Playing with Blocks

One of the many new discoveries I’ve made since the purchase of my 8-shaft loom is that more experienced weavers love to give yarn to beginning weavers. Since purchasing my loom in May, I’ve accumulated a stash full of colorful cotton, lovely rayon slub, bright Tencel, and more, all from generous weavers wanting to help me out.


(Of course, this is only partially an act of altruism. Two different weavers explained to me that, after years of weaving, they know precisely what they want to narrow their weaving down to, so by giving me their yarn they can purchase more of the specific yarns and fibers they want to focus on. As a new weaver still exploring yarns and structure, I am thrilled to help them make space for new yarn by taking their old.)

 

  Cotton
  Christina's giant cones of 6/2
cotton waiting to be woven. 

There is one problem, however; I have no idea what to do with most of it. For example, I have two beautiful HUGE cones of 6/2 cotton, both in a lovely deep indigo blue. I want to weave them into huck lace placemats, unfortunately I cannot find a project for huck lace placemats using 6/2 cotton. When I vented this frustration to Anita she suggested that I try playing with blocks. (This is one of those phrases that would utterly confuse non-weavers while those of us in the know start nodding our heads in agreement, along the lines of like "you've got to be warped to weave.")


I knew from other weavers that when you unlock the power of blocks, a whole new world of design comes with it. I also knew that it was probably the solution to my 6/2 cotton problem; if I could understand block theory, I could design my own project with confidence. So I picked up a copy of Madelyn’s new video Block Weaves and hoped for the best.

 

Handwoven huck lace by Madelyn van der Hoogt

 

 

Laces are one kind of block weave. Wouldn't

this pattern look nice in indigo blue?

 

What really makes Madelyn’s videos so great is not just that you can rewind, fast forward, pause, and then re-watch as needed; they’re wonderful resources because Madelyn is a truly incredible teacher. If we’re lucky, most of us will have at least one great teacher. The kind of person who is just the right amount of funny and kind, and who can explain even the most complicated concepts in a way that makes it all seem so simple. Madelyn is, in my opinion, exactly that kind of teacher. She knows what she’s talking about, and more importantly she knows how to explain it so you know what she’s talking about as well.


After watching through once, I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on blocks. My plans for 6/2 cotton placemats have been interrupted by a stronger desire for Tencel scarves—I blame the Colorado autumn weather. In the meantime, I plan to play with blocks and design my huck placemats, and once the scarves are off the loom I will warp and weave with confidence—and hopefully have new huck placemats by Thanksgiving. 

 

Christina Garton

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