On July 24 I posted about how much I liked taking workshops in weaving. Ironic, maybe, since it is such an individual activity in modern times. Anyway, I committed to another workshop with Elizabeth Buckley in New Mexico, this time in her studio in Albuquerque. So I will be spending the first weekend in November in Albuquerque, studying how to weave curves in tapestry and experiencing a long weekend of true autumn weather.
Curves in tapestry weaving are actually trompes l'oeils. Tapestry weaving in its standard form is a grid of right angles formed by the vertical warp, held straight under strong tension, and the vertical weaving of the weft. A number of the technical challenges have to do with keeping those angles at 90 degrees, and some creative variations play with distorting it. How then can you weave circles and curves?
It is best visualized on graph paper. How would you fill in the squares and rectangles of graph paper to create a circles and curves? Here are some illustrations that show how it is done.
When woven, the impression is of a (relatively) smooth curve. The finer the gauge of the weaving -- that is, the more warp ends per inch, the smoother the transition of the "curve". So getting a curved look depends on knowing your warps per inch, and seeing how much your weft packs down. Here is an image of a curve being woven, from the tutorial by the Mirrix Loom folks.
As you can see, you actually weave AROUND the circle until you would have to start weaving on top of the curve. You weave a space for the circle, and then start filling it in.
You really need to know how much your weft is packing down though -- I am much more likely to get a horizontally set oval, unfortunately
Anyway, even if you want curves and not circles, this is the basic method. So now I need to come up with a design with curves for the workshop, which means turning my attention away from my gray-tones experiments, my "China Red" pictures.
And, of course, imagining 4 gorgeous days of Albuquerque fall weather, I decided I needed to knit a sweater. Makes even me laugh. So Kim set some parameters: it had to be something fast, which meant, she said, I had to promise not to start reinventing and tweaking the design. And it had to be from stash. I accepted the challenge! So I started the seamless version of Katarina in Berroco Vintage in the color Tidepool (of course). I worred that it is too plain -- stockinette in a solid yarn -- but it fulfills two goals: a very quick sweater knit at a larger gauge (4 stitches to the inch) and the first of the sweaters I want to do that have you knit set in sleeves right onto the body of the sweater. And it is already going very quickly. It is pretty much impossible to photograph, though I will try to do so outdoors soon.