Sunday, July 4, 2010

Basket Weaving, Saori Weaving, and Playing with Yarn

Still catching up on blogging about my parents' visit, and I would be remiss if I did not mention the lovely baskets that my mother I and learned how to make at a workshop at the Iowa Sheep & Wool Festival.  The workshop description said that we would make a "pie or wool basket" so I imagined a small basket and I figured that since it was my first time to try basketry, I would come away with a sort of charming but uneven and wobbly looking piece, sort of like my first handspun yarn!

Instead, I came away with a really lovely and useful basket, as did my mother.
We were both ever so pleased with the results of our labour and I would definitely be interested in making another one.  I made a small mistake in following the instructions, such that I had 2 rows of coloured reed instead of 1, but it really didn't make a difference.  My mother, being the older and wiser one of us, correctly followed the instructions!

The baskets have a solid wood base and would fit a very large pie or a large amount of wool.  The handles are also solid wood and very sturdy.  The weaving is done with a combination of reed and ash.  There is also a small amount of seagrass in the top edge.

That wasn't our only workshop though!  Indeed, we are a crafty pair, and we both enjoyed a second class in something called Saori Weaving.  My mother has done weaving before, and I have a loom in the basement that I haven't used yet, but which I would like to use soon!  Saori weaving is a contemporary weaving style that was founded in Japan in 1970.  It's a freestyle weaving technique without "rules" as such.  It's really more of a way to express one's creativity in a weaving activity.

There were lots of colours of threads to choose from for the weft, but the warp was already done for us.  There was also roving (prepared fleece) for us to add into our designs.  Here you can see the weaving that we did.  The technique is ideally suited to mats, table runners, but also to simple clothing designs.
My mother's is the larger piece on the left,and mine is the narrower one.  We both agreed that this was a great class and we'd do it again.  The class is being offered at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival this September in Jefferson, Wisconsin.  If you are going to attend that show, consider this class!

While we had a great time at the Festival, we also had a great time at home.  Remember all those bottles of dye that I put together before she arrived?  Well, we certainly put them to good use!
We had a great afternoon of dyeing both yarn and fibre.  The yarn we dyed was an East Friesian cross fleece that I had processed and handspun at High Prairie Fibers in Iowa.  It came out beautifully as a 2 ply yarn with a lot of spring and loft.  We also did some overdye on some darker grey-brown handspun.  Using the bright Jacquard dyes on the dark fleece gives a lovely subtle effect.  We also dyed some Rambouillet roving that came out well.  I still need to get some of these things listed on the Etsy site!

I think the looks on our faces show more than any words can say what a delightful time we had!  I do wish she lived just up the road so we could do this all the time!


Louise said...

Sounds like you had a lovely visit.

Mom L said...

Beautiful - both the creations and your smiles!! I love the colors in your yarns.


Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

All your projects look great. Love, love, LOVE the baskets.

Mare said...

Oh Claire, i love the baskets and the weaving and dyed yarn. Everything looks so beautiful! But i especially like the pictures of you and your Mom together, because i can see how much you enjoy each other's company and i can see the love between you both...
I also wanted to let you know that my painting "The Newborn" came down off the wall at The Paper Sparrow, and is all yours if you still want it! Let me know and i will post it in my Etsy shop as a reserved listing! Thanks Claire!

Millie said...

I'm so glad you two had a lot of fun. I'm very impressed with how great your craft projects look.

Kelly said...

Does it help that I had to REALLY study the 2 baskets to see where you missed the instructions? Great work, especially for a first timer!

Animals with Opinions said...

i am so glad to hear about the wonderful time you had with your mum. the human has craft envy i think. oh well if she gets into all that dyeing and such she won't have enough time for me.

gerald the majestic goat

polly's path said...

my daughter and I take basket weaving classes from one of our dear friends who has a farm near us. It is by far the most relaxing hobby I have found. Both yours look awesome, and I actually love the two strands of reed on yours!

Texan said...

Oh what fun you and your mom had!!!!

The baskets are just wonderful and for your very first basket..WOW... I would love to learn that craft myself!!

Gail V said...

Makes me want to take a basket class! How fun for you and your mom, what a great weekend you had. Did Chiaki O'Brien teach the Saori class? She lives very close to me and is very dear. She WEARS those little strips of weaving sewn into skirts, and looks great!

My Life Under the Bus said...

All that garden making AND crafting too !!! Did you even sleep ??? LOL ! The basket looks great and that blue roving looks gorgeous !!! you look pretty good in blue hair so there's something to look foward to !

Mare said...

Hi Claire! "The Newborn" is in the Etsy shop! Whenever you are ready it is reserved for you! Thank you so much!

Gene Black said...

HI, I know this is an older post, but I found it by searching "Saori"
I wanted to say that I love your basket design change with the two colored rounds.
I am also curious if you have done any more Saori weaving. It is clear that both of you enjoyed the class.