It was suggested to think in terms of colours or texture or a combination of the two and I concentrated on my theme book yarns and colours and also potential textures – my colours are soft and muted as they are the colours of moor land and Dovedale in Derbyshire as well as other fauna and foliage in the area. I have gathered together yarns that I feel depict the emotions and the atmosphere of the area as well as the textures and colours as mentioned and all are as important as each other for me.
I worked as per the course instructions and combined different yarns in the same pick, tried different materials such as strips of fabric (a tweed) and also strips of a plastic bag.
The plastic bag I used for just a couple of areas of Ghiordes knots which worked well for me I feel although I had tried a row much lower down using ochre and pink threads.
I also tried using raffia combined with different yarns and also several twisted yarns which I made.
As per my first example I also used a sheer voile cut into strips and either twisted or combined with a yarn in the same pick – this is an effect I do like. For the tweed fabric I tried the Ghiordes knot again but this time rather than in small strips I wound it around my finger in a continuous length as per some early course suggestions which meant slightly different widths resulted but this I really liked.
I did not feel tissue paper was going to be effective for me as I find it tears too easily and also avoided strips of other papers for the same reason but I am interested in shifu paper yarn so know this would be a possibility in the future when I learn how to make it!
The course materials stated to try at least 5 centimetres of each idea before moving on to the next but in some areas I did much less where I felt satisfied with the result.
Looking again at my sample I also used strips of cotton for some picks and also enjoyed experimenting with Soumak stitches in raffia and twisted yarns in different areas.
After doing about half of the sample as experimentation the suggested before working on a more specific sample piece based on some of my ideas for the top half. For this top half (the blue fluffy yarn is the very top of the piece) I tried to recreate some of the fences and views in an abstract form – the warp showing through to give the impression of fence posts and hence the soft greens and browns being at the edges with the more defined greens and purples towards the centre. On the right of the piece there are areas of soft lilacs trying to depict some of the flowers that grow through the fences and stone walls and as you go up the piece the fences end and the fauna spills over the top and merging with the blues and lilacs of the sky with fluffy blue clouds.
Towards the base of the sample I used lavender flower heads and their stems to trial how this would work – this piece literally appeals to all the senses and smells wonderful! I repeated using the flower heads but only in a single area further up and now do wish I had used more as they give another element and texture to the piece.
Mistakes made include the warp gathering together too much and as I was not using my heddle bar but weaving individual warp threads for at least the top half I got very mixed up with what went under what or over what! There are many areas the warp shows through much more than I would ideally like but on the other hand I like the effect too and it definitely adds more texture. To prevent this I am adding nails into the top and bottom bars of the loom to ensure the warp stays evenly spaced and ensuring I use a heddle bar even if just weaving with small butterflies rather than my cardboard bobbins – the latter will be dropped from use in the next couple of weeks as I have new wooden bobbins on order.
The other basic mistake I made was cutting the warp threads at the bottom too short to tie together and to correct this for the next sample I will make my header cord a little higher up.
The bottom half of the sample where I used different yarns in the same pick the warp is even and creating a brick like effect which was intentional and this I repeated higher up as it worked well. I found the Soumak worked well in both dividing areas and adding texture or the effect of the top of a fence or wall as well as in different colours can be used for foliage. I found the Ghiordes knot in a continuous length became very useful for the effect of foliage in the pinks and purples and particular effective using twisted cords with yarns of different colours.
I did solve on the whole the problem of the selvedges pulling in by when I take the weft across I do so at an angle so that it allows extra thread when beating down – it is also down to experience and practice with how much to leave at the edges.
Overall the sample worked well I feel and has certainly given me a lot more confidence in using the yarns. I feel I could have been more experimental with different yarns or in particular materials but I am still happy with what I have done as I have kept my theme book work at the front of my mind and ideas. This sample will be transferred to my theme book work after tutor feedback as it has given me some early ideas on how the weaving will work.