Discover more from Amanda Rataj Studio Newsletter
Roncy Packs collaboration, more on Halftones, and some studio views
In this newsletter you’ll find:
Roncy Packs Collaboration
More on my first Weave Quarterly projects
Roncy Packs x Amanda Rataj
A few months ago I asked Toronto-based Roncy Packs if they could use some of my fabric waste from Generation to make a cross-body bag for my mum’s birthday. They were game, so I sent them all of the big pieces and a few weeks later I was able to gift my mum a custom pack just in time for her vacation.
And now! The rest of those pieces of hand woven fabric have been made into a small collection of one of a kind packs that will be for sale on Thursday July 6th at 10am EST on the Roncy Packs website.
Roncy Packs’ Le Ching and her sister Lyli started making packs for fun with their seamstress mom in 2020. They made a few extra, shared them on social media, and then what “started as a fun hobby has become an incredible journey into sustainable fashion and we’re more committed than ever to keeping things slow, small and close to home.”
One of the things I like about RP is that they use local textile waste to create their packs, working with recycling companies like Viking Recycling and their community to source material that would otherwise be discarded. They make packs out of ‘regular’ materials like leather and fabric, but they are geniuses at making packs using fun things like rice bags, old life jackets, and gym bags too.
Seed Pod Towels
In last month’s newsletter, I shared the first look at my Weave Quarterly pattern collection, Halftones. I’m happy to be able to share more information about the first project today, the Seed Pod Towels.
The focus of all three of my projects in Halftones is floatwork/overshot, a two-shuttle weaving technique where the pattern is created by threads that float above a plain weave base. There’s a lot of history behind this type of weaving in settler cultures in North America as well as a lot of ‘rules’ — or at least, ways in which it is usually or traditionally woven.
I’ve tried to play with in the patterns to give you a sense of the versatility and fun that can be had by disrupting the traditional ways this structure has been woven. The Seed Pod Towels kit creates a set of two towels using Gist’s Duet and Mallo yarn lines. There are two colours in the plain weave ground (which gives you a darker hem but lightens up the pattern section) and I’ve inverted the usual dark-on-light colour scheme.
Halftones is named after the areas of floatwork where the weft travels evenly on both sides of the cloth. In the past I haven’t always liked the halftones (they felt muddy, like they took away from the cleanliness of pattern), but I’ve leaned in on these projects to see how I could use them as an element on their own.
I’ve sampled this pattern in the past, and at other scales and colours it can look very different. It first reminded me of clustered seed pods, which lead to the name, but in the blue/tan of the main kit colours, it also reminds me of densely patterned ceramic tiles. The alternate colourway is warm in tone, but sorry — we don’t have any samples made up in them.
Some subscribers have already finished their towels! This review was shared with the Gist team, who shared it with me:
“I love the discovery box!! It is helping me take the time to learn something new. Amanda did a great job of communicating the information and making the pattern easy to use. I’ve never tried an overshot pattern. This is so pretty, such a nice texture, and the pattern is really simple to follow. Great idea!! Great yarn!! So much fun!”
If you’ve been on the fence about signing up for Halftones, there’s still lots of time to sign up and give it a try. If you do wish to sign up, please consider using this link (I get a little extra!). And please share your finished projects with me, I love seeing them!
My friend Helen of Secret Tea Time has been accepted into a residency called Meeting for Teas at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Helen and I admire each others’ practices in many ways, so of course I said yes when she asked if I could weave some cloth for her to use while in Banff. I am sampling and thinking and doodling — Helen is selling some of her ceramics to help fund her trip to Banff, if you’re interested.
Local arts writer Stephanie Vegh interviewed me back in March and you can find the article she wrote in the May/June issue of Hamilton City Magazine or at this link here. I totally forgot about it until I saw a paper copy at the library!
And lastly, coming later this year to Irene Textiles, a new towel weaving pattern.