The Weaver's Dance

On a loom that whispers, with shuttles that fly
And bobbins that chatter as the hours go by
I'll not lay in one thread of mere chance
As I work in the motion of the weaver's dance.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Bye Joseph Leisey

It's not as though he'll even notice that I am gone.  It's a rather long see, Joseph Leisey wrote a beautiful threading draft way back in 1783.  When I discovered it at an exhibit table put there by the Complex Weavers, I was astounded that this draft was almost as old as our country.

Here's the text:  Joseph Leisey's 1783 Draft Book, 8 Harness, 12 dent reed, 3 to dent, 36 epi, 44/2 Linen, trompt as writ, "Weave a Kerchief".

I just had to weave this draft...

Now, shortly after acquiring Stanley, I decided to go for this draft....but Stanley is a 12-Harness Macomber...  "This is just like me," I thought, "I can't leave anything ALONE!"

So I modified this 8-Harness draft for my 12-Harness Stanley....even my looms are required to do their best! I wove beautiful stoles with Joseph Leisey....I hoped he would have approved.  I wove some yardages, as well.  But, I was curious about the draft "as writ" and felt, in order to really do it justice, I must do that, too.

So I moved Joseph Leisey over to my dearest and oldest loom, The Old Structo. This Structo Artcraft loom (see under "With a little help from my friends") isn't so efficient for my 'speed weaving' of yardage, but, thanks to Joseph Leisey, I discovered that it is purrrrrrrrrrfect for stoles!  (And, I weave stoles on the Old Structo to this day...)

As I begin weaving another stole, I discover that, as the 12-Harness version of the old draft is strong and stable, the 8-Harness draft, "as writ", was not to my liking.  Okay, I've only got 40 yards on this Structo, I'll be okay.  I supported the draft by weaving "as overshot" with tabby rows alternating with the lacey floats.  It was stable, but no fun at all.  So I isolated the most stable parts of the draft and vowed not to use the unstable blocks at all....then, by adding 2 tabby rows between each group of lacey float rows, I had one fine fabric!

So, happily weaving Joseph Leisey for a couple of years, I made stoles, I made baby blankets and I wove lovely yardages.  Several hundred yards have gone through getting blessed by the lovely old draft as I "dummied on" several times, changing warp colors, changing weft colors, taking that sweet old draft apart, shuffling it about, enjoying it frontwards, backwards, right-side-up and up-side-down.  I cast it asunder and then put it back together again.  I could weave it in my sleep....and have...

But, all good things must come to an end and, as you see to the left, it has.  It obviously shook me up more than I realized until processing this photos.  The rest of the photos were entirely too blurry to even show details at all.

I think this blurry photo might be showing me that I was more affected by leaving Joseph Leisey than I ever would have thought it would.

So, again I say, good bye Joseph Leisey, with my most profound thanks.  I can only hope that I may someday give some future weaver as much joy as you gave me...possibly in the year....2238.  I am ever aware of the timelessness of what we do and how we, all weavers, touch each other.  We read a language like none other, and, even across time and space, we continue to bring joy to each other.

Some years back, I wrote some words about this weavers-in-the-fabric-of-life situation and here they are....

"Past Weaver, Future Cloth"

The hands of this weaver did tire and slow
And it seemed that the fabric was done.
Yet here I strive to take up this work,
Since one weaver is never just one.

And when I tire, please see this cloth
And be moved to continue it on.
To keep alive our web of life,
The weaver's dance can never be done...

Cat Brysch

I don't have so much a Trick of the Trade this post as just a handy-dandy thing that I have done for years.  There are times when we all have so many 'irons in the fire' that it's difficult to keep track, right? Well, in this case, what is happening is I need lots of well-lighted, roomy work spaces and I need several!  So, what do I do?  See the photo above....that picture is worth a thousand words!  I have put a cloth over the  warp threads on Jimmy and, since he's not tied on to weave at present, I only needed the long narrow cloth that you see at the reed over the shuttle race.

Then I have put a work board (I have several sizes available at all times to use) over the shuttle race across to the breast beam.  Nothing is harmed in creating this wonderful work space and I have the best light in the world right there.... comfortable seating, too!

Here's a smaller work space over Arlene.  The green cloth (an old pillowcase) is draped over the whole scarf that is in progress, so the board will not touch the delicate, tiny warp or the hand-dyed silk scarf. And there is another work space!

I have a huge board that I've put over Doris in the past when I was really needing some space and this works great.  At present, I have 4 separate work spaces going on at looms that are not a part of my numerous deadlines.

Multi-purrrrrrrrrrrpose looms....nuf sed!

Thanks so much for reading.  Now, I'm off to do fiber art, paper work, hand sewing, Raggy Cat assembling and weaving again and am sending Miles and Miles of Smiles,  Cat B.

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