For The Great Competition of Weavers - Special Edition - IBC 2016, we were asked to design a wrap based on the theme Wear Together, Grow Together. It was required to have a monochrome or ombre component and we were provided with the following inspiration image:
The concept for my competition entry is to represent visually the purpose of a wrap- which is to bring together a mother and child and to restore the unity experienced in pregnancy. Toward this end, I chose to work with two warps - each hand-dyed and beamed separately- interleaved in two separate sequences of advancing twill. The two warps are woven together in an echo weave, which allows each warp to be perceived as separate and as half of a whole. The variegated portion of the warp represents the mother, who is consistent but complex. Her character is revealed through an interplay of color that sometimes yields surprises. The child is ever-changing, growing. Change and growth are represented in the monochrome portion of the warp through a gradation of color from left to right.
Both warps are made from sustainably grown Acala cotton, grown and spun in the U.S. I chose the yarn for it's soft and squishy feel - which I thought would complement the fluffiness of the weave. For the multi-color warp, I created four separate colorways with varying shades of blues/purples/plums and turquoise. Because I wanted this portion of the warp to be consistent and complex, I beamed all the yarn together in each section. This allows the variegated portion of the warp to read as a single element and for the gradation of the second warp to read more clearly.
The second warp was dyed in a manner similar to the first, but with one single blue-green color that varied in concentration for each of 10 skeins. In beaming the second warp, the varying values were mixed to ease the transition between light and dark and to provide an additional layer of complexity.
The two warps were brought together in a structure that employs each in an alternating sequence across the width. It is treadled in a manner that advances and reverses, pivoting on advancing intervals to form the shape of curves that resemble the curving elements in the inspiration image. The advancing and reversing is a process that is experienced in the weaving as a literal reversal of the dobby bars and is analogous to the development of a child, which often brings advances and regressions. The overall pattern develops in absolute symmetry where the exchange between the two warps is reciprocal - much as the process of wrapping is soothing both to the mother and to the child. The wrap restores wholeness to two separate individuals and the weaving creates a whole from two separate warps.
I used as my inspiration for the weave a pattern by Bonnie Inouye found in the January/February 2008 issue of Handwoven called Two Patterns for Two Scarves. Adjustments were made in the threading, sett, yarns and treadling to adapt it to the purpose and make the project uniquely my own. I had tested the weave structure on a shorter, separate warp of two colorways of hand-dyed merino/silk. This is currently being made into a pair of cowls and pillows. The two cowls will be made available as giveaways - one at the IBC booth and one in the Facebook chatter group, Wonder Woven Love.
Three pieces were created using three different hand-dyed wefts in superwash wool, silk/sea cell blend and mulberry silk. All wefts play on the blues of the first warp, each highlighting a different tone.
The Superwash wool weft wrap
The weft for this wrap is Madeline Tosh Lace - a 2-ply, lace-weight superwash merino yarn. The darker color of the weft yarn sets off the pattern very nicely and the wool adds a lot of texture. It is a bit thicker than the others at approximately 365 grams/m^2. The length is 3.3 meters. I think this piece is going to stay with me.
The Sea Silk lace weft wrap
The weft for this piece is hand-dyed 70% silk/30% seacell 2-ply lace weight yarn. In terms of density, it's in the middle of the three pieces, at approximately 330 grams/m^2. The length is 5 meters. It has a beautiful softness and is wonderfully supple. The color is a bit more soft and subdued than the others. This piece will be available through my Facebook chatter group.
the Mulberry silk weft wrap
I hand-painted the weft for this piece in brighter shades of blue with highlights of iris, violet, green and turquoise. The weft has a lovely sheen and lends a lightness to the finished wrap, which weighs in at approximately 315 grams/m^2. The length is 5.2 meters. This is the piece I have submitted to the competition. It will be available for purchase in person by silent auction.
Both wraps together...