Since my last blog entry, I’ve been busy. The last few weeks of August and first part of September were given to making a set of bonnets to replicate the collection of Coptic bonnets in the German Textile Museum in Krefeld, Germany. This was in preparation for a paper that I gave at the Textile Society of America Conference in Vancouver, BC in Mid September.
I find these bonnets fascinating. For one thing, they are rather representative of the variety found in Coptic bonnets in general. For another thing, each time I’ve learned a great deal in making replicas. I look at a bonnet, and then set up a warp, and start working, and then I get to a point where I check back with the original, and find, wait a minute, there is something else going on here. The details in these bonnets are a testament to the mastery of the technique.
Once I had an ‘acceptable’ set of nine replica bonnets, I set to another project. A colleague of mine has been working on the Spiral Textile project. Check out the website.
Julia has been encouraging me to make a contribution, some sprang samples. If you are working with sufficiently fine threads, you can get a spiral using the lace technique. Plot out a series of holes in a spiral shape, and you’ve got your sprang spiral.
S and Z work provides a different challenge. As Peter Collingwood notes, A design worked in, say, S, will not completely ‘stand out’ in front of a Z background. Collingwood does offer a kind of a ‘fix’ for this. You must divide the background into 4 quadrants, and then place the design onto this quadrant.
People have been telling me about Pennsic for years. I finally took the plunge and attended.
I stayed with my friend Tracy, who lives near the site. Diane of Clan Yama Kaminari offered me a place to stay on site, or at least a place to stash my things. Fabric and yarn merchant Miriam offered her tent as a place where I could sit and chat with people about things sprang. She also organized that I give a talk in her stall on Saturday evening. I brought my powerpoint presentation and several samples. Thanks again, Miriam.
I got to meet the woodworker behind Egill's Woodstuffs. He now makes sprang frames. Ursula's and White Wolf will also be selling my books, look for them at diverse events.
I also met with several people who are quite keen for sprang. Rachel Case who has been working with Beatrix Nutz was there. So was Elspeth from my Vesterheim class ... with her now complete sprang bonnet. Well done Elspeth (I should have taken a photo). And I met many others interested in sprang. Glenna had an exhibit at the Arts and Sciences Display.
Many thanks to my daughter, my most excellent assistant.
There were knights in shining armor, and kings and queens.
I am now confident that a few more SCA-ers will help me in my mission to spread the word about the amazing textile technique that is sprang.
This just in: one of my students sent a photo of work that she's done since the class in Reno last week. She's been working on sprang lace. She's followed some of the patterns in my sprang lace book, and then started to add to the patterns. Excellent work, Rose!!!!
Arrived in Reno, Nevada, and ready to teach sprang. I've got my frames all set up, and a display table full of examples. A surprisingly wide variety of garments, and a wide variety of patterns are possible with sprang.
It is so lovely to meet with others who are excited about sprang.
In Reno at the HGA Convergence, I taught a beginner class, and then a sprang lace class. The students were top notch every one.
Eileen had taken a class from me before. She returned to learn more, but brought along a beautiful sprang hat she had made .... and decorated with a crocheted flower.
The students all worked very hard. Such a joy to see a piece of cloth emerge on the frame ... and lace patterns to boot!
The thing about teaching a non-beginner class is that everyone brings their frame. Some of them have great innovations .... like Rose whose frame came with a stand.
HGA always has a fashion show, and several exhibits. I had two sprang shirts that made it into the fashion show, and then another shirt is on display in the leaders' (teachers') exhibit
Handweavers Guild of America Convergence will be happening in Reno, Nevada, starting later this week. The Complex Weavers will hold their meeting in the days following Convergence. Complex Weavers offer the opportunity to present posters at their conference, and I could not resist the chance to spread the word about sprang. Today I am working on the final layout for my poster. Hope to see you there!
Last Summer I made a scaled down copy of the Braddock-Washington sash for Carlyle House. The word is that the display is now complete, and viewable to the public. Here is the photo they sent me, the mannequin wearing the general's uniform .... complete with sash.
I traveled across the Canadian Prairies last week, to get to Olds, Alberta. You can see the Canadian Rockies at the edge of the prairie, in the very center of this photo.
Olds College hosts Fibre Week every year. They have a Master Spinner and a Master Weaver program. I went to teach classes in finger weaving and sprang.
The classroom they assigned to me had hooks all around the room ... perfect for fingerweaving. The students were lovely. They all came to find a technique that works for them.
Some students got as far as chevron and arrowhead. Well done!
I then taught a one-day sprang class. Students had a go at the basic stitch, as well as set up and some finishing techniques.
The pieces made in these classes are not always much to look at, do not do justice to the amount of learning that has happened. They are like the first pieces in a beginning knitting class. No one judges knitting by the projects completed in a beginning knitting class. That's what these pieces are, the very beginning of sprang and finger weaving.
Congratulations to my students. You all did very well. It was a pleasure to share these techniques with you.
Visiting at the RedFish Yarn display earlier this year, they told me that they welcome finished pieces. So .... wanting more people to touch sprang, and because I do like the color and feel of RedFish yarn, I've set to work, and have created two pieces.
The yellow piece reflects a lace pattern that I wrote out, after examining sprang pieces in the British Museum collection, specifically EA21632.
The multi-colored piece is a circular warp neckscarf with a twined design, and I suppose you're wondering how I did it. Here are a series of photos that might help you to understand.
If you want to know how to create those yellow twining lines, have a look at my YouTube videos
If you want to see the finished pieces, I'll deliver them to RedFish in time for the HGA Convergence Vendor's Hall in Reno, Nevada, this July.
Once again, I'm at the Kelsey Museum, studying their collection of sprang bonnets.
I'm working with Dr Julia Galliker. We are documenting items in the collection found at Karanis. As part of this work, I am writing out the patterns for these bonnets. To error-check the patterns, I make replica bonnets .... Lovely to see them side-by-side with the originals.
April 2018, there were several destinations on my calendar, Grand Forks, British Columbia, Bissell House, St Louis, Missouri, the Vesterheim Museum, Decorah, Iowa, and a family wedding in California.
I started out travelling to Grand Forks.
I taught diverse braiding techniques to a group of school teachers, Aboriginal Education specialists, in Grand Forks, British Columbia.
Then off to St Louis, Missouri.
I went to St. Louis because I had been asked to have a look at a sprang sash in the keeping of the General Daniel Bissell House in St. Louis, Missouri.
General Daniel Bissell built the house in the early 1800s. He was involved in the military history of the time. His military uniform is part of the collection at the house, including a sprang sash. I brought along two sashes that I had made, to compare and contrast.
The sash is almost 10 ft long, features geometric lace designs, triangles and diamond shapes, and is in excellent condition.
Then on to the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa. Sprang has been redlisted by the Norwegian Government, highlighting its cultural signifacance, and the danger of its loss. The Norwegian-American museum in Decorah asked me to teach a 4-day class. I travelled from St Louis to Decorah by way of Minneapolis.
The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is contained in several buildings in downtown Decorah, Iowa.
The class covered the basics of sprang, the interlinking stitch, ways to set up, decorative possibilities, and diverse finishing techniques. The 4-day length of the class allowed participants enough time in supported exploration to get comfortable with the technique.
Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson treated us to a viewing of sprang items from the museum collection.
Then on to California, where I attended a family wedding.