Thursday, 9 July 2009

Bradford no more!

I received a letter from Bradford College last night, in response to my rapid on-line application. The application has been referred to the international office, and they were requesting further information in order to assess my fees status.

Oops. It's all too easy to forget that I'm not a native here. I do not wish to go through the process and expense of international studentship. So colleges and formal education - whatever my incination may be - are out the window for a few years yet.

As I mulled this over in my head, I realised that formal education may not be the most appropriate thing for me anyway. I already have an inordinate amount of degrees, and what I really want to do is think more about design, rather than be trained to fit an industry I don't particularly want to work in anyway. Which takes me back to options like workshops with the like of Janet Phillips, or the Master Weaver's qualification through the Ontario Spinners and Weavers Guild.

Still thinking...

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

More crinkles

The pleating goes on. This is one I finished between the blue pleated scarf and the black-and-beige series currently on the loom, but I've struggled to get a decent photo.

This scarf is another expedition in warping with handspun. I spun this yarn years ago, from Henna-dyed tussah silk roving. Then, because I'd just moved to the UK and had no way to weave, I used it to try my hand at lace knitting. This is one of the few things I've knit, because I'm not really a knitter. I discovered, however, that lace knitting really needs a slightly firm yarn. This was a lovely scarf, but completely floppy because the yarn was so soft. The lace was completely lost. And as I wear a lot of red, I've always wanted my own handwoven red scarf. So I frogged it out and resolved to turn it into a woven piece. But there wasn't quite enough of the yarn to make a full warp. Which is what led me to the whole 'reversible pleat' idea.

What to put with it? 60/2 silk, doubled on each warp thread, to make stripes set slightly less thickly than the handspun silk, and to give a difference in drape between the stripes. And the weft? Well, I have some yellow and variegated red-orange-yellow silk cap (visible here): the next logical step was to dye and spin some in bright tangerine orange, to match the warp. Yellow at each end, a bit of orange, red in the centre.

The end result was this:

Which I'm pleased with. This isn't as soft and floppy as the rayon and silk scarves, but it has a lovely firm hand and a decent cling to the neck. I can choose whether it sits to be mainly orange or mainly red. I think it's pretty, and it will go with a very wide swathe of my wardrobe!

But most importantly, this scarf is highly personal to me. There's a bit of silk in there that I haven't dyed and spun: but not much.