Thursday, June 8, 2023

Living Letters

For the past several days I have been living letters, literally. The idea to weave letters popped into my head Sunday morning and I have spent almost every waking moment since then thinking about the Ena project.

The Ena Marston Award for Excellence in Weaving began in 2016 and is a special award presented at the California Mid-State Fair by the Fair Judge. It was "instituted by the Guild to honor the memory of mentor Ena and the excellence of weaving in the Guild".  In addition to a cash prize a beautiful handwoven handcrafted ribbon is presented to the recipient of the Award.

For the past couple of years Lupe has made the ribbon but this year under Lupe's direction the Little Loom group has taken on the making of the ribbon as a group project. We will meet next Tuesday with our woven bands in hand and construct the ribbon.

Lupe's beautiful Award ribbon woven on her Gilmore Big Wave loom:



Sunday morning I thought to myself, Hmm, wouldn't it be fun to weave a band with letters? 

I used Annie MacHale's tutorials from her blog and her Youtube video as well as her graph to chart the letters. I choose my colors, drafted the pattern, and warped the loom.



This is actually loom waste and will be cut off but I enjoyed seeing the yellow and purple yarn intertwined.


It took an hour-and-a-half of weaving (and unweaving) before the Aha moment occurred. I was still on the first letter "E" so I was starting to get frustrated. I rewatched Annie's video again. Once I understood what was going on the weaving went quicker and became easier.

By Monday afternoon I had completed "ENA MARSTON AWARD"



Tuesday, I brought the loom to Spinners' group for Lupe's advice on how to proceed. The band was already 10" long and I still wanted to weave "2023".

Lupe had brought her bin of Rosette-making supplies and showed me how she attaches the two side ribbons and asked if I could weave two shorter bands instead of one long one.

That is, could I remove "Award" and start a second band "Award 2023". I said I could do that. I have gotten most proficient in unweaving.


After I unwove "Award" I decided to call the first band a sampler. I put spacers in and started another band from the beginning for reals.

Next, figuring out how to weave the second band to read "Award 2023". Again, I reached out to Lupe for guidance, she thought option #2 was easier to read. 


The two bands are attached in the middle by unwoven strands but the second band is woven upside down and backwards. I had to do some figuring with a strip of paper before I started the second band.



I know, it hurts the brain to think so much.  I didn't weave at all today. Instead I washed laundry and did other chores. The next part will be finishing.

Best to take it one thread - one letter - at a time.



Resources: Annie MacHale's Blog

Weaving Letters on an Inkle Band, Annie MacHale YouTube video

Inkle Weaving - How to weave in thread ends, Lorna Pollock YouTube video

The Weaver's Inkle Pattern Directory, Anne Dixon