John continues to work on two projects, one at home and one at the Damascus Fiber Arts School. The tightly packed rugs take many months to complete. In this photo you can see how John’s architectural drafting skills contribute to his weaving. He takes plenty of time to create the design, then prints out several copies so he can try different color schemes. There are always adjustments to be made once the weaving it underway, but it’s essential to start with a good plan.
The challenges at the floor loom seem a bit different. I decided to weave a “leftovers” piece, using leftover yarns from John’s tapestries for the weft and some finely spun two-ply dark brown weft yarn made from Jan and Jeff Jacqua’s Jacob fleeces. I planned to space the warps wide–4 per inch–to give the thick Romney yarns lots of room to celebrate their color and texture. I use a spreadsheet rather than a drawing to record all the yarns and determine the sequence of colors and treadling patterns that I will use. With this weaving, after two inches I knew I needed to rethink my plan. Rather than packing it firmly, I decided to lay the yarns in very gently, allowing a lot of space in both directions. Here is what it looked like on the loom.
On the loom, this piece was sett at 42 inches wide and the warp was 3 yards long. Off the loom, it quickly pulled in to 35 inches wide. But once it was fulled (washed in very warm water and hung to dry), its character changed.
Now just 27 inches wide, the fabric is very thick and the twill patterns are less evident. I was determined not to worry about “what it is.” But looking at the fabric, I am thinking of a couple of big couch pillows with these beautiful colors. And here they are. I left the fringes on and rolled up an old feather pillow inside each one, then hand-stitched the bolster-type pillow.