I’m awfully tardy in reporting back on my SOAR trip from this year but I’ve been making it a point to continue on with the project I started in my class. This year was Knotted Pile with Sara Lamb. The purpose of the class was to not only learn the techniques for weaving a knotted pile rug, but also how to spin the yarn suitable for weft.
I took along my 16″ Mirrix Big Sister loom rather than use/purchase the small rigid heddle looms that were available in class. First off, I need another loom like I need a hole in the head and second, the Mirrix is perfectly suited for this kind of work. It has a shedding mechanism that allows me to raise/lower both pairs of warp ends (which meant I was able to use wool warp) and also sits upright. Upright looms allow for easy access to the warp ends for knot tying and also makes it very straightforward to trim the ends as I’m tying each individual knot.
We were each given a mixed bag of wool containing both dyed (Wensleydale) and natural colors (Karakul and Masham) from which we would spin our pile weft. Millspun warp (wool for me and others with similar looms and crochet cotton for the rigid heddle users), foundation weft and additional yarn for soumak and twined edging completed the bundle. Quick instruction on how to wind warps for those that needed it and then we were away getting our looms warped and going. Most of Day 1 was taken up with getting the warp put on and then weaving the header for my sample. I was able to spend a bit of time in the afternoon, and in the evening, spinning and plying yarn for cut pile. I’ll save details of the spinning and the sample for another post.
By lunch time on Day 2 I had a pile of little balls of yarn and started knotting. By the end of the day, I’d managed to knot my sampler, determined my gauge and was ready to get down to business. Day 3 was twining, header and soumak before lunch and then I plunged into the actual piece. I’d spent a good bit of time on Day 1 doing up a “tribal” design and then promptly messed up the first five border rows. So, I chucked the design and just started tying knots with a goal of learning about how the colors would interact and getting comfortable and efficient with the knotting technique. A few more days of knotting and suddenly I had something. I just kept grabbing colors and tying knots and was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it was.
Fast foward to now and I’m still beavering away.
It’s about three times the size of what I’d finished when I left SOAR and I think I’ll keep going until I get to an even dozen of the little squares on the sides. It’s also looking a bit ragged, but there’s still the trimming to come once it’s off the loom. It’ll probably end up on the wall in the studio somewhere as I start thinking about the next one. Suffice to say that it’s really, truly Good.Fun. I like it much more than tapestry, which is somewhat surprising, but being able to mix colors quickly and easily is what I think is so appealing.
Now to find a photo to inspire Round 2 …