New pattern: the Wrapping Cloth! + Furoshiki, Mariah Gaar and more...
In this month’s newsletter you’ll find:
Wrapping Cloth Pattern
Future pattern - coming soon
I’ve uploaded a brand new four shaft weaving pattern to my online shop: the Wrapping Cloth. This project combines a few of the things that the astute reader or real-life pals may already know about me: I like cloth you can hold in your two hands, I wrap my lunch every single day, and I like a good dash (as you know from my priors but also can maybe tell from how I write?) and checks.
When I think about what I like weaving the most, a mostly-square, somewhere in the vicinity of 20”/50cm square cloth is my favourite. A long warp can yield hours of enjoyment and experiment, providing a type of within-bounds-but-boundless creative engagement that I value — as well as making very useful cloth. Use is very important to me; I like my textiles to have a life, to be touched and dirtied and folded up and dragged about. While I have and do make things meant more for the eyes (I have this rug on the wall; no feet, please), a textile meant for everyday use is where it’s at, at least for me.
Using something handmade also creates material and sensory pleasures that are often missing from our modern lives. Hand-held things require conscious engagement and interaction; unlike a scarf, your body can’t hold it without needing to grasp, pinch, or grip. Hands are also enormously sensitive, providing biofeedback such as temperature, texture, and weight. When you are holding a small cloth like this, you can’t ignore it as I am ignoring my tee shirt right now — it requires your attention in the moment.
I once cat-and-fish-sat for some friends (the cat and the fishes were in separate flats!) and in thanks Julie gave me a furoshiki. She had been visiting her mother in Japan, and while I had never heard of this many-purpose cloth before, it quickly became my habit to use it to wrap my lunch. When I worked in an office, it brought pleasure and ritual to the lunch hour — not to mention a handy napkin and no rattling tins in my bike bag.
The Wrapping Cloth pattern contains project specs for two slightly different variations of the same project, and a total of 8 different pattern/colour variations. Woven in 2/16 cottolin, they are lightweight and flexible, making them easy to tie up or fold together. I chose very bright colours, but the patterns (a classic check and a windowpane check) would work with pretty much whatever colour scheme your heart desires.
To break up the regularity of the checks and provide your hands a little something extra to feel, I’ve added short dash sequences in a thicker weft to disrupt the checks. Weave the dash on one side only, as in the lime windowpane variation, or weave them on both sides, as in the lavender checks. I used thrums from past projects for all my extra wefts, but it’s very flexible — so use what’s in your stash.
The suggested warp length for each colour variation creates four wrapping cloths — making it easy to weave a set for your dinner table or plenty of holiday gifts. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the yarn — these weave up quickly! As with all of my patterns, there is a whole page dedicated to tips & variations, so that you can hack it as needed.
If you’d like to learn more about the origins of the furoshiki and this cultural practice, I have a few suggestions:
The article Furoshiki and Wrapping Culture in Japan on the Nihongo Instructor Club Japanese Language School website HERE provides a short intro.
The book Furoshiki and the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping by Tomoko Kakita is coming out in October 2021 and looks wonderful. The author has a number of different wrapping style suggestions on her website HERE.
If you can’t wait, The Furoshiki Handbook or the Wrapping With Fabric books by Etsuko Yamada also look interesting (and are available at my public library!)
My friend Lyndsey gave me a beautiful furoshiki from Musubi, which has its own history page. They make incredible printed furoshiki, it is well worth looking at their new arrivals page.
If you don’t have a four shaft loom and wish you could make my Wrapping Cloths, I am sorry! But! I can suggest an alternative! Mariah Gaar is a weaver in Missouri that runs The Weaving Project, a monthly weaving pattern subscription. All of her patterns are available as single PDFs on her website, and a few, like the pretty Eggshell Spring Scarf, Windowpane Tea Towel, or the Cafe Apron are suitable for rigid heddle looms.
Mariah just recently had her first baby, hurrah! But there were some complications and baby has needed to spend some time in the NICU. Trying to nurture your creativity and pay for the regular things in life can be a huge challenge for many artists and makersbut I can’t imagine how extra difficult it is when you have unexpected (and expensive) medical costs.
I’ve purchased two of Mariah’s projects this month — I don’t intend on weaving them, and I’ve gifted them to weaver friends that I hope will enjoy them. Ages ago I read a comment by someone who would purchase knitting patterns by designers she admired, not because she wanted (or had time) to make the pattern, but because she valued their work.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am when someone buys one of my patterns — and how much that little bit of money adds up each month to allow me to keep doing what I am doing. So if you have an extra $12-$15 this month and my work isn’t speaking to you, no problem — check out Mariah’s online shop by clicking the button below.
There are still another pattern coming this month! I will be sharing it and all the details in my October newsletter, but if you’re really eager, you can follow Gather Textiles to be informed when it is officially published mid-month. They have an Instagram HERE and I believe you can sign up to a newsletter on their website HERE.
I wish I lived closer to Gather’s shop in Edmonton, Alberta. Beyond stocking all the necessaries for weaving, they have some very interesting in-person workshops, like sakiori and card weaving. They also have a free weaving pattern library that’s full of great projects.
Here is a sneak peek of what you can expect from my loom…
Next weekend I’m having my friend Margie over to weave her first rag rug — I’ve just finished winding a warp for her and need to load the loom. I’ve never really had the opportunity to weave with someone else in the studio before and I’m really looking forward to it.
Thank you for reading — please let me know what you think of the Wrapping Cloth pattern by leaving a comment or hitting reply!
A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada in 2016. Hill Strategies. https://hillstrategies.com/resource/statistical-profile-of-artists-in-canada-in-2016/