Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little help from my friends …. and for my friends

On Tuesday, Luann posted pictures of my “Kentucky Mountain” Log Cabin rug. I am very excited about it – the next step in creative rug making. It is fun to see how you can do new and interesting structures on a 200 year old loom. To get to the point of actually weaving though I needed help from my friends. You may remember a month or so ago that I wound about 1/5th of my warp with white instead of natural. I did not think that I could explain the bright white in the warp as a “design element.” It took at least 4 different Tuesday Weaver friends (Carol, Trudy, Maggie, Kaylee, ?) to help me unwind so that I could change that warp thread.

Kentucky Mountain Rug 
For those of you who haven't been to the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Norris where we weave every Tuesday, you need to understand that we work in rather cramped quarters. My big old barn loom sits between a storage case and “big Bertha,” the loom that Maggie is warping. There is may be 25 inches from my cloth beam to the storage shelves and maybe 30 inches to Maggie's space. This means that I end up getting into fairly cramped positions to wind on a warp. So to help get my 400+thread warp wound on, the Tuesday Weavers (Maggie, Tina, Luann) came to the rescue. Now, I am weaving and showing off – but I couldn't have done it without “a little help from my friends.” ( I don't know why there is an exposure problem with this photo - darn blogger)

On the home front I am weaving a “tartan” throw for my daughter as a graduation gift. I say “tartan” because it didn't come from the book of tartan patterns. She and I designed the colors and the repeated pattern. I started weaving on it about three weeks ago. I knew it needed to be woven in a twill structure but I didn't think it looked right. I talked with Lanny at the center the following Tuesday and he straightened me out on how I should be treadling 1-4, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4. Not only did it look better - it was an easier tie-up for my Cambridge counter balance loom. He also talked to me about managing my selvages, my color changes, and consistency of beat.

My Daughter's Throw
Two years ago, the Tuesday Weavers were part of a project at the Knoxville Museum of Art. They were part of an ongoing weaving demonstration. I was too much of a novice at the time to get involved. The designer of the exhibit instructed the many weavers (lots of folks beyond our group) about how she wanted it done – consistent beat – using a temple – things like that. In my memory – I could be totally off here – Luann told me that the expectation in that work was to throw the shuttle – beat – change the shed – beat again – then throw the next shuttle. Anyway, as I have tried to figure out a way to beat consistently and make my tartan squares close to "square" I have remembered that idea. So I am trying to be consistent – throw-beat-shift-beat-throw. I am close to square and I am mostly consistent. I am pleased with the graduation gift I am weaving – but I couldn't have done it without “a little help from my friends.”

The other side of the equation is that I often look on my weaving time as prayer time. Several weeks ago, a friend put a message on facebook that said something to the effect of “Share some warmth, love, and healing for all in need. Remember your friends – so many are dealing with difficult life situations. Some you know about - some you don't – just send supportive thoughts toward your friends and family.” Thinking about my friends – sending warm thoughts – holding them in my heart – is, in my world view, prayer. I do a lot of that when I ball yarn, wind warps, thread heddles, throw the shuttle. I can look at projects I have worked on in the past and remember the crisis I held in my heart as I worked on it. So when I weave – "a little help for my friends."

Be well,


LA said...

One of the things I love most about being at the Center is the spirit of cooperation and caring. There's always someone to lend a hand or just listen. The blanket is truly lovely, and I know that your daughter will be wrapped in lots of love!

Bonnie said...

Beautiful throw, Ann. Looks great. She will love it.

Theresa said...

Both pieces are amazing Ann. I love the rug with it's cheery and classic red/white combo and the throw is simply stunning.
What a lovely gift.