Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Practice your scales!" and plain weave

Hello, friends. I've been away from the computer for a while. Last week I took a lovely break from the cold, snowy New England weather and visited my parents in Florida. It was sunny and warm and very refreshing.

I'm back at the loom now and continuing to work on my new lace-y tea towels. This week I completed the red version of my design:

Red tea towel with lace border

I've got a warp of colonial blue on the loom right now. I like the border design, which is huck lace & Brooks bouquet; the rest of the cloth is plain weave. So, in short, I'm weaving a lot of plain weave these days. At first I found the repetition to be rather tiresome. But then the repetition started to grow on me, and it reminded me of practicing scales on the cello. The simple treadling helped me to think about different things: throwing the shuttle thoughtfully in an effort to get a good edges; advancing the warp at regular intervals so that the shed is consistent. I think that weaving plain weave is not so very "plain," and I aspire to work at plain weave in an effort to improve my weaving technique -- sort of like how revisiting a four octave scale can refocus one's music practice.

So, my weaving friends, what are your thoughts on plain weave? Have you found that plain weave has offered you particular insights into your work? How does tabby weaving affect your designs?

Off to weave more tabby. And I'm thinking about dusting off my scales book when I practice my cello this afternoon.

Be well,
Kate K. 


Thistle Rose Weaving said...

Love the comparison you make between practicing scales and weaving plain weave. I find that throwing the shuttle while weaving plain weave is a great way to develop my skills as a weaver. It allows me to concentrate on selvages, beat and advancing the warp at regular intervals. Love your new towels, the addition of the lace and brooks bouquet add just enough interest to make the towels stand out. Lovely, just lovely.

Hilary said...

I love that you 'love' plain weave....so many times I think weavers put so much emphasis on being complicated, when in fact, the simple act of throwing the shuttle is sometimes, everything.

Nutfield Weaver said...

Thank you so much for your insights, Martha and Hilary! I fall into the "it has to be complicated" trap all too often. Maybe I'm headed more toward a "back to basics" phase. Just a couple of months ago I was all jazzed up about learning diversified plain weave and feeling somewhat self-conscious of the fact that I cannot include my work in the "complex weaving" category. There is beauty in simplicity - both in the act of weaving and in the final, resulting cloth. Cheers and here's to "plain" weaving. Be well, Kate K.