The idea of sprang mittens has come up ... twice within the last week. A researcher colleague of mine found a pair of sprang mittens at a textile market in Bavaria. The seller had no provenance, but they look like sprang mittens in the collection of the Brussels History Museum, that date to the early 1800s.
And then and e-mail from someone who took my sprang class earlier this year, Jenny from Regina. She sent me photos of her explorations since that class, including a photo of a lovely sprang mitten.
Mittens are a great place to explore sprang. Make two rectangles, cut them apart, tying knots at the cut ends. Sew each piece into a tube, and voila, two fingerless gloves, aka, mittens. Use the opportunity to explore patterns.
Susan Foulkes is an amazing textile artist, teacher and researcher. In her blog she records things she sees on her travels. Her most recent post on https://durhamweaver64.blogspot.ca/ tells of her trip through the Baltics, and St Peterstburg in particular. She includes a photo of the 1709 uniform of Peter the Great, and a closeup of the sash … sure looks to me like sprang.
So, I’m here in New Zealand. I’ve toured around a bit. Beautiful country. Mountains, valleys, and seaside.
Some Kiwis are quite serious about their chocolate. I happened upon a shop that claimed to be the Global Home of Chocolate Therapy … they did indeed have some excellent chocolate inside.
I saw the place where they make the Ashford spinning wheels, and met Richard and Elizabeth. Indeed Richard made the sprang frames that students used on my whirlwind teaching tour.
I’ve taught classes in several cities, including Wellington, Mosgiel, Ashburton, and Christchurch. Spinner / weavers I’ve met here are quite interested in finger weaving and sprang, and quick to learn.
Thanks to Rosanne & Paul for a delightful tour of Wellington. Many thanks to my Creative Fibre hosts, Robyn, Marilyn, Anne, and a special thanks to Sue Giller, Education Co-ordinator for Creative Fibre, New Zealand.
Over the next few weeks I’ll travel to Whakatane and Taurange, and I’ll visit the good folks at Majacraft. At the end of April I’ll participate in the national fibre conference that will take place in Auckland.
Here are some bits of sprang by others, photos they sent to me.
I’ve been busy teaching. The Midwest Handweavers Conference was held at St Thomas College in St Paul, Minnesota. I taught a finger weaving class and then a sprang class. On the way to Minnesota I stopped in Fargo to visit. Kim Baird said I should look up another instructor while there, Donna Kallner. Arriving at St Thomas College, I was assigned a roommate … none other than Donna Kallner.
What a lovely campus, and terrific vendor’s hall. I found just the yarn I was looking for, the right size yarn to work a more authentic version of that Coptic sprang turban.
Back home, I’m working on yet another pair of sprang leggings. These will hopefully be more accurate to that portrait of a Venetian gondolier.
Not quite sufficient time to finish those leggings, and I’m off to Colorado and the Intermountain Weavers Conference in Durango where I taught a three-day sprang workshop. Great to catch up with former students.
And there was a batch of new sprang students
The lovely thing about a three-day workshop is that students are supported through the learning process. By the third day some really creative things can happen. After the initial bag, and a circular warp lace sampler, and some exploration of twining, some students were ready to explore.
We were looking at images on the internet of wildly braided sprang pieces. Sally offered to use her piece to explore this method. We began the process in class. Recently she sent me this image of the completed piece. You see, sprang is so much more than ugly bags and hats.
After the conference I had the opportunity to tour Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, and Bandelier National Monument, sites of ancient cliff dwellings. One room was clearly set up for weaving, a place for the upper beam in the ceiling, loops to hold the lower beam in the floor. Thanks to Laurie Webster and Glenna Dean for being my tour guides.
In other news, I’ve been working on a collection of sprang lace patterns.
I’m looking for individuals interested in trying out my lace patterns, giving me feed-back on the readability of the patterns. Any takers out there? Send me a note, carol at sash weaver dot com.
Back from my recent travels, to Europe, and then to the TNNA conference in Columbus, Ohio.
In Columbus I met yarn store people from all across North America, what a conference!
Maria Freitas of Meridan, Idaho, gave me a set of rayon threads to try in sprang.
October 2014 was spent in European travels. The impetus for the trip was the invitation to present information on sprang at the Early Textile Study Group conference in London. The topic for this year’s conference was Peter Collingwood. Dagmar Drinkler agreed to present her research on the subject of ‘tight fitting clothing in antiquity’, and I contributed my experience making leggings.
I did take the time to tour around London, spent a day on a double-decker bus.
While in the UK, I stopped in to visit friends. First up was Oli and Erica of Weavolution. They hosted me while I taught a finger weaving class to the Cambridge Weavers.
Next I visited my friends Elaine and Andy. They toured me through Yorkshire, including a trip to Chatsworth House, an amazing place.
Elaine and I talked sprang, and the probability that ancient Persians and Celts work sprang clothing.
Back in London, I stopped in at Alexandra Palace for the Knit and Stitch show, on Oct 9, minding a booth for The Braid Society, and gave a class on finger weaving: Weave a scarf on the train.
After the Early Textile Society conference in London, I travelled to Reading. There I was able to have a sneak preview of an amazing collection of braided pieces in the Reading Library, the Braid Society’s Biennial Exhibition.
Near Reading is the town of Aldebourne where individuals interested in diverse braiding techniques meet regularly in the local town hall. Thanks to Sally, and to my hostess Rosie, I taught another workshop there, this time finger weaving (last time was sprang).
On to the mainland of Europe. Thanks to Frieda who met me at the train station in Antwerp, Belgium. I taught classes in the Belgian town of Sint-Job-in-‘t-Goor.
This was an ‘advanced finger weaving class’, the follow-up to a previous session. Participants explored some of the variety of patterns possible.
The following day was a sprang class. Pauline brought a sprang cap that she had made after the sprang class last year.
By then it was time for a rest. My friend Karin took me home. I sat in her backyard and worked on other sprang projects.
Accepting an invitation to visit a very talented bobbin-lace weaver (this sister of a Winnipeg friend) I travelled to Braunschweig. Between discussions on the subject of bobbin-lace, finger weaving and sprang, we toured through downtown Braunschweig, and made a visit to the top of the newly rebuilt ‘Schloss’ and the Quadriega.
On to the Netherlands. Braid Society member and friend, Ria toured me around the Netherlands.
We had been invited to the island of Terschelling.
Resident of Terschelling, Marianne, is a very talented textile artist. She also has an amazing collection of textiles. She introduced us to the neighbourhood chickens.
While on Terschelling, I visited the local yarn store, Tante Lies. Come to find out, I’d been volunteered to give a talk on the subject of sprang at the Tante Lies yarn store. I brought along a frame, and people were invited to give it a try.
While in the Netherlands I was privileged with a visit to another Ria.
On Nov 1, I taught a sprang class in The Hague at the textile studio known as DeSpinners. Thanks to Dineke and Katia, this was a follow-up to a finger weaving class I taught last year.
What a pleasure to spread the good word about these amazing techniques to individuals interested in learning.
On to the final destination, Lyon, France.
The Greco-Roman museum is built into the Fourviere hillside, right beside the remains of two Roman amphitheatres. If you’re in Lyon, you really should stop in, it’s a ‘must see’.
The theme of the month at the Fourviere Gallo-Roman Museum in Lyon was textiles. I had been invited to give a lecture on the subject of sprang bonnets. This is the reason I’d been working on that sprang turban. Wednesday I presented a workshop for children (and their parents, grandparents) on diverse braiding techniques. Thursday I presented my lecture and workshop on the subject of sprang. I brought along several replica sprang bonnets that I have made. Sprang frames were available and seven women took the opportunity to explore the basic sprang technique.
The Gallo-Roman museum had a lovely little sprang bonnet, on loan from the Textile museum.
Back at home, I’m now trying to map out the pattern.
The whole purpose of this trip was to attend this conference. I contributed a poster, which told the story of my recent Heritage Weaving Project in the Atrium of the St Boniface General Hospital:
Braiding and Weaving relaxing, creative, meditative
“Spinning and Weaving are the highest forms of Meditation”
The project described here, one of several undertaken at the
St Boniface General Hospital Atrium in Winnipeg, Manitoba,
produced 8 Fingerwoven Samples for The Manitoba Museum.
The type of weaving selected seemed appropriate to the setting:
-Fingerweaving is low-tech, no noise, easily mobile,
quick to set-up and take-down daily.
-The project was very time consuming,
but also easily interrupted,
the weaver is able to interact with the public.
-The method used is culturally very significant
to the demographic served by the hospital.
-Perceived as a disappearing art,
it generated much interest.
Slow but measurable progress over a period of 10 months,
allowed for a rapport between weaver and atrium visitor:
-Hospital staff regularly visit the atrium on break time.
-Visitors enter and exit the hospital through the atrium.
-The atrium is accessible to hospital patients.
The variety of patterns in the samples were based
on articles in museums across North America.
Sash samples will be used by the Manitoba Museum
for future education & display purposes.
Previous weaving projects
received much anecdotal support,
I decided to institute a method
for generating concrete measurement of success.
Humans reach to their heritage
in times of crisis in search of healing.
Repetitive creative activities
draw the individual into a mental state
in which they access their personal resources.
Weaving is a metaphor for teamwork:
Alone we are fragile, together we are strong.
In-house advertising was done
through the hospital newsletter.
Poster announcing my presence
was on display in the Atrium.
Weaving took place in the Atrium,
3 days per week, 11AM to 4PM,
November 2007, to July, 2008. Materials were made available
for visitors to try fingerweaving.
These numbers are countable.
Knitting, crochet, and quilting assistance
Brochure outlining the program
was available to visitors.
Brochures taken is countable.
Guest book was offered
to visitors for signing.
Book signatures are countable.
Designs were chosen in consultation
with Manitoba Museum curator.
Samples were woven according
to the fingerweaving method.
Weaving in the Atrium of the St. Boniface General Hospital contributed to a healing environment.
On the basis of comments left in the guest book, individuals expressed the impression that:
-The sight of the sash speaks a welcome
to local ethnic groups.
Number of brochures taken and read: 972
-Weaving provided a diversion and relaxation
for staff, patients, and visitors.
Estimated average 50 per day, watching.
-Craft was promoted as a means to personal re-sourcing;
Individuals reported that looking was nice,
but doing it themselves was even better.
Number of individuals completing a small sample: 172
The Manitoba Museum received 8 fingerwoven pieces
for education & display purposes.
Weaving is an effective remedy
for the stress experienced in health care settings.
Manitoba Artists in Healthcare
Manitoba Culture Heritage and Tourism
Musée de St. Boniface Museum
St. Boniface General Hospital
The Manitoba Museum
McNally Robinson Booksellers has a box of my books, and have been selling them to people in their stores. Unfortuantely it does not look like it on their website. I mentionned this to my contact at McNally’s. She said that because it’s a self-published book, it does not go up automatically, but she will check to see that it does get on the net. In the meantime, dear reader, do not dispair. You can still acquire the book, either through me, or through McNally’s, just write and ask for it specifically.
I used to have a photo of the cover of my book on my website. That, too, will be back up shortly, along with the table of contents and a sample page, so you can judge for yourself.
Ishmael Baeh was in town last night, talking about his book, A Long Way Gone. What an amazing human being! Such a message of hope! ‘Recruited’ as a soldier (recruited is hot the correct term as it suggests a bit of choice in the matter, and for him it was life or death) at a young age, he was later rescued by the UN who took him to a rehabilitation camp.
Ishmael says that there is no limit to the resilliency of human beings. With the help of other kind, loving, humans, we can overcome anything, and live a full life, no matter what our past. It is never hopeless, just in a ‘not yet’ state.
I am in awe of this amazing young man.
Silly me, I feel a connection to Ishmael, as our photos appeared side-by-side two weeks in a row in the Winnipeg Free Press, announcing events at McNally Robinson’s bookstore.
Today I’m dealing with arrangements to have a display case made. The replica sash I wove last year will be installed just behind the information desk in the St-Boniface General Hospital, between the Atrium and the elevators. Today the carpenter, curator, and Atrium supervisor will meet to agree on details.
One day soon I’ll learn how to post photos for youall.