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Friday, 10 May 2013

A lovely visit and an interesting challenge

I had the priviledge this week of paying host to Laura Fry and Kerstin Froberg.

Sadly, they arrived the day before the bank holiday and had to leave the following afternoon so were unable to receive the tour of the School of Textile And Design they were hoping for.

Never mind though, as weavers are weavers and we love to talk about weaving. Over dinner and a pint or two we discussed many subjects including Vadmal, the pros and cons of AVL looms and the routes by which each of us came to weaving. It was a very nice evening and a real delight to meet other weavers with such a depth of passion and knowledge.

Why I didn't take any pictures I'll never know, I guess I was just too busy chatting away about looms and yarn and going on about how I learned to weave upside down and back to front and made myself do everything the hard way (which stands me in good stead when I have to rescue other people's warping errors).

Interestingly, I'd had it in my head the Laura was American and Kerstin was Finnish, whereas they're actually Canadian and Swedish, so that's weird. I wonder how that mix up occurred in my brainpan?

Anyhow, the next day they came to visit my house, all rammed with cloth and I showed them through all the work I've been doing for college and sold them each a quantity of cashmere, which was very nice for me as I've been pure brassic this month due to The Economy.

And Kerstin gave me a challenge, to weave a V-neck shawl, on a power loom, as I have been going on about power looms somewhat as I am currently enjoying the prospect of getting use of one soon. I believe it's doable, though not to the exact technique she describes, but nevertheless something similar could no doubt be done on a Jacquard shuttle loom, assuming you were happy to do the hand finishing. It's a thought. I foresee some small technical difficulties, though one could easily stop the machine after every pick to make weft adjustments and still weave quicker than by hand, especially as the bulk would be woven by automagicalness.

Anyhoo, that's only the start, we also talked about the idea of weaving a shirt in one piece without seams straight on the loom. Apparently, back in the heyday of industrial weaving, this was acheived at great length and expense by the son of an industrial mill family who tied up a jacquard loom for a whole year making a garment that came complete with pockets, frills, collars, the lot, without a single sewing stitch, and then proceeded to give it to the queen, or someone similar.

This was done either in Dunfermline or Dundee, it's something I've never heard or read about, but I must look into it. The brain-work demon at the back of my head is telling me it's totally doable with enough thought and careful planning but I suspect it wouldn't be woven quickly, and I'm sure it would need a multi-box shuttle loom, a rapier wouldn't do it.

The knitters are already making seamless clothing on machine, so I guess it's about time us weavers stepped up to the plate.

Does anyone know anything about these seamless woven garments? I don't have time to go searching just now, but I'm more than happy to idly receive links and information or even wild speculation.