My much travelled Green Man weaving went with me all through France and Spain but I have to admit that I didn’t touch it at all! However it wasn’t an entirely craft free holiday.
More of that later but first let me explain the Christmas Stocking – this is a fun knitting pattern that I found in the Christmas issue of ‘Landscape’ magazine – I mentioned this magazine before, a lovely glossy magazine that I have only recently come across. The little stocking, done in double knitting wool, has a cable pattern that you can barely discern from the photo and is intended to hold cutlery for each place setting at the Christmas table. The recommended wool was quite an expensive one but I had some cheap acrylic red sparkly yarn in my stash which is just perfect and I bought some cheap white acrylic yarn for the tops, so each stocking works out at quite a reasonable cost! Since I am hosting our family Christmas dinner this year I thought it would be fun to knit at least one for my Grandson Tom and if possible do enough for everyone. There will only be six of us sitting down to dinner and I am on stocking number three so fingers crossed I will get them all done. They take me about two evenings a piece.
Back to the holiday; while we were touring down through France I decided to knit this little handbag as a gift for my cousin Ruth who lives at Villefrance de Rouergue near Toulouse and who we were visiting for a few days on route to Spain to visit our daughter. This is in chunky wool so was very quick to knit. To avoid doing the lining by hand I lined it with some pale yellow check fabric that I had taken with me for the purpose once we got to my cousin’s, using her sewing machine. The pattern did not require the bag to be lined but it seemed to me to be a good idea to stop it stretching. The handles are looped through the cable pattern at the top and can be pulled up to make it into a shoulder bag if she wishes.
While visiting my cousin I went with her and a friend to a textile craft exhibition and sale in the local town. There were many stalls with knitted, embroidered and woven items for sale (though no tapestry), people were demonstrating spinning and there were items made from hand spun wool as well as lace making, tatting, quilting and other skills on show. For a small local event I was most impressed. Unfortunately my French was not quite up to conversing with the crafts people other than in the most simple of terms!
Ruth’s ‘thing’ is card making and she makes most of her own Christmas cards with great artistic flair. This made me feel rather guilty that I just buy them, so this year I have made a few, including one for Ruth and her husband, which is nowhere near as good as hers!
Now that I am home again I have all the catching up to do to prepare for Christmas so it seems unlikely that I will be doing any weaving for a while.
This will be my last post until the New Year but just maybe I might have some weaving progress to report then. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year as you celebrate in your own way and look forward to your company again in 2015.
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
Who would have thought that such a simple design would be so difficult to weave? Well, yes I suppose that should be fairly obvious since it is a spiral and so the curves progress in such a way that you are frequently adding more colour threads. This is the design that I started for my Gallery Day at the Nuneaton exhibition (read about it in my previous post here).
As you can see progress has been slow. This is in part due to the weather – it has been so hot that weaving with wool has been something I just couldn’t do for very long at a time and some days not at all. I even took it with me when we were away for a week but didn’t touch it during that time. Fortunately it has been a bit cooler recently and so I have been able to weave again
Then again, this is the most complex piece I have woven to date – a deliberate decision on my part in order to progress as a tapestry weaver. As mentioned in my previous post on the subject I am using three earthy colours for the spiral and randomly blending two colours for the background. These two are beige and white. Both of these are two-ply wool and I am using the beige just as it comes, but so that the white does not show too much of a contrast I am unplying lengths of both the beige and the white then using one single ply of each together for the lighter areas. I am slightly increasing the white content as the spiral nears its centre.
The spiral itself still causes me a few problems, mainly due to sorting out the three shades (it would have been far easier just to use one) and from time to time I have to undo and re-do some areas – but that’s weaving for you! Hopefully before too long I will be able to show you the finished piece.
The Tapestry Exhibition finally finished on 13th July and on Monday 14th we all went along to collect our work. This was done with mixed feelings – some relief that it was all over tinged with some sadness for the same reason! No tapestries were sold but several of us sold some of our cards, me included, so that was a nice little reward for our efforts. The Gallery at Nuneaton really did us proud, they were very friendly and helpful and made the whole experience most enjoyable for us. It is a wonderful vibrant place and if you are ever in the area I hope you will visit – there will always be something worth seeing.
I forgot to take my camera along but I took one or two photos on my mobile phone which have not turned out very well. Maralyn Hepworth’s Flax mill weaving was still on the wall so I took the opportunity to photograph it to share here. It came out a little hazy, partly due to the fact that the weaving was encased in a perspex frame. I also took one of the completed ‘Have-a-Go’ weave, again a little unfocused but here they both are:
You can find out more about the Flaxmill Tapestry from Maralyn’s website and ‘Weavers Yarns’ blog; links to both are on the sidebar Blogroll.
After collecting our work we went out for a celebratory lunch together where we debriefed about our experience, talked about future weaving plans and speculated about where and when our next exhibition would be as well as generally chatting among ourselves about anything and nothing in particular. Above is a photo of us all, photo kindly taken by my husband on my mobile phone and unfortunately with the sun shining through the window behind us. Maralyn was not able to join us but circling round from the left you can see yours truly, Victoria Green, Jane’s husband John, Jane Freear-Wyld, Lindsey Marshall and Pauline Fisk.
As promised here are some pictures from the Nuneaton Exhibition. There is a link to each tapestry artist’s own website listed in the Blogroll in the side bar, where you will see more of their work. I have not pictured any of my own work here – there is plenty elsewhere on the blog!
Unfortunately, due to a slight oversight on my part, I have no photographs of Maralyn Hepworth’s work. However you will find much to interest you on her website here, and on her blog (Weaver’s Yarns) here. Both these links can also be found in the side bar. I hope to feature some of her work on another occasion.