Well, what can I say? The Winter has been and gone, and in the Lowveld we have simply moved from Winter to Summer without the benefit of Spring to gently transition us from one to the other. Today is sitting up at around 36 degrees Celcius and we have Bergwinds to boot!

Of course we are living in hope that the Bergwinds will bring us some rain, but although other parts of the country can expect the Spring rains to start any day now, we only really should see rain sometime in November. The bush is dry and dusty and we frequently see our resident Grey Duiker pair foraging for seed pods under the False Thorns and the Red Bushwillows. However, as we look around we can also see many signs that the bush is waking up, even without the benefit of the life giving rain. How sweet is this little chap that I came across on my morning walk?

The turned Taquete project on my eight shaft table loom is making progress, and providing hours of relaxing and unchallenging weaving. It has become my ‘go to’ project for when I’m restless, have half an hour, just feel like passing the shuttle, and I am enjoying every moment of it. I didn’t realise quite how badly I actually needed a non-challenging project that I could just pick up and leave off at will, just relaxing into it each time.

I’ve cracked the circles and the squares and by the end of the warp I should have about eight really splendid tea-towels.

On the academic front though, I have been challenging my brain with Corkscrew twills (fabulous, wonderful effects), and double heddle weaving in all its glory.

The Corkcscrew twills are part of the study I have been doing on twills in general on the Patreon page (www.patreon.com/weaveatbrooklands), and they have turned into a most fascinating pursuit. At first I was a little reticent about including them because they are quite under-documented in most of the references I consulted, and the plan was to explain the concept and move on, but as I dug into the possibilities, I realised that I absolutely HAD TO sample. Now as you know, getting me to sample really isn’t difficult as I am a Sampleholic, but I have the feeling that I am going to get a bit stuck on this one.

A corkscrew twill (also called an ‘Interleaved’ Twill) is a combination of two twill lines, usually threaded in contrasting colours. The warp is threaded according to these two lines, and the treadling can be either warp or weft dominant (there is essentially only one shaft difference between the two), and can follow most of the usual paths. Here is my sampler.

It started off with a simple straight treadling, which yielded mild interest but no real fireworks. However, things quickly progressed to quite gobsmacking possibilities:

With some of the patterns, if you look at them from a different angle, they give you a completely different impression. In fact the whole thing became a little bit surreal and put me in mind of the works of Dali and Esche – in other words they demand that you stop and look twice.

On the Rigid Heddle front, it has been all systems go in preparation for my upcoming workshop on Double Heddle Weaving. To be absolutely honest, when it  comes to weaving with multiple heddles and pick up sticks and heddle rods, I do question the validity of the process – in other words I ask myself whether we shouldn’t just accept that our Rigid Heddles are simple, albeit incredibly versatile looms, and work within those parameters .

I decided that it was time to completely redo my notes on the subject and so guess what I did – yep – another sample warp…..

Having said that, I’m so pleased that I did, because I learnt so much from the process. I would guess that I first looked at double heddle weaving about ten years ago. Well, I can honestly say that there has been a lot of Rigid Heddle water under the bridge since then, and I learnt so much from doing the whole thing again. I even transposed a four shaft pointed twill for weaving on a Rigid Heddle – not that I will ever do it again – it really, really fried my brain – but I did it once and now I also understand the process.

Tomorrow I set off for my first workshop since May – so I truly know that the Winter is past. I am looking forward to meeting new people and reconnecting with wonderful weaving friends, but most of all I am looking forward to introducing enthusiastic new weavers to this wonderful craft of ours.

Until the next time – happy weaving to you all.

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