Creative retreat

I’ve just returned from a week away with a group of artists I belong to. We do this every so often and it’s special because they are special people and the creative vibe is huge, and doubly special for me because it’s in my native Cumbria, in Grasmere.

I used the time to consolidate and develop what I learned over the last few months of Considering Weave with Jude Hill. I was travelling by boat and train and bus, so no large looms for me, but I managed to pack several little ones in my case! These are tiny weavings, just a few cms wide. I’m enjoying working at this slow, small scale. The whole Considering Weave class has been very good for me, and I’ve signed up for Jude’s ‘Small Journeys‘ to continue travelling along with her as and when I can.

In Grasmere, we had beautiful surroundings, excellent food and lots of fun, with a constant flow of ideas, encouragement and constructive critique.

The space that emerges between our perspectives is ‘dialogic space’, a liminal realm of possibilities where new ideas emerge and innovation thrives. Drawing the ideas that emerge in this ‘dialogic space’ back into our practice helps us to reinvigorate it. (Permission to Speak by Dave Camlin)

There were excursions. Some of us revisited the wonderful Allan Bank, a National Trust house where dogs are welcome, you can sit on the chairs and make yourself at home, and there is something creative going on in every room.

I went for some walks among the trees and by the river – something I do miss, living on Tiree. So much visual inspiration. So much green.

It was a lovely week.

More considering weave

I’m continuing to play with some of the ideas and thoughts that are flowing in and from Jude Hill‘s class, Considering Weave. Mixing up cloth and wool and thread. Mixing up tapestry and rag weaving and twill. Not being precious. Not worrying about ‘wasting’ time or materials. Just following the intention of the moment and watching what happens.

Considering weave

This summer I’m taking part in a class with Jude Hill – Spirit Cloth – considering weave and its relationship to stitch. I’ve never done a class with Jude before but I’ve long loved her ‘what if’ approach and it’s stimulating to be part of a curious, experimental community for a few months. We’re currently exploring weaving into cloth, a kind of intentional darning. I did a little darning last summer while I was travelling backwards and forward to Wales (where Alan was walking), inspired by the work of Hilary Hollingworth, and by the Big Mend group on Flickr.


Where  I wove across a hole (as opposed  to laying the warp as long stitches across the surface) I found it hard to stabilise the edges – now, watching and listening to Jude with her respectful mastery of cloth, I have learned how to do that, and gained new inspiration to try again.

Out of those experiments came this piece, ‘Island Patterns’, worked on handmade felt, without cutting.  There is more of a distinction between the background and the weaving than if you fill a hole with weave. Less integration. More floating. I love weaving at this tiny scale.



Last night. thinking ‘what if’, I  wove some little windows into the work I currently have on the loom.


And this morning I filled them with cloth.



I like the change of texture and scale. Looking forward to exploring this further and seeing where it goes.



Playful weaving

A few weeks ago was the 7th Tiree Tech Wave – the Tech Wave is a twice yearly design and tech retreat run by my husband Alan. This year I decided to join in the fun with ‘Weave at the Wave’, a ‘come and play’ session each afternoon in the cattle ring.


We had five looms set up, a couple of rigid heddles, a small tapestry loom, a table loom on a stand and a Saori loom with 4 shafts, plus some mini projects weaving on cards and CDs, and a box or two of LilyPad Arduino bits and pieces for e-textile experiments.

I forgot to take any pictures but there are some here by Jacqui at Tiree Living, and these are a couple of partly woven CDs. (If you want to try this I recommend  this tutorial by Make It… A Wonderful Life.) People of all ages enjoyed making these.


Someone started this lovely skinny scarf on the Ashford SampleIt  loom and borrowed the loom to finish it at home. It’s hard to believe she’s never woven before.


With the e-textiles, one person made dreadlocks that light up, and another wove a headband, then stitched a circuit into it that lights an LED from a battery.

I hope we’ll be able to do this again in the Autumn. In fact I wish I could think of a way to do it more often.

Since as a result I have both my ‘big’ looms set up with a cotton warp, I’ve been doing some playful  weaving of my own with colours and patterns.  (My looms are tiny as looms go but big when compared to our living room!)

one warp, three weaves

At Woolfest this year, I bought a pre-wound warp from the Saori Shed – mostly purple cotton with a bit of texture and sparkle. I’ve been winding my own warps since I used up the pre-wound warp that came with my loom and I enjoy the process and the choices; but this was a bit different and a special treat.

warp yarns

In these scarves I was playing with cramming and spacing the warp and its effect on the patterns – twill on the left, plain weave on the right.


Both the scarf patterns were woven on the same threading, but I didn’t think there was enough warp left for a third and in any case I wanted to try some Saori play with pattern. Two weavers who use pattern in ways I find very inspiring are Susan Johnson of Avalanche Looms and Judy of Fibres of Being. I particularly like Judy’s Saori-style interpretations of the rosepath pattern. So I’ve rethreaded the heddles and have been trying rosepath in various yarns. It’s exciting to see all those wonderful little dots appearing as if by magic… Are they not-quite-diamonds or almost-circles? I’m not sure but I love them.

rosepath  weaving