Hello everyone and welcome back to the Weft Blown Blog and hello to all of you who have discovered Weft Blown over the past few months.
This blog has been in hibernation over the past few months as we've been so busy keeping up with day-to-day running of Weft Blown that we've not had time to post.
However, things are now settled down now with my husband Rob jumping onto Team Weft Blown full-time and this blog can be brought back to life.
So, I thought it'd be good to use this blog mainly for my handwoven textiles and the process behind weaving them and starting with where my inspiration comes from.
A long time ago at the very end of the last century (1999 to be precise) I finished my Masters degree in Applied Meteorology and started working immediately at the Met Office as a trainee Weather Forecaster. Getting onto the trainee scheme was tough and somehow I managed to get through, even after stumbling on a question about how tornadoes formed.
I joined 25 others on the Observing, then the Initial and Advanced Forecasting courses and after 14 months of training I finally became a qualified weather forecaster.
My on the job training was at Glasgow Weather Centre and I then worked at Birmingham and Manchester Weather Centres when I qualified.
I wasn't on TV but I did do the forecasts for aviation, power and gas companies, council gritting, newspapers, radio, and various other things. It was a great job and I loved having access to satellite images, radar data, weather observation data, and other information at my fingertips thanks to the access we had.
Due to a lot of reasons I decided to leave the Met Office after a couple of brief years and after bouncing around jobs and becoming self-employed I finally settled down and created Weft Blown.
Over the past couple of months I've been thinking a lot about my weaving and how I feel it's gotten away from where I wanted it to go a couple of years ago. My aim was to weave the weather but also try and explain about how the weather has formed to create the textures and the colours that I use in my weaving. However, I feel that the in-depth side of it hasn't really happened how I would like it to and I want to be able to push that side forward, and in doing so it should develop and expand my own weaving designs.
I really want to push myself more in what I'm weaving and get back into weather again as I miss studying about meteorological processes and analysing satellite imagery and data.
So, what I'm planning to do over the next couple of months is take a step back and start researching areas that have been in my head for a while that I want to develop. This includes the structure of warm and cold fronts in weather systems, the observational codes that are used worldwide for weather records, and also looking at satellite images that correspond to the photos that I've taken on the ground and tie-up why the clouds have formed and the processes behind it.
I had already joined the Complex Weavers last year but not had a proper chance to properly look at what the weavers do until now. In their latest Journal there is a brilliant article by Theo Wright on weaving Sine waves which has really got me thinking of how would meteorological mathematical formulae work in weave.
I've also dug out my old textbooks, Met Office training books, and reading a book about how meteorology evolved in the Victorian age. I'm actually looking forward to studying things again and try and re-awaken my brain again.
I've no idea where this meteorological journey in weave is going to take me, and in a way that's really exciting me as I feel I need a change and want to look at new ways of working and weaving.
My aim is to keep this blog fairly regularly updated with what I'm researching and working on and through it I'll show you how my design and weave process works so you can gain more of an idea of how my handwoven textiles are created.
Hello again and many apologies for the long gap between blog posts.
Things have been rather busy at Weft Blown HQ with getting ready for Christmas fairs, being ill, and getting inspired by weather.
As you may have noticed the website has changed again. I've switched over to a whole new web hosting thing called Shopify, which I have to say has made having an online shop far easier as it instantly matches into what's in the studio. The only downside is that moving my blog to the new system hasn't been easy and the older posts do need to have images added back in which I'll do over the next month or so. Also, to those that had subscribed I do hope you can subscribe again. Nothing to do with websites and blog transfers seems easy but I hope that you all like the new look.
The past few months have been great and I've been up to Glasgow for a couple of fairs which were great and it was lovely to meet so many new people that hadn't seen my work before.
The other big change at Weft Blown has been the addition of my first brand new to me floor loom, my Louet Delta called who is now called Storm.
I have to say that I have been nothing apart from impressed by the service from Louet. My Delta came in several boxes, including one of the biggest boxes ever.
The only downside was it's arrival coincided with me getting shingles. I don't recommend anyone getting shingles as it's rotten and I was floored for a week. The biggest downside to it was that I got it in my left upper arm and shoulder. As a weaver and knitter this really wasn't good as it meant that I lost a lot of power in my left arm which has taken a while to get back.
A week after falling ill though I did get back into the studio and managed to build my loom with my dodgy shoulder and eventually she looked like this.
The build quality is fantastic, even with having to put all the parts together myself. For a loom that is still fully manual there are a few very cunning modern twists to the old design of a countermarch loom that really change how it weaves. It's such an improvement on my old loom that she is already cutting down on my set-up and weaving time to make her a very valuable addition to my studio.
My Delta loom is a 12 shaft 14 treadle loom. For those of you that are not weavers this means I have more uppy downy bits on my loom to make cooler patterns than before. For the weavers, having the extra 4 shafts from my last loom makes a big difference as it means I can do more block patterns and also just weave more complex designs than before in an easier way. The tie-up is also far easier and means I can change patterns while a warp is on the loom, again something I couldn't have done before.
Having Storm my new loom has also reignited by weaving juices and I have got my weaving design mojo back. I am now able to explore more weaving techniques that I dipped into at college and the one thing that I've really been wanting to explore for a long time is Collapse Weave.
As I am always looking up at the sky and the changes in the cloud and light, I've been wanting to explore more how to create more texture of the sky into my handwoven cloth.
I've delved back into my archive of photos from the past year and have dug out these as my new inspiration sources for scarves.
The subtle texture in the clouds in these images fascinates me and I want to translate that flow between the cloud and the sky into a scarf.
I've experimented with the basic structure using Shetland yarn with over twisted yarn. The second sample worked and here's the results.
I have dabbled in collapse weave at college and this time I've managed to create the crinkly structure in a more controlled way.
So, I am currently threading up Storm in some lovely Old Maiden Aunt yarn mixed with some Jamiesons of Shetland yarn to create a textured scarf imitating the sunsets above. Fingers crossed it'll work.
The new scarves and new cushion designs will be launched at Scotlands Trade Fair which is on from 24-26 January 2016. This is the first time I'm doing a trade fair and it's a tad daunting but hopefully it might lead to my work being sold in more places across the country. If you are going then do pop by my stand on LG8 to say hi.
I'll be back soon to let you know how it's gone and how the new scarves and cushions look.
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