Anyone who knows me (Erin) knows I actually "read the instructions." I am one of those whose natural tendency is to color inside the lines. When I color outside the lines, I'm likely to make a 1/2" margin and color inside THAT. That is how...uhm...uptight I can be.
So, when someone asks me what I'm weaving, and I say "I'm winging it" what I really mean is that I know enough to set up my threading and treadling for twill, but I don't have a pattern and I'm going to experiment and see what speaks to me. That is how the project below emerged. I'm coloring outside the lines but I have a framework, my 1/2" margin.
The most common question I was asked at Norfolk Mini Maker Faire, after "How does that work? was "What are you weaving?"
I had no good answer. Demo cloth was the reality. I had dressed the loom with 40/2 cotton carpet warp (it was free, and like thread thin), one thread per dent in an 8-dent reed, and a 1-2-3-4 twill threading. I knew I wanted to use twill, and I knew I wanted weft faced because that is interesting to see the pattern emerge when someone is trying it out. Beyond that, though, I really didn't know. Demo cloth sounded so lame. Table runner? Shawl? Placemats? Towels?
Cloth. I'm making cloth. I'll figure out what I want to do with it when I'm finished. Maybe it'll be a tote bag.
Update: It wants to be an alpaca shawl in reversed twill.
Update: it's off the loom. It's...interesting. I'm not sure I'd say it was a successful experiment yet, only that it was an experiment. And sometimes that's all it has to be. Not all things work. This will not work as a shawl. It's delightfully heavy, but not wide enough to be a throw. Maybe it'll be wall art. I'll report back.
Tien Chiu is a funny, thoughtful, accomplished weaver. She is blogging a book on creativity at Creating Craft: A Guide to Designing Original Pieces. You can subscribe to her posts (I do!) and be both inspired and relieved that you are not alone and that there are strategies for bringing out the creative.
And guess what? There's always a time to wing it.