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.
I set out to make a new sprang top. In the past I'd say the choices are a V-neck, a boat-neck, or you cut out a hole for the neck. Last spring I made a shirt comprised of ten separate pieces of sprang. I was using 'estate yarn' (yarn of an unknown age and unknown fibre content).
While I like the shirt, some of the threads are shattering ... the shirt is not standing up to wear. So I need another one. I purchased new yarn, nine skeins of Berroco Mixer, and made up nine pieces for this new shirt.
Although it might seem overwhelming to set out to make nine pieces, it's no worse than knitting a sweater. I made a center-front piece and a center-back piece. These pieces start at neckline and hem, and work to a place somewhere near the waist. There are two pieces that go over the shoulder, working from hem to hem, and meeting at the shoulder. I also made two pieces, one to go under each armpit ... worked from armpit and hem towards the waist. These pieces were all flat warp.
There are three circular warp pieces, two sleeves and a collar.
Assembled together, they make a shirt.
The basic stitch is a 2-2 twill, it has a comfortable amount of stretch. The Berroco is a mix of cotton, polyester, viscose and nylon, so I'm hoping it will stand up to washing and wearing.
No need to hem this material. The pieces have selvedges all around.
The South East Fiber Arts Alliance of Chamblee, Georgia, had me come give a lecture and to teach a two-day sprang class.
We explored flat warp, circular warp, and lace patterns. Thanks to Suzi for organizing everything.
On to California, and the Mendocino Arts Center, where I am teaching a 4-day sprang class