Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Surprises


We are probably safe in saying that spring has arrived on the west coast and that it is here for a while.  Those of us with gardens are in conflict as to whether to don our boots and grab some gardening tools or whether to stay in doors and finish our fiber arts projects.  Thank heavens for rainy days!  They give us a chance to play with yarns without guilt while Mother Nature waters our plants.  And besides those early spring blooms have inspired us and we just have to act on that inspiration.

How have our guild members managed to cope with this conflict?  Well from the show and tell part of our last meeting, it appears they have done quite well.  Of course there has been a lot of rain! 
Although it is difficult to see in the photo below, our group managed to pile our display table deep with lovely fabric of all descriptions.  The shawl in the photo is sitting on a great pile of place mats, tea towels, hand towels, scarves and blankets.
Many of the items shown at the meeting are the result of explorations into colour, texture, structure. It is always interesting to hear what prompted the maker to create the piece and what they learned both good and bad from the experience.  The chenille towel in this picture is part of a set of black and white towels.  In this example the weft is a mix of two threads, partly a necessity and partly an exploration of how a variegated yarn would have behaved.  A very successful solution to the not enough yarn problem.  The striped tea towel was inspired by a workshop.  It is a great example of a thoughtful colour scheme.   
The place mats are an example of making the most of a 4 harness loom in order to create a cloth that has two completely different looks.  As shown, these mats have dots of colour against a dark background which would go with almost any china pattern while the opposite side is a riot of colour stripes. 
Some times an item shown at one meeting is the inspiration for an item that turns up at a subsequent meeting.  The baby blanket in green started out as yardage looking for a purpose in life until another guild member came with a series of blankets woven for recent and future grandchildren.
Some pieces are inspired by the colour (turquoise) of the yarns themselves. 
 Textiles woven using hand spun have a unique quality due to the nature of the materials.  They often evoke the past when most cloth would have had a weft that was created by hand.  Even though we can purchase luscious yarns in wild colours and textures there is nothing like completing your own shawl or blanket knowing that you created it from scratch.  It is yours, all yours and unique.
 Often items that are shown at the guild meetings return in the future in another form.  Watch for this square from a friendship coverlet project (from a different guild) to return along with its siblings as a finished piece.  The weft in this piece is hand spun yarn.  You may have to enlarge the picture to see the pattern.
This week one group of members is busy warping their looms for a workshop on woven laces.  Another group is completing their double woven samples on the guilds floor looms.  Still others are working on their colour studies.  So, stay tuned, our next show and tell should be jam packed with surprising works even if the rain stops and we all have to work in the garden for a while.