Monday, March 13, 2017

Always More to Learn

"Life-long learning" and "Life-long learner" are oft-repeated catch phrases lately. Not so long ago it went without saying that a person gained knowledge over time. Although I don't disagree with those sayings, I wish it still went without saying. After all, don't wisdom and age go hand-in-hand? It does not hurt to go out of one's way to seek information, to digest it and to come to one's own conclusion.

Having promised to write about a Rep Weave workshop with Kelly Marshall, it is long past time to do so. Kelly came to speak to my guild and teach a workshop in January.

At the first opportunity I signed up for the workshop. Good thing too, because the roster filled immediately and the wait list was long. Demand was so great that Kelly agreed to teach a second group of students. Our enthusiasm was well founded. Kelly is a nice person, an accomplished weaver and an excellent teacher. Do make the most of any opportunity to learn from her.




Sample and Table Runner woven in Kelly Marshall's Rep Weave workshop

Here you see my workshop sample. I opted to use my own color choices for her design, mostly because there is little 5/2 perle cotton in my stash. Adding a single cone of Verdant Green, the other colors are bits and pieces left over from a previous project. The final result is not the best color-wise. The structure itself is far more satisfying.

If you look at the photos of my Yuletide Swirl rep runner in a previous post you will see one describing my dissatisfaction with the color breaks formed when I tried double-threading my heddles for a sett of 48 e.p.i. You may recall that I painstakingly rethreaded the whole thing with single ends per heddle because I did not like those spots. The result was a nice runner with near complete weft coverage. Weaving it was slightly problematic not in treadling but in advancing that dense warp. My three subsequent Swirl warps were sett a bit looser at 40 e.p.i. That was easier but still a tad dense. Still, the resulting runners are pleasing.

Threading two ends per heddle affords ample opportunity for color blending, something Kelly uses to great effect in her work. Two ends together in the heddle allows them to sometimes switch places. If the ends are two different colors interesting blending effects can occur. The possibilities are endless and exciting. 

Left - sample with mixed brown and cream-colored yarns for thick weft
Right - Rep Runner with all brown yarns for thick weft
Kelly won me over to her way of weaving Rep with two ends per heddle. The way she avoids those weft color spots peeking out is by carefully matching her thick weft color to her warp colors.

Being used to weaving on a more “open” sett and using the thick weft color as a design element, I wasn't expecting that as the solution. On the first class day I did not bring carefully matching weft yarns. Kelly directed us to use three strands of Sugar & Cream yarn as one for the thick weft. For my first day’s sample I used three different colors for the three strands: brown, cream, and variegated browns. On the left the photo shows the same problem that bothered me back with the Yuletide Swirl runner. The final runner on the right, with three strands of brown yarn together, is far better.

If you don’t have the chance to take a workshop or hear her speak, Kelly Marshall has written a lovely book about her design process and technique, “Custom Woven Interiors: Bringing color and design home with Rep weave”. Any or all of the three are highly recommended. Meeting her and learning from her was a thrill and a golden opportunity.

There is such a thing as an information overload but one can never know enough and learning is fun. I aim to learn more every day. Whether I manage to do so is another thing . . . I am a work in progress.

Warp On/Weave Off,

RepWeaver


2 comments:

Peg Cherre said...

Thanks for all the detail photos, with titles, along with your explanations. It really helps demonstrate how much difference little things can make.

And I actually like those earthy colors. :-)

RepWeaver said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Peg.
RepWeaver