Monday, November 24, 2014

Passing It On

Knowledge, that is. As weavers, we have a responsibility to continue the tradition of learning and then passing on our knowledge to others, even if it is just as a group like we do on Tuesdays. I love hearing weavers help each other. You learn by doing. Even a new weaver has knowledge that can be passed on to someone just starting. 
Several weeks ago Kay Hultquist died. She was 97. I've known her ever since we moved to Knoxville in 1980. I'm not sure how long she'd been weaving before that but she was already someone to look up to who had knowledge that I wanted to acquire. We often had guild meetings at her place and workshops as well. She was in the thick of things, at conferences, meetings, etc. 
Her specialty was weaving coverlets. I'm talking about the old overshot patterns that are in the books. If you've seen the book Of Coverlets or Keep Me Warm One Night, those are the kinds of things she wove. She was a member of the Foothills Craft guild and she would have a booth at the show with a few things. She took orders for coverlets and then wove them according to the color and pattern someone wanted. I saw a list of prices recently. For a queen sized, 3 panel coverlets, she charged $400. $50 more if you added a color..... I sure wouldn't do that these days! Not sure I'd do it for triple the price! Her coverlets were awesome. Our own Carl has one of them that he had Kay make.

So, what does one do when a weaver dies? I got word that the family needed help. Saturday was the third time I was over there. This time was the final one. I'd already brought home her library, yarn and a bunch of her notes. 
It was so funny. When her son talked to me on the phone, he said she had so much yarn they had no clue what to do. When I got there, sure, she had some yarn but I'll bet I've ordered more yarn at a time than she had stacked there. Kay ordered just what she needed for a project. She kept scraps (like we all do), bits of cut fabric. 
Charlotte and Molly joined me at Kay's place in Maryville and with family help, we cleaned out the rest of her studio. Molly was able to get most of the things in her vehicle. We'll have a blast tomorrow going through it all. We really just looked at things and said, yes, we'll take it. Anything we thought the family would like was left there. They wanted pictures and bigger pieces of things she had woven. I don't blame them. Having gone through my Mom's things recently, I know how one wants to keep a piece of a memory.
 Kay had 2 looms. Both Harrisville. She wove all those wonderful coverlets on a Harrisville. Back in the day, that was one of the better choices for a loom that could be folded when not in use and was perfect for the overshot weaving that she did.
Here's the 24 inch 4 shaft floor loom that Charlotte will borrow. It's got a warp on it. It's a narrow warp to make a pocket purse to hang around your neck and hold your glasses, phone, or ipod.... She'll have good practice making some little things using scraps of yarn.
 The other loom is a 36 inch 4 shaft loom. I'm waiting to hear from someone to see if they want to borrow it. Also in the picture is a holder for 4 extra shafts for the 24" loom. I'm not sure why she got more of them but this one has a warp threaded on it. I wonder if it was a favorite pattern that she would just put on the loom, add a warp and go?
Kay didn't have a plan for what would happen to her things when she was gone. She had been battling cancer several times and beat it every time. If a blockage hadn't happened, she'd be here today, continuing the fight and heading toward being 100, I'm sure.
I like to think that she would approve of what we're doing with her things. I have the other boxes of her things at home. We plan to go through her notes, drawdowns for patterns all graphed out by hand, and make some copies for other weavers to use or have as inspiration or a starting point for their projects. Kay's work will continue as new weavers  get the chance to see what she did and we help them understand all those numbers.
I'd love to see someone weaving coverlets again, the way she did.
I'm so thankful that her family felt we were able to continue and protect what Kay had started.

It's getting to be a busy time of year and I'm working on some things that I can't post yet....It'll be Christmas before I post some pictures but I am having fun working on a few projects.
Until next week, hope you get some weaving done.

1 comment:

LA said...

I think that Kay would be pleased that are new weavers will be using her looms.