In Edinburgh, Weaving on May 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm

I’m still waiting on the book that should tell me how to do super huge doubleweave things (it’s out of print and hard to find without spending a lot). I got bored and decided to follow a less detailed pattern (as in, it gives you the threadings and doesn’t give any help beyond that). It’s the first pattern I’ve done from this book (because this is only the second “actual” weaving pattern I’ve done, the rest have been my own), very pretty book though. And Margo Selby seems to have a thing for doubleweave (she designs everything on a table loom before it’s done on a huge scale to make stuff).

I don’t really know what I’m doing or how/why it’s working, but it is working. There’s six patterns in the book that use the same warp threading, so I’ll just go through those until I run out of warp. It’s a deflected doubleweave (nope, no idea either). As far as I can tell (from the first pattern I’m doing) it’s making a piece of fabric that should be near enough identical on each side, not two separate pieces (which tube-ish doubleweave must make). But it’s a much more textured bit of fabric, because the pattern is made from floating threads (the raised bits), it feels quite nice.


Warping is the same as usual, except I went a bit wild on the colours. Two colours make it easier to see the two different “blocks” of threading that make the front and back of the fabric, so the grey is one block and the pink/blue another. I thought it’d be difficult somehow, because I don’t have a second back beam on the loom, and the yarns are slightly different thicknesses, but it’s working fine so far. (Which is good, I wasn’t looking forward to having to buy a second back beam).

The threading is were it gets a bit complicated – each block has 4 shafts that make that pattern, and they alternate evenly. I guess it’s like doing two patterns at once, but they work together. I don’t know. It’s hard to know without having the book that explains everything…







All the colours mostly so it’s easier to see where each thread is going, and also because the weft is really lovely soft merino. It’s a beautiful thing (maybe not a *meaningful* beautiful thing, but beautiful anyway), and it looks how it’s meant to. Expect more pictures, there’s a really amazing looking pattern coming up.

I think it will be possible to write my own doubleweave, it’ll probably take longer to write and make useable. And who knows how it’ll come out, these patterns tend to be very even/equal/balanced, and the ones I write… aren’t. In principle, it’ll work. Once I’ve got to grips a bit more with this we’ll see. Right. More weaving, this time with the colours from the warp, to see what that’s like…

Dissertation research is going slowly but pretty well – The Life of Lines came last week (the cover is really trippy), quite nice but not as thread-y as I’d hoped. Still useful. I started out with a very, very specific thing I wanted to look at, so I’m having to widen it out a bit so I can get 12,000 interesting words out of it. At the moment it’s quite heavy on the material culture side of things (which is a good thing because a) it’s interesting and b) I’ll probably get put with the supervisor I’d prefer). I have questionnaire plans in the not-so-distant future (I figured the more the merrier). I haven’t worked out a resarch question (or series of questions) yet. In fact, I can’t really articulate what it is I’m looking at/thinking about yet – more reading to be done. But it’s kind of… a thread-based ontology, understanding through (physical and metaphorical) threads. Can you tell I’ve been re-reading a lot of Tim Ingold lately? Pretty much any thread-based activity is based on ordering chaos – untangling, ordering, classifying, reshaping. Same as collecting. Ways of understanding and knowing the world. I can’t quite say what I mean, but something along those lines. It might turn out to be a load of rubbish, but hey, I’ve got ten months left to make it work.

The Life of Lines is more about an ontology of lines, and I was re-reading The cultural biography of things: commoditization as proces and came across this:

‘…the human mind has an inherent tendency to impose order upon the chaos of its environment by classifying its contents, and without this classification knowledge of the world and adjustment to it would not be possible.’

Kopytoff, I, p.70 in Appadurai, A. (1988), The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective

And so I decided thread-based onotolgy would be a good idea. It has nothing at all do with the fact that I like saying ontology. Anyway, weaving to be done.

weaving constituencies

In Edinburgh, Interesting things, Weaving on May 9, 2015 at 7:16 pm

I’m still maintaining that staying awake all of Thursday night was a good (if depressing) idea. (And I’m actually old enough to vote now, so that makes things a bit more interesting). Someone was cross-stitching the declarations as they came in…

So naturally, here’s some potential fabric. If I get bored during the week I might try it, although I don’t have all the colours… Or in fact, most of the colours. And it’s no fun without the colours.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 18.49.27

This is Edinburgh East (the constituency where I live, and where the art school is). Along the top/warp is total votes colour coordinated by party (it reflects back on itself). Not to scale! Although there is a lot of yellow. Maybe I should do a to scale version. Along the right/weft is percentage share of vote, again reflecting back on itself to make a prettier pattern. And the data…

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 18.50.49

New election themed fabric…hm. Something to do though. Still waiting for books to arrive, so can’t start messing around with doubleweave yet. Yarn arrived for Em & j though, making fabric to go over the back of the fancy new sofa. It’s dates and will match (in colour and maybe a little in pattern) the print that lives above where the sofa goes. Square-y patterns are quite nice to do, and there’s a lot of small squares. The greys are actually quite different from each other in real life, the one in the middle is quite green-y grey. And the cotton on the end is two shades of pale yellow, not bleached out nothingness.


photo 2

In other excitement, the tulips I planted did survive (and are currently livening up the kitchen) and my Lupin seedlings are starting to appear too… It’s even more overgrown than when I moved in, but hey. Flowers! I threw a cornflower seed bomb in last week, and the forget-me-not one I threw in September seems to have worked, waiting for the flowers to open up. A lot of crap gets blown in from the building site next door, and it isn’t exactly peaceful. Maybe they’ll be done before I move out.


Freedom… But not really.

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art on May 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

We’re done for the year. That’s very, very scary.

Much has happened. I’ve shown work (in two places simultaneously…), almost caused serious injury weaving a lot in very little time and I don’t know what else.

I finished the work for Stanley Mills the day before, it had to be cut short because I ran out of cotton and time and it was very painful by the end. But it’s about 18 metres long, 2.5″ wide and wove in and out of pillars on the weaving floor. I’m pretty happy really – it looks how I imagined, it supported itself (so I didn’t have to interfere with the fabric of the building – thanks gravity) and it’s not at all separate from the rest of what I’m working on (last time, for Cultybraggan, what I made was so distant from everything else it was awful).



It now looks like this. If it was comfy I’d use it as a cushion, but it’s pretty dense cotton. So it’s just a thing on the bookshelf of things.


The other thing was for the first interdisciplinary ECA 3rd year show (bit of a mouthful), in the same place where we had our end of first year interdisciplinary show. Loops and loops.

Fabric from the Dryad loom (I couldn’t save it to continue weaving) and text. I even titled it (rare I know) – Loom of Destiny because I have a terrible sense of humour. I’m going to be a crazy weaving spinster with a lot of cats, and eventually someone will have to cut my last bit of weaving from my loom.


Theoretically I’m free until September now. Realistically there’s a lot to do. I’ve taken over the living room as a studio (there’s a loom permanently out and three more in the cupboards), it’s quite nice really. Much cosier than the actual studios and I get to look out at trees. I’m catching up on patterns i didn’t get a chance to weave and (once some books arrive) I’m going to attempt to master doubleweave. Which is pretty much two bits of fabric at once. From what I can figure out without having read the books… you can do much more 3D things, and it’s apparently possible to weave something double the width of the loom. Which would be REALLY useful – that’d be about 30″ wide! Assuming that a) I can  understand how to do it and b) somehow translate that into my own patterns. We’ll see.

This is the last thing I did, it’s only small but it’s the most complicated pattern. There’s no repeats in the warp and each weft repeat is 111 threads. So this is one repeat, which with the wool I was using is about 28x13cm.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 14.00.04

The numbers are from when I was weaving the pieces for Stanley, every 10cm I’d write down the length and time. So this is all the data from weaving from 6m piece of fabric. And then when I do a full length bit of this (a couple of metres) I can take the measurements and times from that and make something else and something else and something else… In fact if I can’t figure out how to get doubleweave to work with my patterns, I can do the same thing with that. Weave a beautiful bit of ‘traditional’ fabric and then do the data from the bit of fabric and have them together.


Post its of data.


One repeat.



I got distracted from the ‘everything else I’m meant to be doing’ part. I’ve sorted started dissertation research already, might as well use the next four months… I think I’ve decided to go for the longer, extra credit option (when I get it right, my essay grades are more reliable than studio grades and if I’m planning on applying for the MPhil course – more later – a longer thing will be more useful). I’m going to have to go through my essay from last semester (the object biography that went well) and pick some things from there, but I think it’ll be thread related. I’m looking for a very, very, very small ‘gap in existing’ knowledge that I can dig out. Also applying for things, I sent off an application for Selected 2015 this morning (I’ll be amazed if that ends well, but worth a shot).

I…think I’m going to apply for the art MPhil, to start either the September or January after I graduate. (No, not entirely because I don’t know what I want to do with my life…). In some ways it’s the best time to do it (because I’m here, I’d still have somewhere to live, if I find a nice little gap in my dissertation I can go wild with that), and in some ways not – I’d be going straight from undergrad to postgrad with four months gap in between (hence maybe January). We’ll see how that goes anyway. All the funding application deadlines are early next year, so I’ll have to have applied by the end of December at the latest to be able to apply for those. Advantage of having four months semi-freedom, I can start preparing now… (I’m not kidding, the application guidance notes are printed and stuck to the fridge). So that’s that. Lots of researching to do.

We found time to see some art though… Where Language Ends was really, really, really beautiful.





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