Wednesday, 13 January 2010

"Gambling's for fools but that's the way I like it baby"

That lyric from Motorhead's Ace of Spades seems to sum it up at the moment!

I got an email from the National Lottery a couple of days ago to say that they have news about my lottery ticket from Saturday's draw. Oh.My.God.

As I clicked the link in the email and tried to remember my password one half of my brain was racing, "what if it's be the big one", while the realistic side was thinking, "don't be daft, it's going to be £10". ... And £10 it was and it was worth it for the adrenalin.

I play the lottery and sometimes I bet on the Grand National, or if I go the races I will put a couple of £2 bets on. However I'm not a gambler...SO WHY OH WHY have I started gambling with the scarf that is to be my Mum's birthday present - tomorrow?!!

She asked for a scarf with black in it, not too wide (probably 15 - 20cm max) but nice and long. I struggle with mixing colours with black and I sense she hopes to see some colour in it. I find that colour mixed with black can cheapen the colours somehow unless you're really careful with the tones, so I really wanted to avoid that.

I made a 3m long warp consisting of 2/5ths black merino wool and the rest creamy white alpaca. I just stuck to two plain bands of the colours because she likes bold designs. So far so good, it feels nice and soft and there's a nice contrast between the two bands. I've also been eyeing up a pattern for a while in a very good book called "8 Shafts A Place to Begin" by Shelp and Wostenber and decided that this would be how I would incorporate colour.

Originally I thought of a grey-blue alpaca that I have but when I tried it the effect was a little dull. In fact I used some brightly coloured orange cotton to hold the warp together and the colours really zinged. That got me thinking that I could be bold and she would love it. Maybe not orange though, because she doesn't "do" orange but maybe turquoise.

I started weaving once again and after a while I started to get a little disapppointed. It's wider than I expected for a start. Also the sett is too wide for the pattern so you don't read the roundness of the lozenges, maybe it will spring back when cut off the loom but I'm not convinced. The whole point was that the pattern would do the talking but in fact the pattern isn't terribly distinctive. In fact the photo makes the pattern appear bolder, in reality you have to let your eyes lose focus to see it properly.

Further into the weaving it all started to look a bit "samey" and that's when the gambling started.

First I thought a shot of pink would liven it up...

I thought I'd include a couple of bands of pink and then continue with turquoise. The problem is it started then to look a bit sugary, although I rather like how the pattern is more distinctive against the black. So I went away for a while and when I returned I decided that red would be the best anecdote to the sugary pink and turquoise. So now it looks like this:

One minute I love it and the next I think it's the sort of thing a 16 year old snowboarder would wear which, I should point out, is not an accurate description of my mother.

I've managed to stop myself at two bands of pink and two bands of red, and am now continuing with turquoise. Hopefully when I take it off the loom it will transform into a refined article of colour experimentation. I don't think I'll give it very good odds!


  1. This is a very interresting binding pattern, what kind of technique is it? I was at a trend seminar this weekend, and the crystal ball tells that turquoise will be the hottest color this year, so your mom's very lucky!

  2. I love the colors its bold and fresh, reminds me of summer in the Caribbean. Can't wait to see the finished fabric.

  3. I like all of those colors....and I'm not a 16 year old snowboarder! I am curious to see what it will look like off the loom. If you wash it, it will shrink some.

    I'm a little worried that all the striped bands are clustered together....are they toward the middle of the scarf? Do you need something near the far end to help balance them out???

    If it wasn't wool, I'd want to make that into a bag....but I have bags on the brain lately.

    Have fun & good luck! Hopefully your gambles will pay off!


  4. Well I know nothing whatsoever about weaving and it looks absolutely fantastic to me. :)

    Thanks for your comment on my blog - I've just added you to my feed (thought I'd already done that but apparently not) - anyway I just wanted to say that I love love love that you asked if I sell my work anywhere! I am hoping to get to that point - I signed up for the Artists Open Houses here in Brighton which is a start (I hope!) and am just building up a batch of work. I'm hoping to make prints at some point and see if those will sell too. Whereabouts are you in West Sussex? My parents live there by the sea. :)


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