Saturday, January 7, 2012

What to Weave?

Progress is being made in getting my hybrid weaving and painting studio up to full speed. I am painting again and that part can be found on my "Art = Life" blog. I have been getting things put away in the weaving part of the studio and re-configuring my spool rack to work in the new space. It is a bit of a tight squeeze but it is working so far. I also need to find my electric bobbin winder!
In the meantime, I have unpacked my two bins of yarn. I hadn't seen the contents for a few years and I groaned when I saw this huge, and I mean huge, cone of cotton yarn. I vaguely remember getting it at one of those weaver's yarn stash sales thinking that it would be good rug warp or something. Don't laugh when you read the next part...I don't weave rugs! Oh, I thought I would try to but never could get into it in spite of how much I admired the rugs woven by my weaving friends. Here is what I mean:

The cone is about 16" tall and probably weighs 2 or 3 pounds. The cotton looks to be about a 5/2 weight. The two cones in front are some of Jane Stafford's lovely 8/2 cotton. I have a few cones of some odd colors of that in my stash too.
So, I have been debating what to put on for my first welcome-back-to-weaving warp. Common sense says I should put on something easy to get reacquainted with my loom and the weaving process. However, what I really would love to put on is a linen warp to try to weave my own painting canvas! So do I play it safe and sensible or do I throw caution to the winds? I have to think about it, and what in the heck am I going to do with that huge cone of cotton yarn?
Oh yeah, the weaving the painting canvas part. I am sure there are some who cringe to think that I would weave this gorgeous linen fabric and then...paint on it. So, I will explain a teeny bit. One of my favorite old master painters is Diego Velazquez. Rob Liberace, an artist I took a painting workshop from this summer, is teaching a workshop next summer on the painting techniques and materials that Velazquez used in his work. I did a little online research of my own and the canvas he used is mentioned. It is different from what you can buy today and well, as a weaver, you can probably see the attraction of the idea of weaving something like what is described. Apparently some of his canvas had a weave that had little crosses. Not only that but thinking on it, there was a time when all painting canvas was handwoven! There are some rather intriguing possibilities here.
Back to my relaunching warp, I have been thinking that I would start with simple tea towels. I have the 8/2 cotton which I have used for tea towels in the past. I also found these samples from a Jane Stafford color workshop:
They will be a big help when trying to figure out how to use the odd colors of the 8/2 cotton I have.
What am I going to do with that huge cone of yarn? One idea I had were to weave cloth for rugged shopping bags to sell. Honestly, I like to weave with much finer yarns. Perhaps I will experiment and sample since I have plenty of yarn. I might even have to get out the dye pots. Sigh. I do want to use up as much of my stash as possible before ordering any more yarn. Fortunately it isn't a large stash, just challenging. I have some very nice linen yarns for some fine table linens and a painting canvas or two (oh yes, I will weave a canvas and paint on it, just watch!).
Well, I will have to decide this week or as soon as I find that errant bobbin winder. I would love to hear any ideas for using that huge cone of cotton out there. Perhaps a contest? The winning idea gets a something woven from it? Will think about that too!


Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...

How about table runners or placemats with that 5/2 - it's a nice weight for projects like that. You could either dye it or leave it natural and weave it in lace patterns. That huge cone will disappear quickly with projects like that.

Renee said...

Hi Cindie, that is a wonderful idea! I was so busy thinking of all the other stuff that placemats and table runners escaped me. There is enough to do both. I love weaving huck lace too so I can have a bit of fun. Thanks so much!