Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tweeds & District Checks class

I taught a new class at The Mannings in September on Tweeds and District Checks. These are traditional weaving patterns from Scotland, beginning with the most simple check known as the Shepherd Check. By changing colors and adding basic design elements, the shepherd check evolved into the variety of patterns that we see in tweeds today. The district checks are also known as estate checks and are patterns designed for the great sporting estates and used to clothe the employees there.

One of the challenges in preparing this class was finding and choosing a yarn that would come close to the original tweed yarns in grist, quality and color, as there are so few mills left in Scotland spinning the old types of yarn.

At The Mannings, we used Harrisville Shetland yarn and wove a set of samples in round robin, cut them up and took them home to do the wet finishing. The finished samples are a stout, sturdy fabric. You can see from the Aberchalder samples what a difference there is after wet finishing. The traditional tweed would have been finished by waulking, but I finished my small samples in the washing machine.

I will be teaching this class again for the Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild here in Virginia in February, and I am posting photos of the samples for the weavers to choose the patterns they will have on their looms. This class will be a round robin sampling for 2 days and then the weavers will take their looms home and weave a scarf in their pattern. We will be using Jaggerspun 2/8 yarn; it will be interesting to see how the finished pieces differ. I'm expecting a lighter and softer fabric, which will be appropriate for scarves.

Blue Ridge Weavers - keep in mind that your warps will be wider, including at least 2 repeats of the patterns, and that your colors will be slightly different.

So, without further ado, the samples:

Shepherd Check

Aberchalder - right off the loom, and after wet finishing





Bateson - this one has an error in the middle, sorry!








Joanne said...

I'm not a weaver right now, but I am a great fan of checks. These samples are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing them with all of us! Thanks too for your thoughtful blog post. We can absolutely decide what kind of day we're going to try to have. It's taking me a lot of energy right now to have good ones, but I'm with you. The alternatives stink!

Joanne said...

Oops. I meant your comment on my blog post. Sorry that didn't come out right, but you said insightful things on my blog. There, that's what I meant!