Thursday, April 26, 2007

Weaving at Asilomar

I went to the CNCH conference last weekend at Asilomar Conference Center, near Monterey, California. This is a wonderful conference center that is part of the CA Parks system, and has many buildings (including the one I stayed in) that were designed by Julia Morgan and built in the late 19th century. Don't worry that I was roughing it, though, they have been thoroughly updated. Here's the main lodge-
All of the buildings were designed to fit into the dunes, so that the view from the beach is still wonderful. Here's the beach
which turned out to be a great place to sit and knit (a Monday morning activity).
I took a 2 1/2 day class on Knotted Cut Pile, and my last post showed the yarn that I had spun and dyed for the class. I also did a design, though none of this was a prerequisite. The instructor was Sara Lamb, a very talented weaver and great teacher. Everyone in the class enjoyed it, from experienced weavers to absolute newbies (we had a brave man in the class who was not a spinner, weaver, or knitter - his only textile experiences had been as a quilter - more on him later).
First, we built our looms
from copper pipe and other hardware store materials. We put feet on them so that they could stand up for warping.
Now, I'n not a real weaver because I hate warping, but even I did not mind the warping process on this loom. I was almost the slowest warper, though, because I found at the end that I had done a cross incorrectly and had to take 3/4 off and do it again. This didn't bother me as much as I thought it would, though, because I was having a good time in general. A warp this size is just so much less tedious than on a larger loom. We used string heddles, and I learned to do continous heddles, which worked well for me and enabled me to get back on track, time-wise. I didn't mess these up, thankfully.
By the end of the day we were all, even me, tying our first knots. In the photo above you can see some of the yarn (Paternayan needlepoint yarn) that Sara had brought for people to use. Everyone found colors that they liked, and though I was the only person who had specifically spun for this class, I was not the only person who had done their own design. Here is Jim's abstract design (he is the quilter).
( We have taken the feet off the looms for ease in weaving)
Pretty much the rest of the work we did in class was knotting and cutting the pile. While we did this, Sara showed us some of her work,
which is amazing, huh? She also showed slides of traditional weavings and talked about other books and resources.
Of course, there was time for other activities as well. Sara is on the left, and our friend Sue on the right. It was cool and breezy, but perfect weather for beach walks.
Here is my loom and the amount of knotting that I completed. When the whole piece is finished, there will be front and back pile sections to be joined with sides and strap to make a small bag.
If you want to see our speediest knotter, check out the photo of my tablemate Deanna on Sara's blog. She has other pictures of the class as well.