I have a very early version of Schacht Spindle Company’s Baby Wolf . It is an 8 harness loom that I purchased in 1983. Of all my looms, this is the one that gets the most use. The width of 25″ is just right for most of my weaving projects, and I have a variety of reeds to use on this loom. A reed of this width is much more affordable than purchasing a reed for my 56″ wide Macomber for example.
But at the moment, there is a dog sitting on this loom, and it’s been there since, oh I’d say January. For the non-initiated, or for new weavers, “dog” refers to an unsuccessful, ugly or unwanted piece of handwoven fabric. I had wanted to weave a rep weave fabric to use as book covers. Rep weave is a tightly sett block weave where the warp pattern is dominant. Here is the sketch I did on graph paper.
And here it is woven on the Baby Wolf. This is the state it’s been in since January, that’s 6 months ago!
Somehow, the woven fabric doesn’t match the sketch. And do you see the separation of blue warp threads a little left of the center of the piece? This happened when one of the dents in my (only used once before) 15 dent reed buckled while beating.
Very frustrating indeed! So this has become the dog that just won’t go away. And I’m very hesitant to put it to sleep, as I just don’t like the idea of wasting several yards of lovely 5/2 pearl cotton. So it looks like it will just lie on my Baby Wolf until I have the courage to take my extra sharp Gingher scissors and cut. It may also take a few glasses of lovely shiraz before it gets to that point.
Meanwhile, I am preparing to teach a one day workshop on inkle loom weaving at the University of Memphis Department of Continuing Education. I was inspired by an article in Handwoven Magazine’s September/October 2008 issue. It was Bands, bands, bands, and more bands! by Christi Eales Ehler. After a trip to Guatemala, the author designed several inkle woven bands inspired by the jaspe cloth she saw there. Before the jaspe cloth is woven, selected areas of the weft yarn are dyed. This is the same process known as ikat in Indonesia and other Asian countries. In Guatemala, jaspe cloth is sewn into traditional skirts, called corte. Incorporating the design concepts, that Ms. Ehler presented in this article, I adapted an inkle band that looks like it may somewhat be inspired by jaspe cloth.
The pattern looks a lot different than the more traditional inkle designs of checks, ladders, railroad tracks and wavy lines as described in Helene Bress’s classic book, Inkle Weaving. The warping for the jaspe inspired band required a lot of attention as there were frequent color changes. Overall, I was quite pleased with the result, and the pattern is a refreshing change from the more easily recognizable inkle woven patterns.
I’m sure that I’ll find enough interesting weaving projects to complete while the dog continues to sit on the baby wolf. But as my list of projects grow, I think that this dog’s days are numbered.
Filed under: Fiber, Handwoven, Memphis, Weaving | Tagged: baby wolf, dog, handweaving, Handwoven Magazine, ikat, inkle loom, jaspe cloth, loom, Memphis, rep weave, Schacht Spindle Co., University of Memphis, Weaving, weaving class, woven |