Ask what the cloth knows

Autumn Joy is off the loom.

The reality of freestyle weaving is that we cannot hide our feelings from our cloth. Whatever we are feeling when we sit down at the loom flows into our choice of color and effect, and especially into the density of the cloth.

I weave on a Schacht floor loom. It’s a heavy-handed loom, with a solid beater that you have to hold back more often than you have to beat with vigor. It’s a great loom for tightly woven upholstry fabric and table linens.  Shawls and scarves take attention. The delicate touch comes from the weaver, not from the loom. It takes energy and strength to restrain the beater, just letting it give an air kiss to the fell of the cloth.

When I started weaving Autumn Joy at the beginning of my studio retreat, I was tired and overwhelmed. I can feel that in the first few feet of my cloth(back and mannequin’s left shoulder below) . There’s a lot of stiffness and tension. I was no match for the weight of the beater.

In the middle section (front) , you can see where relaxation is creeping in.  The cloth is still a bit stiff at times, but there are small sections filled with whim and creativity.

The last section (mannequin’s right shoulder) is so diferent. It’s supple and filled with creative inclusions and sweeping areas of color, sometimes beat by my fingers rather than with the loom’s beater. The finish is deliciously ragged.

After wet finishing the fabric with a gentle soak in very hot water, I was surprised to find that I could use this fabric as a scarf after all.

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