Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Pleasant Surprise

Guess where I went today?

2 clues:

Somewhere with yarn

Plus jewelry

If you guessed NHWG (New Hampshire Weavers Guild), you're right!!! We had our last meeting of the spring. We don't meet during the (too short) summer.

This summer is NEWS, the New England Weavers Seminar, in July - many guild members will be there. The guild doesn't meet again until September.

The yarn was a pleasant surprise, plus my new, official NH Weavers Guild pin. (I promised myself that pin as a reward when I finished my set of blue towels. When the towels were finished, there weren't any pins available. Today, I finally purchased my pin.)

The pins are made by a local NH jeweler and may only be worn by current or past members of the NHWG. Kind of like having a secret handshake!

Designed and woven by Laurie Autio
More details about this fabric

The really pleasant surprise was that today I attended a 2-hour workshop by Laurie Autio. "Design Ideas from Twills for Block Weaves" was advertised for intermediate or advanced weavers who are familiar with blocks.

Am I any of those things? I'm curious about blocks. I've woven 4 huck lace towels from an article in Handwoven and have heard of many block weaves.

I know there are huge things about blocks that I don't understand. If I look at a piece of fabric, I cannot tell where the blocks are. I get it something about the color, the pattern? How can I tell?

Anyway, I signed up for this class thinking that it would be good to hear some one talk about designing with blocks, even if I got badly lost within minutes of the start of class.

This morning, I almost switched to a less challenging class, but then decided that I should give it a shot.

I am so glad I did!!!

First off, Laurie is such a good teacher. So much information was packed into that 2 hours. The handouts she prepared were very thorough - about 40 pages. She's very good at explaining things.

Best of all, I understood a lot of what she said!!! I was so psyched!!!

The class covered ways of designing your own drafts using blocks - and so many of those ideas will be great with my 12 shaft Toika (and my new best friend, my weaving software!)

OK, so I'm still hazy on what a block exactly is.....I know it's a group of threads that act together....but there's a big part of the mechanics of blocks that I don't understand.

And it's fine that I don't know that yet. I'm taking a full day class at NEWS where I've been told by the instructor that I should understand that part of blocks very well by the end of the day.

Today was still very useful to me. I now know some cool ways to design my own drafts. Plus I learned a lot about different types of twills (even though you know that twills are not my favorites!)

Designed by Angstadt
Woven by Laurie Autio
More details about this fabric

I'm so happy that today worked out to be comprehensible and not a big struggle for me! I owe a lot of that to Laurie's excellent teaching style.

I have been so lucky to be able to learn from such excellent teachers!!

Two Links about Jacob Angstadt:
Angstadt Patterns
Book of Angstadt Patterns


Theresa said...

How cool is that pin! Sounds like a wonderful class. Love that blue and white weave. Is it a 12 harness pattern or an 8? and speaking of harnesses, have you got them all on your Toika?

Life Looms Large said...

The blue and white weave might have even been 16 or more. I didn't get great details about the weaves....I do remember that the blue and white was something with something else between it (so 2 weave structures of them might have been canvas or some other English word?) Sorry to be so vague!

Laurie (the teacher) has 32 shafts on her loom and wants more sometimes.

My Toika still has only 2 harnesses set up. I'm determined to finish sanding and refinishing this summer when I can work on it outside and not in the basement. I have done some sanding. But not nearly enough!!! The class definitely motivated me even more to get all 12 shafts set up!! (Well, and to add 4 more since I'd have space.....but I'm getting ahead of myself!)


Jennifer said...

I love the possibility of learning new things also. While her teaching style was excellent - don't forget you have a problem solving nature that absorbs well!

Anonymous said...

We've both been busy so I had a lot of your doings to catch up on. I really like both of Laurie Autio's weaves and it looks like you were in another inspiring class.

OzWeaver said...

Wow! You are getting some great work done, and attending some great events! I hope to get to NEWS someday. I hear it's very different from MAFA which I've attended for over 20 years now. The two conferences usually conflict or are very close together so I have to choose.... bah, humbug!

Life Looms Large said...

Jennifer - Thanks for giving me credit too for understanding class yesterday!! I do think that the part of me that liked engineering, and gravitated in that direction in school, also likes the technical side of weaving.

Professionally, I was a software developer - and the whole creating something out of ideas was interesting to me. I think that's part of what multi-shaft weaving and design taps into....the part of me that likes to think in that mathematical way.

BuyaThread - good to see you!! Summer is such a busy time, isn't it?

OzWeaver - You know, you can come to NEWS for just a day, on your way to somewhere more coastal - if it happens to line up with your schedule. You could sign up for classes, or just visit the gallery and fashion shows, plus the guild shows. I think there are significant parts of the conference that are free and open to the public.

NEWS is perfect for my attention span - I'll be taking 3 3-hour classes and 1 6-hour class spread over 3 days. I love being able to learn about several things at once!


Jennifer said...

Not that you need more ideas - but I'll put a big inyour ear anyway. I've just been following a blog on jaquard weaving with a TC-1. You still throw the shuttle, but there's a lot of computer work with it - Bhakti offers studio learning time at her home in Vermont.

bspinner said...

From what you've said your class must have been wonderful. A lot to be said for going outside your comfort zone and learn something new.
Congratulations on your pin which is really cool!!!!

Life Looms Large said...

Jennifer....Thanks for the links!

B - Thanks for visiting!! I'm already figuring out the next wearing of the pin!! (I'm going to a guild board meeting - so that seems like a good time to wear it!)