May 26, 2015

Loosening Up

I’ve been really enjoying the inkle loom, weaving bookmarks for the Bekcheion Indiegogo campaign and the Baltic pickup work. While warping and pickup can be a little frustrating (warping is always frustrating), it’s beautiful wonderful work, and fun to do. The other weaving I’ve been doing lately has been on the little tri-loom, which is also fun. (Oh, hey, I finished and got stitched together the first row of pieces. I should take pictures and post them.)

All of this is very rigid, though. Which is great, in its place! But Saori weaving has an important place for me, too, and I was missing it. My rigid heddle loom is hard for me to warp and awkward for me to use without a stand, so I haven’t been using it for a while now, and that’s the one I have that’s best suited to it just now.

May in Seattle is weird, and it’s weirder than usual this year. 90F one day and 70F the next, with really unreliable predictions from the meterologists. My sandals died last year, and my day-to-day shoes are mary janes, which are not so great on hot days.

These two things, thinking about Saori and wanting sandals, had me thinking about a weave-along project one of the Ravelry Saori groups did a couple of years ago. (That’s a Ravelry link, you’ll need an account to view it, but it’s free if you’re really interested.) The idea came from some brands of sandals where you get a footbed with holes around the edges and between the first and second toes, and interchangeable cloth straps that can be threaded and wrapped different ways. The idea was to weave long straps to use for these, or for anything else long straps are useful for. Not having a loom that worked well for that (the rigid heddle has too wide a sett), I built myself a backstrap loom, only to learns that backstraps work really poorly for me. I only got 16" or so done on both of them before giving up.

But now I do have a loom that is specifically made for straps. Straps are all it does, in fact. Usually you weave a strictly warp-faced strap, but there’s nothing about the loom that requires it. And I have this cotton I spun on the charkha that I keep wanting to use. So what the hell, here goes. If I can make several pretty straps, I’ll buy a pair of cheap flipflops and poke holes in them, and have wrap sandals for hot days.

So I wrapped a warp of bright green charka cotton, and threw some natural brown cotton on the shuttle, and away I went. I’m not very good on a charkha, and my thread is delicate and snaps and stretches, so I have to weave very gently and carefully, but it’s soothing anyway, rather than frustrating. Meditative in the care I have to take, comforting in the gentleness it requires. Weaving without caring about floats or patterns or tidy selvedges is so freeing. Usually, Saori uses a lot of colors, often in warp as well as weft, and here I’m using only one for each, and the warp is too narrow for most of the game Saori joyfully plays with how the weft is laid in, but I still weave loosely, organically, paying more attention to how I feel than to precision.

It’s good to come home to that.

Next project: Trying out a Greek key design for barred pickup.