Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dyed and Plied and thoughts of weaving creeping in

Since my spinning is more about making raw material for weaving, the attention I've been paying to better consistency and fineness of yarn is about artisanship more than about immediate use.

But the plying, or playing, adventure has continued and now I think a weaving needs to be made.  I plied together two yellows, one from turmeric, very strong color, with a subtler one, from I think yellow onionskin.  I also used up the rest of that fluff I showed you yesterday, and plied it, correctly this time, with the fluffy blue, which is why there are two balls of that in the pix.

And, since readers do like a bit of insight into the creative (!) process, I thought you'd like to see what's up on the future weaving scene.  I was thinking about the landscape possibilities of the colors of yarn I've woven and dyed in the last few weeks, and have some ideas here. 

But, rather than force them on you, would you like to take a look and see what the colors and their placement and relationship seem to say to you, about subject matter? as you see, I moved them a bit from one pic to the other, looking for balance.

You'll notice that the red and white variegated yarn is about the same sort of thickness as the yellow variegated one.  This is funny, because the red and white are what's left of spinning I did ages ago as a beginner, after dyeing the roving with KoolAid, and that was the best I could do for singles.  Quite ropy!  then the yellow one is now two of my singles plied together.  So it's a quick visual of how I improved my single spinning.  And I'd welcome any reactions to this very raw beginning of an idea.

Plying goes incredibly fast compared to spinning, and I keep on being left behind by it, needing to wind on before I realize it. And I found that though I can ply with my left hand, to get the z twist I was supposed to do yesterday and forgot, I have a lot of trouble winding on with my left. I'll keep doing it, though, to get the skill up.  

And then I found I can in fact spin either s or z with my right hand, now that I come to try it, yay.  This is very useful. So I ended up spinning z with my right hand.  All this is handy for many purposes in life, aside from spinning.  Always good to keep up dexterity if you can. And to avoid over using one part of your body and having to compensate for it.

Anyway, I was upstairs poking around the studio looking for looms (in my case this means cardboard bits with notches cut in them, for small works, picture frames for bigger ones).  Simple rules. I found that my favorite has some weaving on it, in gold foil thread, so I left it alone, and it might be incorporated into what I'm going to do, we'll see.  Anyway, I found the cardboard backing of a large drawing-paper book, opened up all the notches and now have a new loom ready for action.  I'll warp it with cotton crochet thread, strong and easy to handle.  Before I warp it, I will just see if I can manage a Fibonacci ratio in this work, always good for results. That's where one side is in a ratio of 1:1.6 to the other side. As in a 5x8 or 3x5 index card, nice immediate balance.  This is more likely to be 8x13, though.

I usually like to weave tapestry, which is where the warp threads, the vertical ones, are completely covered by the weft threads, the horizontal ones.  The other sort of weaving, where both are equally important, is fine for functional items, such as most of our clothes, but doesn't appeal to me for art purposes.  I've made purses and belts with the regular tabby weaving, but to make more visually interesting work I don't think you can beat tapestry.

And I usually create it the way I do all art: alla prima, meaning just plunge in, no calculating or presorting or sketching or any of that.  Not my style at all. It's surprising what images emerge from weaving done this way, where you just let things happen and go with what seems interesting.

I might look at my transparencies, too and see what suggests itself from there.  So this is my Solstice thinking!  Happy Solstice, everyone, and the nights will creep back a little from now on.  Except for friends in the antipodes, where summer will start to retreat before too long. Always hard to imagine you steaming hot when we're whining about ice!

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