Magpie in Me


I am generally not a fan of “sparkle”.  It seems like the realm of the marabou slipper and the petit four. While I might occasionally fantasize about being a person who gracefully glides around in delicate slippers and gold lame, all I have to do is look down and see my slippers chewed by our (now 5-year-old) puppy and dusted with dog? cat? loom? fuzz and land back in reality.

In recent days though, a bit of magpie has emerged from my inner depths and I find myself hypnotically drawn to shiny things. Lucky for me, I have a great friend and yarn enabler in Ute Bargmann.  All I have to do, it seems, is mention a fiber, tool, weave structure, book and she reaches into her magic bag and brings forth unimagined riches.  The warp to the left is the continuation of the “test tubes” using a lame/poly bend yarn for the fill yarn and 20/2 silk noil for the tube.  Very hard to photograph and still not there . . . more about that later.  The photo on the right is just a little of what emerged from Ute’s magic bag.  My inner magpie is so excited!

About the “test tubes” . . . I am very interested in thinking and talking  about the “good idea” and the “results”.  In hand-weaving, there is a bit of tension, I think, created between process and product.  This is because hand-weavers don’t simply strive for beautiful cloth.  Pick a beautiful color, weave several yards of plain weave in a lovely fiber and you have beautiful cloth. Done.  Hand-weavers are trying to meet several objectives at once, and beautiful cloth is just one of them.  Another objective is challenge/entertainment.  Novelty might be another, i.e. I want to weave something I have never done before.  And finally, show-offy-ness might be another objective.  I mean this in the most sympathetic way. When you go to guild, you don’t want to bring something beautiful that was extremely simple to think of and weave, you want to bring something beautiful that was also HARD to think of and weave.  And here is the area of interest to me.  Because I think that many times these objectives are at odds.  The “test tubes” are cases in point.  I really like my test tube idea – I really like the idea of a gauze-y tube encasing a shiny, slithery, slightly hidden surprise.  It’s a bit of a challenge to execute, it’s a little mysterious, a little show offy, but I can’t get it to look like I want!!  When I look at all my attempts so far, there are aspects that I like and want to pursue in all of them, but I am coming to the point where I am doubting that it will work for the evening shawl I want to make.  I can’t let go of the idea though – because it is a good idea.  But how can it be a good idea if I can’t get it to look good?

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