Sunday, 15 May 2016

Inspiration: knots and meanders

How do you find inspiration for weaving?

I am not an artist but I can take photographs.  Whenever I am away, I take my camera and take photographs of anything that takes my interest; from flowers, to buildings, even unusual shapes of railings.  When I get home I transfer the photographs to a file folder called Inspirational Pictures. Here I sort the photographs into folders:  birds, flowers, church tracery, water, sea pictures, seasonal pictures, heart shapes, knots and meanders etc.

This is my resource when I need it.

When I was thinking about preparing a new booklet of patterns for my workshops at Summer School and Tacoma, I examined all the pictures that I had taken of knots and meanders.  Everywhere I have visited I always look for patterns.


Lambeth Bridge in London,  through which you can see the Houses of Parliament

A French church roof in Troyes

A decorative frieze at Strawberry Hill in London.

Carved knot from the Rothbury cross circa 800 CE
Coat of arms of Bishop Cosin in Durham Cathedral cloister
This is a common motif.  I used it on my first YouTube video: Using the Sunna heddle to weave patterned bands 

Here is the band in close up.
Close up of knot motif band.

Zig zag decoration above window in Durham Cathedral cloister
meander detail on student residence in Tartuu Estonia

In Liverpool the former offices for the Mersey Tunnel has some beautiful decorative Art Deco features. I love the way in which this utilitarian building has been decorated.  It is the ventilation outlet as well as the main office building.
Mersey Tunnel offices and ventilation building 1931-1934

An astonishing door and surround
There are some beautiful decorative Art Deco features. The outside of the building has some exotic Art Deco sculptures which are very striking. This was a building meant to impress.

Look at these friezes.  They are so dramatic.

I was inspired enough to design a couple of narrow patterned bands.Here is one with three wavy lines like the frieze above.  There are 13 pattern threads.

Front and back of woven band.

Here is another design with two wavy lines. There are 13 pattern threads.

front and back of woven band

The two woven bands.

I also designed a narrow warp faced band.  This band has 46 warp ends. The weft is green and the pattern is grey silk. I was trying to get the effect of wavy lines.

A narrow warp faced band in cotton and silk.

I enjoyed using green to design these woven bands.

Happy inspirational weaving

Susan J Foulkes May 2016

Sunday, 1 May 2016

I can weave a rainbow

Rainbow colours

 are so evocative. 

I wove this rug many years ago when I had my sturdy 8 shaft countermarche Toika loom.  I loved weaving rugs but the physicality of weaving and beating so hard proved too much. I changed to my present loom which is not suitable for rug weaving, but offers an infinite variety of patterns to weave with its 32 shafts.

My rainbow rug
The rug has pride of place in the lounge. It is woven in double weave so the back of the rug makes a different pattern to the front.  It can be used on both sides.

reverse of rug 
I particularly enjoyed the finishing of the warp ends.  Perter Collingwood's book on the Techniques of Rug Making offers a variety of different ways of finishing a rug.  For this one I chose to hide all the ends by weaving them back into the rug with a long rug needle.  It took a long time to do but I like the effect. The edge is very smooth. The rug does not curl up but lies flat on the carpet as it is such a heavy quality.

edging of the rug

More tea towels.

Rainbow colours can be used in other ways.

I use a lot of cottolin in my weaving.  I have a lot of small amounts on spools which I thought that I could use up in designing rainbow tea towels.

Oddments of yarn

Chart of cottolin colours.

There were a lot of colours!

I arranged the spools in a line so that I could decide how best to use the colours. To produce an effective check I divided the colours into groups of three. For each group of three, I used a colour for which I had the most yarn. The centre colour would also be used for the weft to produce the check.

I decided to make a warp with coloured stripes.

Striped warp on the loom
It was a good way of using up small quantities of yarn.  The sett is 20 epi for cottolin which is the equivalent of 8/2 cotton.

Here is a close up of one of the towels.

Each colour is used for 10 warp ends.  Each group of three is 30 warp ends which makes  1.5 inches.
For each group of three colours, the centre colour is also used for the weft to make a check pattern.

Weaving a narrow hanging tag. 

Of course I had to weave a matching rainbow hanging tag. There are 36 warp ends.

draw down for hanging tag. 

Shading colours for a warp faced narrow band.

If you want to shade colours across the warp for a warp faced narrow band, thread the colours in groups of three.  This melds the shades together. I used a red weft which shows as a dotted colour accent along one selvedge. Here is the finished band.

Rainbow tag for tea towels

And here are the towels.  I wove some with coloured weft and some with a white weft.

Two tea towels in my kitchen

Rainbow colours brighten up any room.

Happy weaving

Next post:

My next post in May will be about Knots and Meanders. Do follow my blog to get notification of my next post.

Susan J Foulkes May 2016