said...

Leigh, once I started writing, I found all the answers in front of me. Which made me think, "Oh, I've been doing this awhile."

Do try clasped weft - it's time-consuming, but not difficult once you get used to it, and I'd even say, great fun.