The organizers of the Intermountain Weavers Conference asked me back for this year. I taught three classes: intro to sprang, sprang lace and sprang in S&Z. The students were eager and enthusiastic. The world has a few more practitioners of sprang!
Then on to the DC area, to be specific, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. I’ll gave a talk on the subject of sprang. I also handed over another replica of the Braddock sash. This time the beneficiary was Carlyle House. They will soon unveil a mannequin dressed out as Edward Braddock in his military uniform.
Then on to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. They have a collection of some 200 pieces of sprang bonnets, some complete, some just little bits.
Researcher Julia Galliker and I had a look at these pieces. We’re intending to compile our findings into a database (Julia has a gift for databases) and we will present this information at the Textiles of the Nile Valley Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, at the end of October.
Here I am back in California in February. I started out at the Lacis Museum of Lace in Berkeley. I hung out there for two days, teaching.
I then travelled to Aptos, where I met with the Santa Cruz Handweavers. Some of the students from last year wanted more. Some were new to finger weaving and sprang. Here are photos of some of what they produced during the workshop:
Such a pleasure to be working with individuals so eager to learn and spread the good word about these amazing techniques.
In my spare time between teaching engagements here in California, I continue to work on mapping out the patterns in those pieces I saw at the Kelsey Museum, in Ann Arbor, Mi, last May.
IMAGe(Twined patterns from the collection at the Kelsey Museum, in Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Hoping to publish a set of twined patterns, following up in the idea of the sprang lace book of last year. Sprang is such an amazing, adaptable textile technique. The historic record is exceedingly rich in ideas.
I’m working on a series of sprang patterns. Some people have commented that they need a bit more information than what is in my book. Maybe what people need is something like what has already been done for knitting and crochet, books of patterns for hats, vests, scarves and the like.
I’ve gone back to the hats in my book as a starting point, describing the ‘how-to’ of these hats in greater detail. Now, just how much detail do people need? That’s the question.
Here are three basic shapes of hats. I’m starting with a rather detailed step-by-step describing the making of these three.
Once I’ve written out the basic instructions for these three hats, then there can be variations. For example, working a lace pattern on the tam, you get a lacy tam.
OK, so I’m needing to write something about how you get the lace pattern, and then how to work the lace pattern onto that tam.
I’m needing to do a similar thing for S and Z patterns. That’s this green hat.
I’m open to suggestions for patterns.
Winter is getting to be rather long here in Winnipeg. The snow is up to my waist. It’s been difficult to keep up with the shovelling, and then the snowplows pass by and completely block off access to the street.
Yes, it’s time to go South. Weather in New Mexico was very mild by Manitoba standards.
Luckily I had been invited to teach at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center in New Mexico. The group there was keen, and learned fast. We covered flat warps as well as circular warps. Glenna Dean of Abiquiu Dye Studios helped me special dye some yarn for multi-colored circular warps, and participants learned how to make some fancy patterns.
Then on to Albuquerque and the Las Aranas Weavers and Spinners. I gave my powerpoint talk on sprang to the guild meeting, and then presented three days of workshop on sprang.
It must be something in the New Mexico water. Everyone did well. Some even started exploring ‘S’ and ‘Z’ patterns, interlacing and intertwining.
Many thanks to the folks at Village Wool (fiber addiction specialists), to Chris Allen and Ruth Ronan and Extra special thanks to Glenna Dean.
My project for this holiday season is a bit of ‘clear out the stash before the new year’. I’ve selected a project that was planned in the Summer of 2012. I had access (thanks to Glenna) to industrial amounts of white sock yarn. Planning a garment of a size to fit me, I measured out rather long hanks (3 ft diameter). Glenna helped me to a rainbow dye job for this yarn.
At the beginning of the holiday season, to keep me from overdoing it on the cookie-baking, I set up a warp.
I tied a red thread around the centre of the warp to mark the neck opening, more about this later.
For this to work properly, you have to use the circular warp technique. This means that the first rows of work are on either side of the centre of the piece. The first rows of work here are the shoulders. Inspired by the work of a Dutch sprang expert, Coby, I decided to double up the threads at the shoulder, switch to single threads below the yoke of the sweater.
The secret to being able to push the false weave around is adequate width. I found that long shed sticks, spreading out the warp, moving the threads in sections was the key.
Weaving progressed, here I am getting near the finish: the two ends approach.
When only 5 inches was left between the two ends of cloth, it was time to cut the threads. I cut them 3 at a time, and tied an overhand knot, pushing the knot up to the cloth, working my way across the warp.
Now I have to decide which side is front:
Work on the sash replica continues. The length of cloth is now such that I’m ‘over the top’.
The first few feet of the sash were worked on the ‘front’ of the frame. Each time I worked a row, the new shed was pushed down, around the bottom, up the back of the frame, and finally over the top. Each time a ‘Z’ row was completed, an ‘S’ row was added above.
I’ve arrived at the point where I now sit and work with the ‘Z’ row at a comfortable height and the most recent ‘S’ row is on the ‘back’ side of the frame.
The ‘S’ portion seems to need a bit of encouragement to compact together. Early on I found that a heavy knitting needle in the last row, clasped to another needle for security, was the right thing to press each row against the previous. It also served as ‘safety’ line, should (horror of horror) I loose my working shed.
Now that I’m over the top, the heavy knitting needle works at cross purposes. A few rows past the top of the frame, I noted that the needles were weighting downward and away from the cloth. At this point I switched to wooden sticks. The sticks are lighter than the metal knitting needles and not particularly well finished, so they ‘grab’ to the threads in the last shed, don’t fall down.
It’s minus 14 outside today, and there’s a fresh blanket of snow. Time for serious winter clothes.
I set me a figure-8 warp, 30 inches long (70cm) and wove until it met at the middle. OK, I added some S and Z design to keep things interesting.
I chained across the meeting line.
The loop ends were gathered together, and I sewed the whole thing into a long tube or football shape.
Check to prevent the needle from snagging the back side of the hat
One end of the ‘football’ was tucked into the other end.
The finished hat!
I’ve been spranging quite a bit lately. First of all there are more than a dozen wool sprang sergeant sashes on order. For another I’ve been experimenting with patterns, doubles on row A, doubles on row B, as in the piece on the left below. I’ve been playing with S and Z twist, in the piece on the right. As well I’ve been playing with finishing techniques. See below.