I can’t believe how long it is since I last posted here. Life has been non-stop this last month or so with little time to indulge in handicrafts. Since the middle of last week however I have had the pleasure of some time to myself and I decided it was time I got on with some weaving. I confess that having undone so much of my Green Man weaving previously my confidence has taken a bit of a bashing and I have been avoiding it. But I have now been telling myself “you can do it” and although I still undo sections from time to time, it has progressed a little. I keep reminding myself not to worry too much about the fine details in the cartoon but just to use it as a guide. The photo shows the result so far.
Some time ago I mentioned that a friend had given me some fleeces. They came from relatives of his who were new to sheep keeping and the fleeces had not been stored very well. I think also our friend must have left them in his porch during a spell of wet weather before delivering them to us. When they arrived they were quite wet, in fact two of them were absolutely soaked. We spread them out in our barn to dry but some time later it was obvious that the two soaked ones were beyond redemption so these were thrown away. The other two are now dry and waiting to be used. In the bags with the fleeces were also the ‘daggings’ and I decided to salvage what I could of these in order to practice spinning with a spindle again. They were very dirty so I washed them first. They are also quite felted but there are a lot of useable bits.
My ‘Lord and Master’ has been away for a few days, hence having time on my hands, so yesterday I decided to watch the Canadian Grand Prix on his behalf, but not wishing to be idle I got out my carders and the fleece daggings and started to make some rolags. By the time I had had enough for one evening the basket in the photo was full, but I still have plenty more to go at. The rolags are a bit lumpy and still have a few bits of straw and other rubbish in them but I think they will be good enough for practising. Now where did I put my spindle?
I have not done any knitting for a while but I recently bought a large cone of cream lace weight wool from a charity shop, it is a lambswool/angora mix and I am trying to decide what to do with it. The first plan was to make another lacy cowl like the one pictured in my last post but I think now that, as there is quite a lot, it might be nice to knit a lacy shawl or wrap. I have discovered a wonderful knitting resource website, which I highly recommend, at http://www.allfreeknitting.com, which offers lots of free patterns and I have printed one off which I think I will use – more of this another time. First I must finish my Green Man!
I have now undone the little bit of my Green Man weaving but so far have not had time to redo it, which actually I think is not a bad thing as it gives me time to consider ‘Textile Ranger’s’ suggestion regarding colour scheme – see comments on my last post – a suggestion I fully intend to take on board. The reason for the lack of progress is, as I mentioned, due to an extremely busy month. I have now completed editing my magazine and it just remains to proof-read it and then get it to the printers, but I still have other October tasks to complete.
However, I did managed to go along to my local library for a couple of hours earlier in the month to a spinning demonstration. It is more years than I care to remember since I last used my spinning wheel and I felt I needed a refresher course. I am now all fired up to try spinning again – when I can find some time. The elderly lady doing the demonstration told us she learnt to spin as a wartime evacuee, doing all her early spinning on a drop spindle using hedgerow fleece gleanings. It was apparently many years before she got a wheel. I have some hedgerow gleanings my daughter collected for me which I intended to use for the ‘core’ of some needle felting projects but now I am tempted to have a go with my drop spindle before returning to my wheel.
It’s curious how things happen; out of the blue a friend of my husband phoned a few weeks ago and asked if he knew anyone who would like some fleece (he knows I weave) – I’m expecting it to turn up and day now!
Meanwhile some of you might be interested in the exhibition below (no, I am not exhibiting). I am sorry it is rather short notice:
Colour Block, The Textile Show: 9th-12th October. St.Leonards on Sea, East Sussex
For more information visit http://www.hastingsartsforum.co.uk/colour-block-9-12-october
Watch out for my next post in a few days time when I will be listing some other events that may be of interest.
I have made a start on my Green Man weaving, but other than the bottom inch or so there has been no real progress. I have also woven the first inch of the face image using the same two shades of green and the light brown wool that I used for the Earth Spiral and which I have pictured here.
Unfortunately, while this combination worked well for the spiral it doesn’t seem to be working for the Green Man, the colours are too closely related and too dull and the mid green is rather too brown. So I have decided to undo the bit I have done and start again with some different greens pictured below:
For the third shade I may use the brown wool, or possibly the mid greeny-brown wool in the first picture, whichever works best. This should result, I hope, in the face looking lighter and more defined. As I wrote in my last post this is the most complicated thing I have tackled so far. It is going to be very fiddly and there will be a lot of trial and error, but at least I have learned enough from the bit I have done (and am about to undo) to give me the confidence that I will be able to complete the piece.
Progress will continue to be slow for a while as October is going to be a very busy month with lots of other things going on and I don’t anticipate having much time for weaving. My major occupation for the month is the editing of a magazine I produce for an international sailing boat ‘Owner’s Association.’ We shall be away for much of November and I hope to take the weaving with me to work on in spare moments. Before we go I hope to have done enough to at least check that I have finally found a working colour combination. If I have managed to do any significant amount before we go away I shall report again, otherwise watch for my next report in late November!
I have finally come to a decision about what I am going to do on the reverse of the ‘Earth Spiral’ on my small frame loom. I have been looking into weaving something on a similar theme and have decided to have a go at a ‘Green Man’ face.
I have spent some time searching for a suitable design on which to base my weaving and have settled on this photo of the ‘Green Man’ plaque that I have on the back wall of my house; this being the nearest that I have come up with to my idea of what it should look like.
I don’t expect to complete this project very quickly as it will be the most complex weaving that I have attempted so far and I have to admit to being somewhat ‘chicken’ about even starting it, but I have now set up the frame loom ready to start so have no more excuses not to get on with it. The plan is to create a similar blended background and use more-or-less the same colour scheme as the ‘Earth Spiral’ and, like it, the finished piece should be about 8 ins square.
I had also hoped to have sorted out the warp on my ‘Big Beastie’ floor loom by now but unfortunately I can’t actually get at it to work on it at the moment as it is surrounded by bicycles, waiting for the new shed my husband is planning for them (he and my youngest son are preparing the base at the bottom of the garden as I write). I could move them somewhere else but then they would probably be in the way and need to be moved yet again so I guess I’ll just leave them where they are for another few weeks – and get on with the Green Man. As I haven’t yet decided what I am going to do on the floor loom there is no real hurry to get the warping done and it isn’t as if I have nothing to get on with, if only I could stop procrastinating, gather my courage and go for it!
Here is my ‘Earth Spiral’ tapestry finished at last. I can’t believe how long it has taken me to complete something that is only 8 ins square – a combination of hot weather preventing me from working and also having to undo several bits and re-do them from time to time until I was reasonably satisfied with the shape. On top of that just lately my get-up-and-go seems to have got up and gone and inertia has rather set in, due in part perhaps to a rather hectic last few weeks. However I am pleased with the final result and the effect of the blended yarns, both in the background and in the spiral. I think you can just make out the mid-greeny-brown between the dark green and brown yarns of the spiral – it creates a slightly more obvious shading in reality than the photo suggests.
As you can see it is still on the loom. I warped the frame with the intention of turning it over to work another piece on the other side but as yet I have not decided what to weave. We will be away later this week for a few days (leaving our son to cat sit) but I will not be taking the weaving frame with me this time, though I do intend to spend some time thinking about what to do next, both on the other side of this piece and on my larger looms. I have now bought some new warp yarn for my floor loom and need to plan what I intend to do on there, plus I have many ideas for things I would like to do on my nail frame loom. Thank goodness we now have some cooler weather making it a bit more comfortable to work with wool!
As yet I have not decided what to do with this tapestry. One suggestion is that I work a series of related pieces and present them as a whole in some way. I am quite taken with this idea but need to come up with some related symbols/designs. One possibility is more ‘earthy’ designs and another is to perhaps represent air, fire and water in similar style – any suggestions for appropriate symbols will be most appreciated.