Yesterday morning I facilitated an experimental nuno felting workshop at Clasheen but due to lack of water yet again have decided to put my own felting on hold until after the plumbers visit next Tuesday morning. It is a big pain (although I am grateful for the facility!) to carry all my water up the hill from my neighbour’s house so at the moment I am keeping consumption to a minimum. As blogged about at Clasheen my felting preparation at the moment is plotting and planning the shape of my first large felt sculpture of 2010. This left me free to warp my Ashford Knitters Loom again and have a bit of fun weaving a soft and tactile wallhanging.
I warped the loom with a soft but strong natural cotton twine and then used cotton, thick and thin cotton yarn, undyed fleece, leather and found objects from the beach for the weft. It was great to be able to use some of my felting stash in a different way. The natural undyed fleece had been sitting in my studio for almost a year and a half just waiting for the right project but because there was not actually much of any one individual colour I had been procrastinating about what to felt with it. Warping only every second slot and hole allowed me to use these natural batts in the weft so now I am plotting and planning two bedside rugs, one in naturals and one in some of the gorgeous bright coloured Icelandic wool that I stock in my Etsy shop. Probably for the rugs I will use wool in the warp because I reckon that if I washed a fleece and cotton rug the wool might shrink and the cotton not and obviously for a bedside rug it would be nice to have the option of cleaning it in the future.
Anyway, back to the wallhanging. Initially I wanted to include some found fishing net in the weaving but discovered that it was too difficult to push it into position so decidided to leave it out. Once I had finished weaving the hanging was shorter than I had hoped (my planning is not very good yet!) and I suddenly had the brainwave to insert the net through the space at the beginning of the work where I had placed some folded paper above the first few lines of weaving. Usually you remove this paper at the end of your project and the first few lines of weft from the bottom are then undone or cut off before tying or plaiting the warp ends to finish the piece. I decided to insert the net in the space and not to remove the bottom few lines of weaving, immediately the wallhanging became longer and the overall effect to my eyes looked a lot more balanced! I like the natural and organic feel of the hanging, no perfect tension and straight lines here. ‘Creative Weaving’ by Sarah Howard and Elizabeth Kendrick is an excellent book if anyone would like to see how I included the dried sea weed ends and the pieces of driftwood into the weaving as I went along. There are a couple more photos over on Flickr, now I just need to weave in a couple of the ends and drill some fittings to the back of the driftwood and my first woven wallhanging will be finished and ready to hang in my bathroom.