January 31, 2015

Waiting and Planning

If all goes well, this spring I should be at a public event where I could show people examples of språng.  It follows that I have to make the språng examples, språng being a rare sort of textile.  So I am in the planning stage and hope to get to the creating stage soon.

The first question is what yarn to use.

I don't have enough time to spin the yarn, except for språng patterns where a little yarn goes a long way, such as all-over holes.  The Wensleydale roving I have might be good there.

I want to spend a sensible amount of money on the yarn so I have to balance practicality with my desire for quality and the attributes I like (local or domestic, cruelty-free, undyed or naturally dyed, lustrous).

I will do well to go against my natural orientation to monochromatic yarn suitable for textiles with interesting structures, and instead consider yarn with colour and språng with colourwork because the majority of fibre artists respond to colourwork more than structure.

The second question is what sort of items will I make and with what patterns and dimensions.  I would like a number of things that look good hung on coat hangers.  Artwear, if you will.  I'll have to work this out myself, as I don't know of any suitable patterns.  Even if I just get one piece done, I will be pleased.

It's a puzzle to figure out and hopefully execute reasonably well.  I like planning, and I like doing språng.  I expect I will like the products very much, as språng is so pretty.  This is good, as the products could wind up being part of my wardrobe.

I've been in the planning stage for this project for a few weeks now.  Just in the last few days, I've become more optimistic about the whole thing's chance of success.  There are other things I need to make this spring for the same event and I just recently found a better method to get them done, which means I can be more productive and have more time to give to språng.

January 10, 2015

Språng Waistcoat in Skrydstrup Pattern

språng waistcoat

I finished my språng pullover.  You can see it is more of a waistcoat than a sweater.  It is in the Skrydstrup pattern from Collingwood's The Techniques of Sprang, so four rows of S twist alternate with four rows of Z twist.  The pattern of twists cause the fabric to curl a little but not distort to one side the way all Z twist would.  The curl is visible in the edges of the armholes.  

I am more pleased with it off the loom than I was when it was on the loom.  

The drape of it makes the armholes look curved but they were done straight.  

The construction is a lot like what we used to wear in kindergarten to keep our clothes clean while fingerpainting, a plastic garbage bag with holes cut for the neck and arms.  Except you don't cut språng just anywhere.  I didn't cut this piece at all.  

The hole for the neck is a slit formed by treating the threads on either side as a separate section.  You work to the middle of the row, move the threads as if you'd come to the end of the row, move the next threads as if you were starting a row, and go from there.  I picked the easiest row in the pattern to start this on, row 7.

The armholes are formed by seaming the sides partway.  They look rather deep but they are correct because when you put on the vest, the fabric stretches horizontally and shrinks vertically.

January 03, 2015

Eight Feet to Propinquity

I steeled my heart to take the incomplete, lackluster språng pullover off the loom to discard it, and then I couldn't do it.  I like things to be useful and this project still has something to give.

So I ignored the loom as it sat out of the way next to the window of the wool room.

The last few inches of warp are the most difficult to complete, not mentally but physically, as there is little room to maneuver and interlink the threads.  This is why so many traditional objects in språng are not worked right up to the middle.

However, it turned out that it wasn't the interlinking that was holding me up, but the position of the loom in the room.  Once I moved the loom eight feet over to my desk within reach, I felt a lot more like finishing the project.

Of course, feeling like doing something is not actually doing something.  You'll know I've finished the project when you see one or two new språng how-to YouTube videos from me featuring a white pullover vest in the Skrydstrup pattern.

Speaking of making things convenient, stuck to the top of my loom is the pattern copied from Collingwood and on it a bobby pin marks the row where I left off last time.  I don't have to figure it out from the strands' positions in the last row.  Learned this from my weaving lessons.

I'm trying to think of a språng pattern where I would have a hard time figuring out where I left off, and can't.  Not even the Coptic turban pattern, you just have to count how many holes down from the apex of the diamond.  I have some trouble following that pattern.  It's easier now that I've improved the chart I made.

The next large piece in språng I make, I'd like it to be in the Coptic turban pattern.  I'd like to make a more polished piece than I've done so far, an eye-catching stole that would get people interested in doing språng.  Unless, that is, the next large piece I do is for my dad on the loom he made for a permanent installation piece.  Coptic turban would have too smooth a texture and too understated a look.  That loom needs something with texture, like Gothic arches.

Now, I have no use for a stole myself, so it would not in the least fulfill my goal of handspun wearables for me in natural colours.  You can tell I still lean toward making things that allow me and others to learn about techniques and tools.  I expect this to continue.