Monday, December 29, 2014

Handweavers' Guild of America Certificate of Excellence: Day 1

It's time to organise my study of handweaving more systematically. For the last couple of years, I have woven whatever I felt like weaving, and I have fallen into some ruts and not stretched myself as much as I might have. To remedy this, I had thought about inscribing in one of the courses courses offered in Britain, but they are spendy and too elementary, so I decided instead to undertake self-study, guided by the Handweavers' Guild of America. (They don't actually have an apostrophe, but I've added it so that I don't sicken myself.) They offer a Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving (not in punctuation). The syllabus arrived by post last week. To earn the CoE, one must weave 40 samples, submit them along with some written work, and prepare several designs that primarily deal with colour theory.

The purpose of this blog is to chart my progress, including retrospective progress over the last year. The deadline for submitting the samples is late summer 2016, and I'll really have to scramble to accomplish them all by then (and keep a day job and write several books on topics unrelated to weaving). The samples will require warping the loom about 20 times. I am armed with cashmere, silk, cotton, wool, and ibuprofen. As I put one of the looms in my kitchen, there is no longer any space to cook, and thankfully a genius chef a few villages away is cooking my meals for me while I work through these fibrous tasks.

I was so eager to start that I've nearly finished one assignment.
It's yardage, with a wool warp, threaded on 8 shafts, and woven with a high-twist cashmere singles yarn in a 1/3 - 3/1 twill. This will result in a collapse weave, with soft fuzzy furrows. Or at least that's the plan. Here's a detail:

When it comes off the loom, I'll wash it in warm soapy water, and then throw it repeatedly on the picnic table until it felts and fuzzes to the desired degree. (Thank you Laura Fry for teaching this technique.)

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