Friday, 6 September 2013

Looking Back

Well, it's been a busy old summer here at Scalpay Linen.  We have been continuing building looms; have done a lot of design work and even been to the East Coast to assemble a Hattersley and do a bit of teaching there.  Also had a visit from a San Francisco weaver George Strang who dropped by for a couple of days to process and spin up a Hebridean Fleece. We had a great time and I learnt lots from him - handweavers knowledge has so much to offer us Hattersley weavers.
The weather has been variable but mainly good - not hot but enough warmth and rain to get a really good growth of grass going.  Lambing was terrific without any requiring bottle-fed this year.
After going to the Future Trends presentation in Stornoway - with Anne Ritchie - I decided to try to develop my full-warp-width designs concept.  There has been so much emphasis on the country colours of nature in Harris Tweed in the news this year that I have gone in the opposite direction (as usual!).
I've always been fascinated by dereliction, decay and deterioration (and alliteration if the truth be told) and nothing gives me more joy that to see a door with its paint peeling, or wallpaper with damp stains, or corrugated iron gradually oxidising away.  So what better theme for my next Harris Tweed?

This is the warp in situ - it represents a wall originally painted that horrid custardy colour that has been exposed to the elements.  The warp starts as beigy and then transforms into custard and then out into a dully watery grey.  The Harris Tweed Hebrides palette is just magnificent for this sort of work.

I'm afraid you'll have to wait to see the final tweed - here it is lapped ready for milling.  Hoping to take it up to Shawbost this coming week.  However the three wefts I used were the beige on its own, the beige and a darker grey, and finally the darker grey on its own.  Oh yes, and it's all in a hopsack just to make it extra grainy looking.

Another triumph of the season has got to be my bubble scarves.  Remember "wave print" when the waves went down the warp?  Well this is "bubble" where the waves go across the weft and create a strange bubbly crinkly effect. Easy care and incredibly warm.  Will be making more of these in different colours when I get the chance.

Our "poodle" fabric woven with boucle and worsted from our friends at Northbank Mill has proved to be a real success.  Yes, it's a bit more expensive than other cloth but it does have to be hand finished and it is so gorgeous and soft and squasy that folks just can't keep their hands off it in the loomshed!
Again, more of this will follow as I have plenty of the boucle.  We also did quite a bit in a Linsey Woolsey which is every bit as warm and cosy as the  worsted warp.  We did enter it for consideration in the next Modh magazine but didn't get chosen this time.  It's a great furnishing fabric but also great for clothing - like fleece.

Another foray into the world of texture and hand finishing was this linen wrap.  Its squashy and crinkly but in a different way to the bubble scarves.  Linen is so good for warmth I don't know why people think its only for hot climates.

And finally my latest warp....
This is the start of a 100m warp which will be slayed 3 ends to a dent and which has 960 ends.

Here it is finished on the warping mill and waiting to be beamed.  Now there is just the matter of changing the reed, drafting and tying in to be done, oh yes and the other take-up will have to go on the loom so I can put in lots of shots and get a nice firm fabric. 
So that will keep us busy for a wee while.  The week after next I'm off to Paris and London on visits to Premier Vision and London Design Festival.  All good stuff.  I've only ever seen Charles de Gaulle Airport at 4 am after a 13 hour trip from Tokyo so it will be good to see it with some people there.
I know I will get loads of good ideas from everything I see and meet lots of lovely textile people.