Symphony No.1 in Rep Minor

Music is a powerful force. Babies start reacting to music fairly young. My son started dancing around 6 months old and almost instinctively starts bopping and swaying when a favorite song plays. Of course, I do the same thing, and I bet you do, too! Humans are just wired to love music, so it seems. Given this, it should come as no surprise that some weavers have taken their love of music and turned it into cloth. Here’s Nancy Dunlap on her connection to music, weaving, and her Symphony No. 1 in Rep Minor aka rep weave rug from Handwoven May/June 2018.

Happy weaving!

rep weave

Nancy Dunlap’s Symphony No. 1 in Rep Minor rug.

Designer Nancy Dunlap’s Statement

Years ago, my weaving teacher, Beth Wilson, told me to pick a twill pattern from A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison and weave a towel. I opened the book and saw not drafts but musical notes reminiscent of my piano-playing days. Each twill pattern looked like a continuous musical composition that if combined would form a symphony. I started to weave my masterpiece. After a while, Beth asked if I was done and I responded, “Not yet.” She came over to see my towel, and in surprise, explained that I was supposed to have picked a single twill pattern. I thought she had said pick whatever I wanted to use! I had eight twill patterns flowing through my towel.

I continue to see drafts as musical compositions. There are some projects inspiring enough that I feel they transform from compositions into symphonies. Those symphonies inspire me to work for hours until the project is complete. As a composer leans over his musical sheets, I lean over my loom, watching my masterpiece flow from my shuttle onto the cloth.

Knisely, Tom. “Notes from the Fell” and “Rag Rug with a Triple Finish.” Handwoven, May/June 2017, pp. 18–19 and 50–52.

Project at a Glance

PROJECT TYPE: 8-shaft.

STRUCTURE: Rep weave.

EQUIPMENT: 8-shaft loom, 31″ weaving width; 15-dent reed; 1 shuttle; 2 bobbins.

YARNS: 8/4 cotton carpet warp (1,600 yd/lb; Maysville).

Featured Image: Nancy Dunlap found inspiration in music for her rep rug.

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