.I've been travelling, teaching in Quebec and Iowa. It's lovely to meet people, share what I know, and learn from so many talented people. As a consequence I've updated the contents of the twining patterns on my website, tweaking the directions, hopefully making them easier to understand.
The Midwest Handweavers Conference took place in Grinnell, Iowa recently, and I had the privilege of sharing with several very talented people. One of them, Jason, made it all the way through my twining patterns, and gave me some excellent suggestions. I've now edited those twining patterns on my website. Anyone who has already downloaded them, and who wants an update ... please contact me and I'll send you the new-and-improved version.
I taught sprang at the assembly of Quebec Handweavers in St George, Quebec. There I met some extraordinary fingerweavers.
I also met Monique Dumas, who had taken a sprang class from Peter Collingwood years ago (her first encounter with someone speaking with a British accent), and who went on to be the very first to teach sprang at the Maison Routhier. She showed me her lovely sprang shrug.
My students at my class at Maison Routhier did me proud.
Lovely meeting every one of you. I wish you many happy hours of sprang.
I was talking today with members of a Colorado-based sprang study group. They had some questions, and I was wanting to refer them to a blog post of mine ... and then I realized that I never posted those pictures, never told that story on my blog. So here it is, the making of that shirt that was on display at HGA's Convergence last summer.
I have been exploring different ways to create a sprang shirt.
The obvious way to create the neckline is to make a slit for a V-neckline.
When I did this, I found that there is stress on the stitch at the bottom of that V, and it does not look nice. Because of this, I have begun to look for other ways to create that neckline.
This pullover began with a false-circular warp to create a large rectangle for the front and back. The loops will sit near the hem of the garment. There is a chain line at the shoulders.
I laid the piece out flat, and traced a circle (basting stitch) with a red thread at the place that I thought should be the hole for the neck. The hole must be as large as the circumference of my head. I then cut across the stitches inside this hole, being careful to leave threads long enough to tie knots. I unravelled the stitches to the place of the red thread, and tied knots.
This gave me a neck opening, with unsightly knots all around. I covered the knots with a collar.
The collar started out as a long flat warp. I chose a 2-2 interlacing stitch for the collar.
For the sleeves, I wanted to try making them narrower at the wrist, wider at the shoulder. To make the cloth wider, you must add threads.
I added a loop of yarn every second row. This gave me two sleeves, that are wider at the shoulder, narrower at the wrist. I cut the sleeves apart, and tied knots. The knots are hidden on the inside of the garment.
The finished pullover was judged worthy of the fashion show at the Handweavers Guild of America conference Convergence in 2018 in Reno, Nevada.
While in Vancouver earlier this year, I stopped in at Maiwa on Granville Island. I will be teaching a sprang class there next year. I wanted to have a look at their yarns, to evaluate their use for my students. I saw some lovely linen yarn.
I decided to try to make yet another sprang shirt, using this linen yarn. OK, I purchased seven skeins.
Wanting to use some of those colorful motifs from Coptic bonnets, I set up a multicolored warp.
This piece will be the center back of the shirt.
Now for two pieces to go on either side of the center back. These pieces will go over the shoulder, starting and ending at the hem of the shirt.
Now for the front of the shirt. I decided to use the lighter green as the background for the front of the shirt. The first time I sewed the front into the shirt, there was a clear difference in tension (rows per inch) between the lower part of the front, and the side pieces. I re-sewed it a couple of times before getting it right.
Now for two narrow pieces to go under the arms.
And lastly, sleeves. I shaped the sleeves as I went along.
I chained around the hem, to give a firmer edge to the shirt.
I finished assembling the shirt, and washed it.
Look for me this summer, sporting my new sprang shirt.
And here's a better image of that shawl I made last month, demonstrating perhaps some of the drape and flexibility of the fabric
Photo by Chris Black
I now find myself at the FibreWorks Gallery near Madiera Park, British Columbia. I've been offered a short residency. This place is also called "The Yurts" because of the buildings that make up the campus.
Planning to create a sprang scarf, I brought along yarn, beads, and the top and bottom of my sprang frame. I purchased 4 ft long dowels locally, and set to work.
A sprang project needs the yarn mounted on the frame in an orderly fashion ... I needed to organize a first cross in the warp.
The weather was pleasant, I sat outside the FibreWorks Workshop Yurt, and worked. My pattern is inspired by pieces I saw at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.
On Monday, FibreWorks was closed. I went along to speak to a spinners' guild, bringing them the good news of sprang.
I worked on the shawl on Tuesday, and finished it by Thursday afternoon.
The Weavers Circle meets at the FibreWorks Gallery on Thursdays, they watched as I cut the fringes, and tied the knots.
I visited the Kelsey Museum collection in the spring of 2016, went home and worked out the pattern for this hat, and then came back in the summer of 2017. At the occasion of my second visit, I took a photo of my replica beside the original. Actually I took two photos. In one of them, my replica is inside-out.
If anyone is interested, my SprangLady website contains three tutorials that take you step-by-step, showing you how to do this twining technique on a background of interlinking. And I do still have the specific pattern for this bonnet.
In January of this year I posted about a shirt I made ... well, 2 shirts, one from 2018, and a second version that I finished in January of this year, 2019. These shirts are made from eight strips of flat-warp sprang. The collar and cuffs are circular warp. I made a waistband for the first shirt .... also circular warp. The material in those shirts is problematic. The first shirt was made using yarn of uncertain date and origin, and the yarn in some places has been shattering with use. The 2nd version of the shirt was made using a very slippery yarn, and it seems to snag easily ... so I must be careful when I wear it.
Travelling on the West Coast, I packed yarn from my stash to keep myself occupied while not teaching. I had time while relaxing with my friend here on Denman Island.
This version of the shirt uses up diverse bits and pieces from my stash. There is a fair amount of cotton and linen. I am hoping the threads will not be as slippery, and will stay in place, less prone to snagging.
The next stop on my Washington Peninsula trip was Port Townsend. I was met at the ferry dock by my hostess Linda. She was sporting a sprang hat, fresh off her loom. It's a double-walled hat, and perfect for the snowy weather they've been having.
I gave a talk at the guild meeting, and then taught a 2-day workshop. Interest was keen. It was lovely to work with these ladies.
I was invited to the Washington State Peninsula area. Several guilds here are interested in hearing about sprang. I thought the Pacific Coast would have warmer weather than Winnipeg.
Despite the unseasonably cold and snowy weather, a good crowd of weavers turned out to hear my talk here on Whidbey. A dedicated group made it to my workshop despite the weather. We explored the basics of the interlinking stitch, vertical stripes, twining, transpositions, and even some 2-2 twill.
Many thanks to my hostess Dianne, as well as to Linda and the many guild reps who worked together to make this tour possible.
I have had the honor over the past little while, of working with some amazing people. I met Dr Beatrix Nutz at textile conferences in Europe. She spoke about textile finds from the 15th century in a castle in Tyrol ... textiles containing sprang. I have since derived the patterns from these pieces. Recently she published the work. The article is titled Enigmatic Beauty _ Headwear of Lengberg Castle, and has been published on academia.edu.
Another project was the work I did with the German Archaeology Institute in Berlin. They were working to reconstruct clothing from a burial site in the NorthWest of China dating back 3000 years, that is 1000BC. The individual was wearing the oldest known pair of pants. My role was to recreate the belt, and several straps. The work of the project is now a 45 minute video titled Die Erfingung der Hose (The discovery of pants). Yes, the original language is German, but you can select the English soundtrack for the video. It is both entertaining and informative. You can order the book-and-DVD from Amazon.