Friday, June 19, 2009


I wish my camera was working, so I could show you this stage. (I dropped the camera on the studio floor last week, when I was taking a picture of some handspun. Cameras don't like impacting with tile. Oops.) Well, I can show you what led up to this moment.

We live in Arizona, and periodically drop down into Mexico to visit the beach in Rocky Point. It is amazing what a difference in atmosphere a 4 hour drive can make! The colors of the ocean and sky, the constant wind and never ending sound of the waves, the smell that is so different from Phoenix desert... I've taken many a picture of the place, trying to capture some of the magic.

I was sitting watching the waves one day, and was struck by a bit of inspiration. What if I wove an undulating twill weave shawl, in the colors I saw in front of me? I jotted down the idea in my notebook, and went back to enjoying the day.

Some time later, I was at the Griffin Dye Retreat, and spotted some merino/tencel roving in colors that reminded me of my time at the beach. Beautiful soft shimmery stuff! I couldn't resist. I spent way too much for my budget, and started spinning up single ply yarn for weaving. The spinning wheel even came with me on my next trip to the ocean, so I could sit and spin and watch the boats go by. :)

Along the way in there, I had the opportunity to take a workshop with Sharon Alderman, author of "Mastering Weave Structures". As part of the class work, she helped me draft out my own version of an undulating twill pattern. I made up a small sample in cotton, to get an idea of what colors might work together.

Finally, after spinning on and off (lots of off) for a couple of years, I had all the fiber ready to go.

I did my calculations, and measured out the warp.

And, crossing my fingers, I started putting it on the loom.

Since this is single ply, I was terribly afraid that all I would get was a twisty snarly mess, particularly when I tried to put the warp on the back beam. But yesterday I took a deep breath, and wound it into place. It took a bit of fussing, but every thread is exactly where it ought to be. Today I tied the ends onto the front apron rod, and tied up the chains that connect each treadle to the appropriate shaft.

I love this stage. It is order out of chaos. Every thread is exactly in place. The loom is simply humming with potential. I can see in my mind's eye all the wonderful things that could be, and finally...finally...I can throw the shuttle and potential will turn into reality.

I think I'm going to let it sit, just like this, until next week. The whole studio is holding its breath.

1 comment: