Since I've got time on my hands, all travel plans cancelled, I figured I should put my efforts to a project worthy of a great deal of time ... all those lace patterns. I've seen sprang lace in a number of collections, have photographed them, and have made some samples. Now is the time to sit myself down and to go through these, one by one, and render patterns that will be read-able to others.
The inspiration for these patterns come from several sources. There's that book of sprang sashes, repaired by Coby Reijndeers-Baas, sashes with all manner of designs, people, boats, deer, mermaids, and a variety of geometric designs. Then there is that collection of lace from the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels that I visited back in 2013. Other lace patterns come from pieces in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Petri Museum, and assorted other collections.
I'm working on putting the patterns onto a grid, so you'll have a grid pattern. From that grid, I'm deriving a "written pattern" that will read "right-edge stitch, 3 plain stitches, left-edge stitch". Having done that, I then set up a warp and make an actual sample, to check my pattern, and to be reasonably sure that the pattern is correct.
I'd be very happy to have others check these patterns. If you're interested, send me a message by commenting on this blog, or to the "contact me" on this website.
I made myself a new sprang shirt, using a 5/2 mercerized cotton from Lunatic Fringe, leftovers from other projects. Inspired by the stitch pattern in a Ukranian belt, I made vertical stripes in the body. In essence the pattern is two rows of interlinking and one of interlacing ... that means, for example, two rows of Z, and one row of S, then another 2 rows of Z, and one row of S.
The body began as a 7 ft warp, some 300 loops (600 threads). I set it up as a false-circular warp, working from hem towards the shoulders. Just beyond the armpit level, I switched to 2/2 interlacing. The interlacing is less stretchy, quite appropriate to the yoke of the shirt. Because I also doubled the threads, it created a slight gathering, meaning the yoke is narrower than the body of the shirt. I made the two sleeves at the same time, cutting threads to create the desired shape.
The collar is a piece of circular-warp sprang. I calculated that I needed some 24 inches of collar, and started with a 32 inch long circular warp.
Inspired by sprang egg covers made by Sylva Cekalova, I blew out a couple of eggs, and made some sprang covers. Guess we're having omelet for supper.
I've been experimenting. The first one I started with a 6 inch warp (the red one) ... too long. The yellow one was next, at 5 inches initial warp length, also too long. The 3rd one (lavender) started as a 4 inch warp .. and that was the right length. I used a 2/8 silk, and set up 30 loops (60 threads). It took about 45 minutes per egg, warping, working, and finishing.
It's April, and the snow was almost all melted last week ... and then we got some 20cm (8 inches) of snow. Back to winter time. And at the same time the river is rising.
Someone sent me a photo of a Ukranian Sash. Olena Orenchak expressed interest in learning to make this pattern, and I took it as a challenge. So ... I found me some yarn in the colors red, blue, yellow, and green. It looks to me like a combination of S and Z ... two rows of S and one of Z. In sprang that means that the other side of the sash will have two rows of Z and one of S.
So many places closed, so many events cancelled, I feel like I'm in isolation. OK, so I'll try to make productive use of this time. For a long time now I've been working on a document detailing fingerweaving pattern variations. I've set out by putting the patterns into categories: single direction patterns (diagonal stripe, sawtooth etc), two directions (chevrons and arrows), and then another category of arrow-and-lightning, and arrow-and-flame.
The documents cover a variety of variations. The point is to encourage and support exploration. The big question is, "When is it ready?" At what point do I consider it finished? I've been looking through them again, and think it's about time to post them. There is always the outside chance there are critical errors ...
March in Winnipeg. This is the view out my window. More snow last night, but sunny this morning.
Inside it's warm. I'm teaching a Tuesday evening class of fingerweaving at the St Boniface Museum, and a Saturday class of sprang at the C2 Centre for Craft. Thanks to the St Bonface Museum, and to the Manitoba Craft Museum and Library for hosting ... and kudos to the students, all who are doing very well, making good progress.
A big Thanks to the St Boniface Museum for installing hooks in the beams on the ceiling of this room. The Fingerweaving Support Group is now sorely tempted to forgo the access to beer at the food court that is TheForks Commons, and move the weekly meet up site across the river to the St Boniface Museum.
For those of you in Western Canada, or NorthWest USA, the Maiwa School of Textiles will host two sprang classes, the first runs April 15-16 focusing on an introduction to sprang ... no experience necessary. Immediately following that there is an intermediate sprang class scheduled for April 17 - 19. The intermediate sprang class will examine topics such as twining patterns, circular warp, lace, and more. For more information visit the Maiwa School of Textiles Website
I understand that there are still a few spots available.
Back in Winnipeg after teaching fingerweaving at the North House Folkschool. Now is the time to sign up for the next fingerweaving class. No previous weaving experience necessary. Class will be held at the St Boniface Museum, 494 Tache Ave, in Winnipeg, Six Tuesday evenings, 6 - 8PM. For more information go to http://www.spranglady.com/register.html
I'm in Minnesota, teaching classes. The Duluth Art Institute hosted a sprang class, attended by several members of the local handweavers guild.
Sprang class started on Friday evening, and worked all day Saturday, and then again Sunday morning. Participants had practice with the basic stitch, as well as some variations. Everyone was able to practice setting up, working the piece, and several different finishing techniques. It was a superbe group of students. Thanks so much to Michelle, Louise, and Lynnea, for all the work they did to organize the event. It warms my heart to hear that this group plans to now form a "sprang study group", to maintain skills learned, and to help each other in further explorations of the technique. I'll be happy to skype in occasionally.
I then went down the road to Grand Marais, Minnesota, to teach at the North House Folk School during their Fiber Week. There were ten people in my fingerweaving class. We started at the beginning, and are progressed through diverse motifs. Another terrific group of students.
The third day I presented the theory of arrowheads ...
... and several lovely arrowheads were made.
Photo at the end of the 3-day class. Most students completed several straps, in a variety of designs. Congratulations to the new finger weavers.
Many thanks to Jessa, Ben, and the rest of the North House team for organizing this event.