Monday, January 21, 2013

Frayed Color


Two posts ago I mentioned that next on my list was to weave something from shot cotton. Anyone who has read this blog for a length of time probably knows how much I adore shot cottons and sewing/quilting with shot cottons. 

For those of you who are unaware, shot cottons are fabric that have been woven with one color warp, and another color weft. The combination of the two colors creates a third color that becomes the cloth. The fabric is beautiful to quilt with as it has a great depth and richness to it, and the color fluctuates depending on how the fabric is positioned, (horizontal or vertical) and how the light hits it. (You can see a some examples of my stitched shot cotton work herehere here and here.)


The thing that made me most want to weave with shot cotton was the fringe. I wanted to make the fringe an integral part of the design. 


So I hand-ripped strips of different colored shot cottons, making sure to rip some strips of each color widthwise, selvedge to selvedge, and also lengthwise, as that way I would get a strip of each color featuring both the warp-thread frayed colored edge and the weft-thread frayed colored edge. You can see an example of this in the photo above. The bottom group of strips with the frayed maroon colored edge, is ripped from the same fabric group 3rd up from the bottom, with the frayed bright lime colored edge.


Strips were then machine stitched together to form long lengths, then folded along one side and pressed. I then wove the strips, placing the fringe towards me, and beating each one in place along the folded edge.


In keeping with  the rough, (as in raw, natural, imperfect, wabi sabi or some would say, crude) nature of utilizing the fringe as an important design element, I carried that through to other elements, such as letting the colors start and end wherever they happened to be in the weaving,


as well as leaving the frayed ends of one color strip show as a new one began, and not trying to hide where the ends were stitched together. 


... Just for the record, I am sure that many an accomplished weaver may cringe at this work, as it has become the custom of many a rag-weaver to fold all raw edges in, keeping strips of fabric as uniform and pristine as possible. Since many of you are new to weaving, you should know this, as I don't want to lead any of you astray down the road of improperness! (Although that is where the fun usually waits for us!) And, just like I respect those who wish to always quilt in absolute perfection of all points matching, (which I like to do as well from time to time) and no rules broken, I also respect such weavers and what they do, as well. However, while I will strive to always produce structurally well made items, as I firmly believe in craftsmanship, make no mistake that I am in love with the beauty of imperfection, and, when appropriate to the design, will try to honor it.


For more info on this colorful shot cotton runner please go here
(However note that it sold before I had a chance to do this blog post.)


One last thing... Did you happen to take notice of the giant spool that I used for a prop in the first photo of this blog post? It's a beautiful, antique industrial wooden spool filled with vintage twine, thought to be from around the turn of the century. My youngest daughter hit the nail on the head when she gave this to me for Christmas... Love, love, love it!!! As does Ellie, my dog... 
(She likes to pretend she is in the circus!)

Have a great week, everyone! xo

25 comments:

Esch House Quilts said...

Just beautiful, Victoria! Reminds me that I need to keep an eye out for a colorful rag rug to brighten up my beige bathroom :)

Mary Stori said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it....

Cheryl said...

Victoria, if you were sitting beside right now, you'd hear a long sigh as I admire that runner. Such a beautiful choice of colors.

dutchcomfort said...

Lovely Victoria!! Those shot cottons are so beautiful1

I hope to be able to try some weaving, ever...!

Anna said...

Fabulous colours in this runner, great use of the 2 colours! Love your dog and I seriously want the giant spool!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Ooh....
So true to you, even in exploration.

Nifty Quilts said...

Absolutely a masterpiece! I hope you'll make more! Your dog is so cute, I thought it was a statue at first.

Camilla said...

Gorgeous! The shot cottons add such depth and subtlety. Where do you buy yours to get such a range? I haven't been able to find the colours I need here in Australia...

Victoria said...

Thanks to each of you!

Camilla, I have gotten them where ever I can find them... in stores, at shows and online. I have heard great reviews about Oakshot's Shot cottons, but haven't had a chance to try them yet. Here is a link for them: http://www.oakshottfabrics.com.

The shot cottons used in my runner are all Robert Kaufman's and are sold under the name Chambray, (which generally means a shot cotton woven with white as one thread and the other thread a color... think of a man's light blue cotton button down shirt, woven with intersecting blue and white threads. That is a true chambray.) The Kaufman Chambrays can still be found in various on-line shops, just do a google search for them. They have a lovely quilt weight and drape to them.

In other projects, I have also used a lot of the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, which are much more light weight, but have gorgeous color combinations. (Perfect for pojagi work.) Again, try a google search for them, as you can find them in various on-line shops.



Angela said...

Victoria, your rug is very pretty, but today you have a tough competitor: your dog is a star!

Candied Fabrics said...

Oh my gosh, I don't know what's more awesome...the pictures of those ripped shot cottons, the finished runner...or Ellie on the Spool!!!!!! I can't decide, they all rock!

Gina said...

That is SO beautiful!

Kathleen said...

Really gorgeous runner! Your philosophy is very much in keeping with Saori weaving -- a zen approach to process and design. So no apologies (to traditional weavers) needed for the quality of your work... it is absolutely stunning, and perfect in its imperfections. ps, love, love, love your vintage spool and circus dog!!

Penny Berens said...

Love the little shots of colour in the weaving, Victoria. And am tickled pink with Ellie the circus dog!

Victoria said...

Ellie and I thank each of you!

Kathleen, I haven't heard of Saori weaving, so I thank you very much for telling me about it... off to do some research!

Nina said...

Hahaha, I LOVE the last photo - I'm seeing it as a normal-sized spool of thread and the tiniest-ever dog. I love shot cottons too - sometimes it's so surprising to check the edges and see what 2 colours are in it! There are a few great sources of beautiful handwoven, fairly traded, certified organic shot cottons (also reasonably priced!) - fairtradefabric.co.uk and organiccotton.biz both have good selections.

Victoria said...

Nina, I am laughing hysterically, because now when I look at the photo I am seeing what you saw. I think I shall make a giant needle as a prop and, (with Ellie's co-operation) re-shoot the photo! Also, thanks so much for those shot cotton links. I know that the Kaffe Fassett ones that I mentioned above are fair trade, as well, although I don't believe they are organic, so truly thanks for the info!

Diane J. Evans said...

What a gorgeous piece, Victoria -- no wonder that it sold so quickly. This is a weaving that will outlast all of us and become a superior example of tradition and quality. And Ellie and the Spool are priceless!

Diane

Sarah said...

soooooo beautiful. wow!

patty a. said...

The weaving is beautiful! I love the rough/textural nature of the piece. The world would be a boring place if everybody stuck to the rules!

Deb Hathaway said...

I have been a lover of shot cottons for many years, but sadly life has taken over and I forgot all about them... until now. Thanks for reminding me.
Your weaving is SPECTACULAR!!! I love love love the way the shot cotton changes colors.... totally awesome. And the frayed edges adds to the beauty.
Kudos! Thanks for sharing!

Camilla said...

Thanks Victoria I'll try those options!

Jenny M said...

Love the colours and texture of your runner, I now yearn for a spool like yours (your daughter could set up a business selling those spools!) and your dog is such a cutie.

WesternWilson said...

Beautiful Victoria, and lovely photos as well! Thankyou!

Margo said...

Just gorgeous - a real feast for my eyes in midwinter! And thanks for the careful explanation of the shot cottons and the weaving "rules." I always told my students you had to know the rules first (I was teaching English) before you could successfully break them.