Over the weekend I finished the final workbox for the Stitchbook Collective. This one was on weaving. I remember weaving as a child – my Dad made us rectangular wooden frames with lots of nails in and we would sit and weave random lengths of wool! This time Helen Bellingham (from Untangled Threads) had rather cleverly thought that the postal box could be used as a frame, we simply cut the lid off, made some indents with a knife along the top and bottom, and wrapped some lovely thick linen thread round to make the warp. Wooden coffee stirrers were ideal for pushing the threads down!
Helen showed us the basics of weaving – tips to help keep the sides straight, how to join to blocks together etc. I decided rather than do anything fancy I would concentrate on colour and texture.
Helen had included a variety of threads, shiny ones, bobbly ones, fabric strips and wool rovings in blues, greens and turquoise. I added a few threads from my stash too, a strip of organza and some Wensleydale sheep wool. Wensleydale sheep have amazing fleeces in like long ringlets, I bought a small bag years ago, I use it for things like a Father Christmas beard!! As it’s in long ringlets it actually was quite easy to weave – much easier than the rovings. I added some beads in the middle too.
Once I felt it was finished I cut it off the loom and then had to decide how to finish the ends. I looked at macrame knots on the internet but I couldn’t see one that had the effect I wanted. In the end I just threaded a bead and made up a knot – I’m sure it has a name but I didn’t follow any instructions for it! I’m pretty pleased with this, I like the way the textures and colours have worked out.
The second sample was made by inserting pins round a shape on corrugated card (I did mine on my wool pressing mat which was nice and stable) thread was then wrapped round the pins to make the warp. This was a lot more fiddly, mainly because it was small, the warp threads were close together and the pins got in the way. Having said that, I like the end result…
I decided to do a circle in silvery grey sort of colours. I also decided to have all the loose ends at the same side, thinking moonlit etc! I found a mixed bag of silvery threads in my stash, some more Wensleydale wool and some silvery organza.
Once my circle was complete I did have a bit of a worry about taking all the pins out. I realised that when the instructions said secure the warp thread, I just knotted it round the pin, so once I took the pins out there would be nothing to stop it unravelling!! I very gingerly took the pins out and carefully laid it on some dark grey felt, I could then stitch the warp thread ends through the felt to secure them…phew! To finish securing the weaving I stitched beads on all the warp thread points, together with a few extra to make the circle. Although I wanted the long threads at one end I did feel they needed a little controlling, so I stitched a few down with the tiny beads, adding a few twists and turns.
I’m really pleased with both my pieces this month, my stitch book is going to be quite a fat book!! All I need to do now it make some book covers and then bind it all together. I’ve really enjoyed this series of workshops, it’s certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, it’s given me the opportunity to try all sorts of different textiles and techniques such as joomchi, printing, tyvek, some I think I’m unlikely to try again, others I’ve really enjoyed and already used the technique or style in other pieces. If any one fancies having a go, I think Helen is planning another series of workshops next year, I would certainly recommend them.