Red warp

20130308_redwarp01There has been warping, and even some weaving!

With my final assignment for A Creative Approach with my tutor and my course materials for my next module Understanding Art 1: Western Art on their way, there was a little window of time. I was poised to pounce – I bought an armful of various red yarns a while back in an end of year sale. At the time I was in the middle of design work for my final assignment and knew I would want a change of pace with no deep thought, no consideration of complex structure. Instead I wanted to work intuitively, glorying in colour.

20130308_redwarp02Rummaging through my existing stash added more yarns to the pile. This photo was taken partway through the selection process. The colour isn’t accurate – I always have trouble photographing red – but hopefully you get the general idea. The selection was based on some mohair and wool yarns in the “Ladybug” colourway from Creative Yarns in New Zealand ( There’s a whole mix of fibre types, mostly cotton, wool and mohair with touches of silk and cashmere, in a range of textures and weights. In the front of this photo you may just be able to see the provisional use of the planned fabric – a pattern from the Saori pattern book Shitate no hon (scroll down towards the bottom of the page at plus a little model in tissue paper to make sure I understood the design (the book is all in Japanese, with diagrams).

20130308_redwarp03Continuing the spontaneous slash intuitive approach, I wound the warp with the yarns all in a mix, then dealt with questions of yarn size as I sleyed the reed at the table. My improvised cross-holder is at the front left – two clamps upside down on the table edge. To allow all this freedom I warped the loom front to back – a first. It was not without challenges. I don’t think I’ve used mohair in a warp before and hadn’t taken into account the loose fibres causing tangling between yarns. This combined with a rather delicate wool in my mix and resulted in 10 broken threads by the time the warp was on the loom (ouch! another first).

20130308_redwarp04All that is now sorted, together with a couple of threading errors, and weaving begun. I’m starting with a fine mohair and it’s looking pretty open. I’ll sample a couple of different wefts, then cut off a short length and see if it holds together. Despite the learning curve it’s been fun – hands full of lovely yarns, happy and absorbed in my comfort zone of weaving. And that’s just what this warp is intended to be – a place of colour and fibre, touch, rhythm and comfort, just in case I need the occasional refuge while I venture into the academic world of Art History. I think it should make a good combination.

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March 2013

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