Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Complicated Simplicity

Ocean Spray - we have some in out solar dye kitchen!

Lily's loom is now quiet - her wedding fabric is finished.

This is my second attempt at writing this blog - the first was inadvertantly posted by my dear husband after pointing out my obscure fragment thoughts and spelling mistakes......well, I deleted it and am beginning anew.
So complicated simplicity is my ramble for the last couple of weeks. There are so many beautiful simple weavings happening, but with some complicated twists. From a 3/1 straight twill in fine mercerized cotton from Peru and becoming a wedding dress, to a plain weave linen warp being woven with simple but a complicated pattern inlay. And then a little variation on plain weave called shadow weave, a colour and weave effect that although simple drives us crazy at times. So how to celebrate the complicated simplicity. For me I am always thinking in terms of layers - not so that there are layers such as double or quadruple weaving, which I am always facinated with, but with layers of colour, on top of layers of texture to the 'layered' weaving. That can be as simple as a straight twill threading interspersed with a variation of twill threaded in 'stripes' - so another layer appears as the weft changes in those stripes. And then the kicker - everyone is facinated by my 3/1 twill broken which ends up with two sides, a weft face and a warp face - which my Cherryville loom loves to weave - one of the most simple simple weaves, but often confuses even the more experienced weaver...........

Alberta is almost finished her 'simple' project that is quite simple, but time consuming and concentration is needed - the champagne is on ice as of this moment, there is about 3 inches left to do. There will be much celebration what with the HV project completed and the wedding dress of Lily's also done.

The shadow weave is deceptively complicated by its simplicity - two colours, two blocks, dark and light (the mohair loop is just a bit of a added layer. A blanket in wool and the weft is mohair. Ann and I have been weaving it and we blame our eyes which makes it more complicated!! We can hardly wait for the blankets to be fulled and brushed.........

And then a little technique that is very simple....
A simple way to tie the warp to the breast beam stick that takes less warp and less time than re-tying - seemingly complicated it is very quick - under 10 minutes, no fuss, no muss. Before cutting your finished project (towels in this case sold right off the loom), weave an inch or so, insert a strong stick or rod, weave another inch or so and then cut your finished project off, then lash the stick to the beam stick - continue to weave. There are other methods, but I haven't had any tension problems with this method - be brave.

The community rag rugs are very popular. I have my Diva Weavers who just want to weave and nothing more - a pleasure to have in the studio - never touched a loom and already two rag rugs each, a couple of handtowels and a shawl - and coming back for more. I plan on having tiaras ready for them - they love weaving.
A rag rug in progress - they really do look great and what a perfect recycling project. Now this is really simple and the only complication is choosing rags. The warps are bright and fun, so the success rate is 100%!! Everyone, whether new or experienced can come in and weave a rug in one day and experience the joy of creating in a working and teaching environment.

One of the many leaf prints made in the studio by my young students - another way of dyeing, hammering the leaf into cotton and a taste of spring is forever captured on cloth. It is good to dip the cloth in alum to fix it. This was just plain simple fun!

Now this is simple, something anyone can do - heal with textiles! I recently had surgery and had to spend time in the hospital which for me I had to psych myself up to going to the 'spa'! I had a lovely pedicure the day before, and brought my medicine bag, a picture of my girls, a picture of my wonderful Kootenay mountains, flowers from home (Treasure Trove roses), a linen tablecloth for my table, my knitting, paper,colours and my camera, a handwoven blanket especially made by my friend Ann and some great tea. I forgot my handwoven linen towel which bothered me no end! This is a simple way of healing which I learned when I had to spend time with my Mom in hospital. It sped the healing time up for her and accomplished some healing for those around us. It benefits all, for those who visit and are worried, your roommates and the lovely angel nurses. All I can say is that the Cowichan District Hospital is the best. Textiles make things so much easier.

And now I am on my way to have a little holiday before our new August expansion! Yes, another space to be added - we are very excited and we will now have a bigger retail space for all the lovely weaving and spinning that is being produced. Come for a visit and enjoy the courtyard at Whippletree.

The Slocan Valley - my solace
I leave you with a little picture of a wonderful woven Monk's Belt and Dukagang from Sweden that hangs in the studio - it is my favourite piece that I found in a little curio shop in Stockholm years ago. Alberta has been eyeing it and I may have to hide it!!! See you in August.


  1. Leola - if you are coming this way - come by for a visit!

  2. Great post Leola!
    Hope you are recovering well....

    Will stop by to visit soon...