Because Following a Pattern Would Be Too Easy
A lot of people like to talk to artists about their "inspiration". I do consider myself a fiber artist, but I hardly ever know how to answer the inspiration question. I rarely find myself staring at a cool building and imagining the architecture as knitting, nor do I go to a plant nursery and come back with a beautiful new color palette in mind.
What usually happens for me is that I go cruising Ravelry looking for something (or nothing...), and I come out the other side wishing everything I saw were just a little bit different.
I thought it would be fun to detail a design from start to finish, from idea to execution, so here we go!
Step 1: This time, I started with a yarn in mind. This is actually pretty different from how I usually work. However, we just received a shipment of Euroflax Lace, and I was reminded that I still haven't made anything with it. I went through people's projects on Ravelry, and I didn't find anything appealing. What I did notice, though, was that a few patterns had lists of possible yarns, and they were listing Euroflax lace alongside #10 Crochet Cotton. There are a ton of patterns for #10 Cotton!
Step 2: So I start fishing through the #10 Cotton projects. There are a ton...too many to look at. I decide to start entering a few keywords to help pare down my search. Since most of the patterns are crocheted, I started with "pineapple" since I love the crocheted pineapple motif. Unsurprisingly, there were still a LOT of options, but, after a few more filters, I came across this vest.
Step 3: Start overthinking. Instead of just saying to myself, "I like that! It's funky, simple, and fun!", I started wondering what I would use for the scarf. I have lots of scarves that don't get worn enough, maybe one of them. Then again, I saw some gorgeous double-gauze not long ago, and that would be super cool! Some of it had constellations on it...maybe I could change the racerback from pineapple to a constellation. If I got double-gauze I'd have to do a lot of hemming. I'm not a fan of long rolled hems. Hey there are some projects where they crocheted the scarf part, too! That's cool, and then I would probably use a full cone instead of just a little and then having gobs of leftovers. But then I have to find or design the perfect crocheted scarf. That sounds like a lot of work. What's less work than crocheting a scarf? Weaving a scarf!
Step 4: Agonize over loom choice. I'm most comfortable weaving on a rigid heddle loom. That's not a good choice for this weight of yarn unless you're going to do something double-heddle, and my rigid heddle loom doesn't have double heddle blocks, so that's out. I like my 4-shaft floor loom, and that has the widest weaving width of my available looms, but Mr. Mouse needs to get a move-on with his kilt material. I don't want to tie that loom up with a frivolous vest project. That only leaves the 8-shaft table loom, which I've never used before. Hmmmmmmm..........
Step 5: Spend too much time researching weaving drafts. I figure if I'm using an 8-shaft loom, I might as well weave an 8-shaft pattern. The problem is, I'm not as familiar with the options for 8-shaft patterns as I am rigid heddle and 4-shaft weaving. Also, so much of what I'm finding is on Pinterest, which drives me crazy.
Step 5b: Get frustrated with the internet and grab your books. I pulled out an old weaving textbook I found at a university library sale and start flipping through. I originally thought I wanted something lacy, but none of the laces were speaking to me. The twill section caught my eye repeatedly, and even though I feel like it's kind of a cop-out since all of my multi-shaft weaving so far has been twill, I know what I like.
Step 5b corollary: Of course I won't be weaving the twill from the book exactly as it's written out. That would be too easy. I have a plan for tweaking the treadling pattern for something more interesting.
Step 6: Colors! I want to choose colors we're overstocked on, which honestly helps because there are just so many possible combinations that without this metric to help whittle the choices down, I could have spent another week on color alone. I set out a bunch of cones and started taking pictures on my phone. This is one of my favorite ways to choose colors, because you can easily put a black and white filter on to see what's going to give you a lot of contrast vs. not so much contrast.
Step 7: Indecision springs eternal. I can't decide whether I want a lot of contrast (for a flashy scarf) or not much contrast (so the scarf reads as more textural). I decide not to decide and choose two different weft colors to go with one warp color. I'll make a warp long enough for two scarves and decide what I'm doing with them later.
Step 8: Math. A lot of math. A lot of sloppy math. I think I have a plan now though :)
Next time - warping!
(PS, if you're wondering how I went from crocheting one little motif to weaving-two-scarves-and-we'll-figure-out-the-crochet-thing-later so quickly, you're not alone. This is how my brain works, and I don't always understand or appreciate it.)