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Handwoven As Inspiration
By Holly Brackmann

Handwoven, Issue 139, March/April 2008, pg. 62-63

Each semester I choose a specific weave structure and/or technique for my advanced classes at Mendocino College. Topics of study have included diversified plain weave, eyelash fabrics, handwoven dévoré, honeycomb, lace, overshot, painted warps, summer and winter, shadow weave, twills, waffle weave, Moorman inlay, warp rep, krokbragd, boundweave, and more. 

Before deciding on a topic, I look at my collection of weavings, samplers, workshop notes, swatch exchanges, fabrics purchased on travels, and textiles by other artists—and Handwoven articles. I bring examples to the classroom for the students to feel, touch and examine. Last semester, deflected doubleweave was the featured structure. Students produced an amazing array of interpretations—many inspired by articles in Handwovenmagazine.  Here are some examples.

Carol Thompson was introduced to weaving at guild open houses and the annual Conference of Northern California Handweavers. Her interpretation of a deflected doubleweave scarf from Handwoven, January/February 2001, pages 65-67, uses blue 8/2 unmercerized cotton for one weave and 20/2 pearl cotton for the other. Both ends of her scarf are finished with plain weave using a fine silk weft.

Carol’s also wove the red and purple scarf based on a fine silk scarf from Handwoven, January/February 2007, pages 68-71. Carol used carpet warp as a less expensive alternative to the silk in the original scarf, resulting in a larger, bolder design.

Lois Schaer became a spinner and weaver after first raising sheep.  She started looking for a way to use her accumulated wool fibers and handspun yarns and found weavings. Her deflected doubleweave scarf is woven from a brown silk/wool singles and a 2-ply white merino. Although the silk/wool singles was a very fragile and difficult yarn, Lois was extremely happy with the results.

Having taught weaving for over thirty years, I do not want to present the same topics over and over.  Using articles from Handwoven and other sources as a springboard each semester helps provide fresh ideas for me and my students!



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