Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Cracklin' Good Time

That, my friends, is a leetle bit of crackle weave, woven in 1979(!!!) by some nameless member of the Guild of Canadian Weavers and included in their February newsletter from that year. Why have I shared this little darlin' with you? Because I have Crackle on the brain, that's why!

A bit of back story is in order. Last month at our Christmas party, I suggested to my weavers' guild that we start a study topics program to combat our recent bout of lethargy. The idea is that we'll take turns coming up with topics that we're interested in and then every couple months we'll start in on a new one. The weaver who proposed that month's topic will kick things off, maybe with a related draft, maybe with a bibliography and then we'll all go home and read up on the topic du jour and hopefully weave samples to bring back and share with the others. Since it was my idea, I offered to get things rolling and for my topic I chose crackle.

Why crackle, you ask? Because I know next to nothing about it. Years ago, when I first started weaving, a then-member of the guild told me that she preferred crackle to overshot. I probably had a vague idea of what overshot was by then but crackle was a completely unknown quantity. Years later I know a fair sight more about overshot, including the fact that I don't much care to weave it. Don't much care for it in general, in fact. This is practically heretical around here in overshot country but there it is: I Do Not Like Overshot. And so, although I still know hardly anything about crackle, it has always tantalized me as being a reasonable alternative to the other.

So anyway, we had our January guild meeting tonight and I did my little crackle song and dance, complete with bibliography and handouts. One of the other weavers also brought in her GCW newsletter from 1979 with attached sample to share with the rest of us. Everyone seemed to approve and some even seemed kinda excited, which was pretty groovy and exciting for me as well. Lethargy is bad, m'kay?

Incidentally, if anyone else out there is interested in crackle, you should hurry hurry hurry over to Peg from South Carolina's Talking About Weaving blog, which has tons of inspiring and informative stuff on it, and perhaps also read Ralph Griswold's monographs on designing with crackle and crackle tie ups and treadlings.

Now I've just got to weave off the scarf warp still on the small loom so I can dress it with one of the many, many crackle drafts I scrounged up and find out if I like crackle any better than That Other One!


Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you for mentioning my blog! I have never been a fan of overshot, except for contemporary interpretations that I have seen. And actually, I'm not a big fan of "traditional" crackle either!

Janet said...

Yay! I am not alone! Like you, I like overshot best when you do something non-standard to it, like mess about with colours or fibres or something. Makes it so much more interesting. In fact, I think I'll post a couple pics of some overshot projects I have enjoyed. Still, there's no getting around the two shuttles, which goes right against my instant gratification grain.

I realize that crackle is usually woven with two shuttles, too, of course. I'm trying not to hold that against it, at least not until I've tried it, but I was quite taken with the references I read in... Zielinski, maybe?... to using only a single shuttle, or to using a pattern and tabby thread of the same weight (because then you could make them the same yarn and then - tada! - single shuttle again). Will definitely try some samples like that! But will be a good little trooper and do some two shuttle stuff as well.