plain/tabby/basic weave, 18 ends/inch, fuchsia, purple, scarlet, Leclerc Dorothy table loom
On Thursday I went to my first weaver’s guild meeting; 6 hours down and 6 hours back. It was worth it. I had a blast! :) What a great group of people. There’s a loaning library there…I was guided to a DVD entitled, You Have To Be Warped, by CD Weaver (…sounds like me!). I can’t wait to watch it. After the business part of the meeting we were paired up – two people per warping board – and given a surprise colour of thread. We were to match it to two other colours, loading a warping board with the pattern in preparation for making a scarf with the following requirements: 115″ long, 126 ends for a 7″ wide scarf @ 18 ends/inch for plain weave – OR – 115″ long, 168 ends for a 7″ wide scarf @ 24 ends/inch for twill weave.
To go with the fuschia coloured yarn we had been assigned we chose a darker purple as well as scarlet. They were all beautiful colours. Some may think it odd that I as a man would appreciate colour, but not only does colour move me, it makes me feel fully alive. I live in the outdoors as much as possible and colour is everywhere! To participate in anything outdoors without noticing and being moved by colour is like sitting down to eat without savouring the aroma of the meal beforehand or appreciating the manner in which it is presented! I personally do gravitate more toward subdued natural colour schemes, but there is nothing like walking through the bush – grey, white, green, brown – and then catching sight of the red crest on a pileated woodpecker. Stunning! Yesterday on the way home I skirted Lake Manitoba’s north basin. The stunning blue of the water/sky juxtaposed with the shore grasses just leapt right out at me…made me slow down and grin!
I had obtained a homemade warping board with one of my looms so my partner loaded her’s first since I could work on mine later, after the meeting. She chose to divided 126 ends by 3, ending up with three warps of equal width…42 each. She wanted to experiment with various weft colours and their effects on her warp. Winding the warp was new to both of us. It felt wooden at first, but as time went on for my partner it came faster and more naturally.
Being new to this we took more time than others and I was left with what I thought would be too short an amount of time for me to finish winding my own warp. So I helped others pack up and thought to myself that I’d load my board the next morning at my mentor’s house before she was to show me how to load the warp onto the loom.
But I got to a friend’s house later that night where I was staying and after a visit I went to bed but could not sleep with all the excitement of the evening running through my head, so I got up and loaded the warp. It took about a half hour. This is how it looked the next morning when I brought it with me in anticipation of setting up the loom…
…my real outdoor work for the year is over. It’s time to turn my attention to fibre and weaving once again.
When lovely woman tilts her saucer,
And finds too late that tea will stain,
Whatever made the Lady crosser,
What art can make all white again;
The only art the stain to cover,
To hide the spot from every eye;
And wear an unsoiled dress above her,
The proper colour is to DYE.
Coloring is one of the most delightful arts, also a most responsible branch of manufacture; and a good dyer makes a manufacturer wealthy, happy, and renowned; while a poor one brings ruin, bankruptcy, and misery; and not considering the fineness of the cloth or the faultless weaver, the color sells the goods.
No matter the perspective from which dyeing is discussed, in the end it all boils down to one, singular, powerful kernel…beauty. Humans can’t be blamed for their love of colour; to love colour seems to be in our genetic make-up.
In 1856 William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered a lavender dye synthesized from a coal-tar derivative and the age of synthetic dyes was born. Synthetic dyes are standardized and not dependent upon the variances of seasons, climates, growing conditions, or individual plants. Looking at the colour of the clothing that you, the reader, is wearing, we take all of this for granted each day as we decide what colours to choose; it wasn’t always that way. But it seems now that the circle has come fully ‘round again, and natural dyes are making a come-back as their very uncertainty and the uniqueness of each batch allows for variations that are personal and unprecedented. And not only that. But the individualism of dyers and their locales are again becoming appreciated regionally. That rather than the unconscious dependence upon the ecological, social, and economic destructiveness of global corporate manufacturing, transportation, and marketing systems, real people can organize to provide grounded local goods.
I never thought that my own desire to live a sustainable, grounded, humble, healthy, and simple life would lead to this…
which would lead to this…
which would lead to this…
Yesterday I got this load for free…
It seems that the Canadian agricultural corporate giant has decided that it’s not worth picking up in our area, so friends have been burning it for years.
Chalk one up for localized agriculture I guess. :)