What's On the Loom... And Why It's Not a Tartan... Yet

Welcome to the inaugural blog entry/newsletter from Susan Targove, Handweaver!  I plan to publish no more than once or twice a week, so you don't get totally tired of me.  I will keep you informed of my weaving progress, since so many of you are interested in getting a scarf or stole in the Caitriot tartan, but I will also talk about such quotidian and narcissistic things as what I'm reading and my struggle to lose weight and get more exercise.  And cat pictures, of course!  So, on to today's topic...

A short two and a half months ago, the leader of a Facebook group contacted me for my opinion on how they could design a tartan as a gift.  Today I have a business weaving and selling that tartan as scarves and stoles.  Not exactly what I had planned to be working on, as you might expect.  

Every two years, twelve local weaving guilds join together to put on the New England Weavers' Seminar.  We have two judged shows, a Gallery Show and a Fashion Show.  At the 2013 Fashion show I looked at the vast array of scarves, shawls, and a few boxy jackets and decided that I would weave and sew an outfit to show that handwoven fashion could be more sophisticated.  I found a Vogue pattern that appealed to me:

Vogue V2810

The skirt is going to be a navy and teal iridescent silk in what we call a fancy twill.  The top will be a hand-painted silk in teals and blues woven in a satin weave.  I choose a skirt fabric weave structure from a book of 18th century weaving designs by Jakob Angstadt, with eight-petaled flowers in a diamond grid.

I had already started warping the loom for the skirt fabric when I decided to weave scarves and shawls in the Caitriot tartan and offer them for sale.  So here's my plan:  I will weave the skirt fabric, then two batches of tartan scarves, then the top fabric, then two sets of tartan objects again.  

Here, then, is what is currently on the loom:

To meet my aggressive schedule for weaving the fabric, sewing a test garment in commercial fabric, and sewing the handwoven fabric, I need to finish weaving the skirt fabric in the next week or two.  After that, I go straight to the first set of Caitriot scarves, assuming the ordered yarn for the scarves comes in by then.  I have four of the colors, but the dark gray is backordered.  

It's 9:00 pm and my cats are waiting semi-patiently for their dinner.  I have a weaving study group in the morning, but after that I'll be back at my loom while a repairman installs my new dishwasher and, I hope, fixes my freezer.  Everything in the kitchen is the same age and appears to be trying to break at the same time!

- Susan