Monday, April 27, 2009


This is the damask pick-up exercise we're currently working on in the Weaving Certificate class: The paper pattern has a red tick next to each line, starting at the bottom. That's because this design is worked line by line. Each little square on the pattern represents four threads of warp and four threads of weft. I have to use a pick-up stick to lift the threads shaded in on the pattern as I weave them. When we started this exercise Gerlinde gave out a sheet of instructions--it took a whole page to explain how to weave each set of four weft picks. Then she gave us a strong verbal instruction to go with the written ones: "don't talk to anyone until you've finished all four picks!" You can imagine, the room was very quiet as we picked up threads and counted and checked and wove.

I didn't expect to like this exercise. The precision of counting and the risk of picking up the wrong threads or losing my place was more than a little daunting. But as I got warmed up, the rhythm of the four repeated lines started to form in my mind and the picture started to form under my fingers. Then I was smiling as I stepped back to see the emerging design.

Our next challenge is to do a design of our own. It's a chance to go off and be creative, and because it's pick-up the design can even be asymmetrical. I've been working on some ideas, but first I need to go back to the discipline and rhythm of counting until I've finished this one.

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