Southwick Beach

The Southwick Project
AKA- relearning how to weave for the Seed to Sail Project

Back in the mid 1990’s, I took up rigid heddle and tapestry weaving.  I loved it, but I had two young kids and minimal safe spaces to leave projects. I chose spinning over weaving, and that offhand decision shaped my fiber arts journey for the next 20 years!

I’m circling around back to weaving. It’s been a long time, so I feel like I’m starting from the beginning again!

I found a used 15″ 4 shaft Dorothy loom that needed some revitalizing.  It’s from the 70’s, so the new LeClerc Dorothy parts have to be reworked to fit.  We’re a good fit.  Rusty, a little tired, but still getting along!

A friend kindly warped the loom for me with one of my favorite colorways.  I’ve spent many yards relearning the basics- how to change yarns, how to alternate yarns, how to get a clean selvage, how not to pick up stray warp threads, how to back out mistakes.  I have gotten really good at backing out mistakes.

So, now I’m ready to start my first full project.  I’ve got a cone of sock yarn that turned out to be lousy for knitting but hopefully good on a loom.  I have a dyeing sketch inspired by a spring walk on Southwick Beach.  I have a project plan, a helpful book, and a bottle of irish whiskey to both celebrate and console.  

The colors in the warp are based on a fall walk alongside gorgeous leaves intermixed with pines and cat tails on the dune side and a fabulous bright blue sky with dark clouds and moody water on the lakeside.

We walk the beach throughout the year, and on each walk I say- I need to dye today’s colors. There’s a project! 365 Yarns of Beach Walks

I dyed up the warp in 6 sections that will be 3 inches wide on the loom. Each section is a gradient with a section of mixing in the center. The green and blue section is a bit different because that color run came from the inlet area where the colors shifted from trees across a pond and then back to trees. The gold section was supposed to have more brown in in, but the nylon in this yarn grabbed the yellow pigment and punched it up quite a bit more than I expected. This is a golden cream dye and brown thinned out. In person, the yellow is lighter and has more reflectivity.

I’m waffling on color placement. The color placement matches how they fall out in the world. In fabric, it would probably be better to separate the lighter blue and the gold to increase the contrast.

Here are some winding photos for fun:

I’m not sure of the warping order yet, but I decided to match the colors for the weft. I made 8.5 yard skeins on my warping board and dyed them with the warp colors. The two skeins are similar but the color order, lengths, and values are different. Hopefully that’s a good idea and will make some funky pooling effects against the more orderly warp.

I warped the loom, started weaving. Hated the pattern I chose. Decided to switch to a straight weave and then, well, life. Cat, Dog, A convenient place to put packages. The warp became a table. And then a hammock. And finally, a trash can filler. That’s ok. I saved what I could and started using it for inkle weaving:

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