Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'd like to Introduce you to Dorothy

This is Dorothy and she lives near Lockerbie, Scotland. Then, here I am way over here on the west coast of how did we meet? Well, the internet of course! I have a Ravelry account under the name 'weever'. Ravelry recently made it possible for weavers to list their projects under the heading of weaving over the previous two catageories of knitting or crochet. We may be a smaller group there but we're now bonafide! (Basically infilitrating knitters from the inside out :)

This past August, I received an email from Dorothy via Ravelry's message mail. It seems she liked the way I finished off my handwovens and she said:

" I am just about to start a 10/2 tencel project, probably a scarf as that seems like a manageable first time fine weaving exercise. My loom is a 4 harness 6 treadle harrisville 36” wide so not nearly as sophisticated as yours. Would you advise me to use a twill pattern with a tighter sett or a plain weave on 24 ?"

Dorothy had also seen the eight shaft snowflake twill runner in my gallery there and was pleasantly surprized to hear that she could weave a snowflake twill on four shafts! I photocopied a draft by BC master weaver Laura Fry from an old Weavers magazine and sent it to Dorothy, along with some samples. We have been exchanging emails since and sharing ideas on weaving. We're also getting to know one another and becoming friends and who knows, maybe one day we'll meet!

Some of Dorothy's questions were about weaving with tencel as she has some special cones and never woven with tencel before. Judging by these photographs she sent me, she's comfortable with it now! It would also seem that I have started something in her home as she's acquiring new tools to finish her handwovens and her dear hubby is helping and recently bought her a new sewing machine! ( now, he's a keeper!) He's also a great photographer....

The shawl looks lovely! Wonderful job Dorothy. Below is a close up of the pattern:

The last picture shows how Dorothy took my fringe twisting tutorial to heart! She bought the foam board and a fringe twister and got busy!
(I'd love to hear from you if you have tried any of the methods decribed here and how it worked for you. My contact info is listed on the right hand side. )

I am so happy to find that what I share here is actually helping people. Most satisfying! I feel like a proud Mother Hen :)
I invited Dorothy to be guest on the blog and so I will give Dorothy the last word here!

Hi there ! My name is Dorothy Stewart and I live in south-west Scotland in a place called Lochmaben, very close to Lockerbie.

I am a self taught weaver of five years, using a 4 shaft Harrisville 36” floor loom. My weaving has been very intermittent and based on wool scarves and shawls interspersed with tea towels ! Very basic stuff and my daughters are now dreading this year’s model of tea towel !!

I have always had a yearning to do something much finer and on a visit to Halcyon Yarn about 3 years ago I bought two cones of 10/2 Tencel, one purple and the other slightly off-white. They have stayed on the shelf until now as I didn’t really know what to do with them.

I found Susan on Ravelry earlier this year and signed up to her blog, which I found fascinating. The pictures of her weaving projects on Ravelry were just amazing and something I longed to be able to do myself. I learnt so much from the tutorials on her Blog.

In August, I plucked up courage and rather cheekily e-mailed Susan to ask for advice. Her response was amazing ! A parcel arrived at home with copies of the Snowflakes and Stars draft for four shaft looms. They had been prepared by Laura Fry and published in Weavers. I was instantly inspired to get started with my Tencel. Susan has provided loads of support by e-mail and over the last few weeks I have managed to complete two Tencel scarves using the quite complex twill draft.

I was able to follow Susan’s detailed instructions for fringe twisting and finishing from her Blog and as a result have two very professional items of which I am very proud.

I will never match Susan’s level of expertise nor the degree of complexity she demonstrates in her amazing weaving projects but I have certainly moved up a level from my rustic woollen scarves and tea towels !!

Susan has been a wonderful mentor and it is amazing to think that many thousands of miles apart we have established such a friendship. The power of technology nowadays is something else. It is so easy to keep in touch and share experiences. I certainly hope to continue to develop, in fact, my next project will be place mats in Bird’s Eye Twill. This was another draft in my ‘surprise parcel’ from Susan !

Suddenly, I am motivated and inspired to do more weaving and my thanks must go to Susan for this change. Knowing, that she is at the end of an e-mail is just wonderful and I feel very honoured indeed to be invited to be a guest on her Blog.


Life Looms Large said...

Susan and Dorothy,

What a great story!!! I definitely have to check out the weaving section in ravelry. I'm in there, but just barely - so it's hard for me to find people....I mostly just look for projects. But it's a computer.....hopefully I can figure it out!!

Love the scarf you wove Dorothy! Congratulations!! It looks beautiful! Believe it or not, it helps to see how some one else followed Susan's tutorial on fringe twisting because I'm still getting that process ingrained in my head.

If you guys met between Scotland and Western Canada, maybe it would be here in New England!!! Right near me!!


charlotte said...

What a beautiful scarf! The internet is really a fantastic invention, it creates so much contact between people. It somehow reminds me of the pen friendships of the old days: corresponding with an unknown person who shares mutual interests. But the internet is of course much faster, easier to use and allows contact with many persons at the time. I love your story!

Dorothy said...

I love the story, and love the shawl. Well done both of you for this highly successful international weaving project.

I haven't tried fringe twisting myself but I have finally bought a fringe twister, so I am one step closer.

I've been chatting with the UK Weavers on Ravelry, I guess I need to travel a bit further into the weaving groups to find everyone else.

Delighted Hands said...

Very encouraging post-no one needs to be isolated any more! Great shawl-I have the same loom, Dorothy, so it was very interesting for me to see what you could weave. Susan,I appreciate your willingness to share so thoroughly!

Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...

what a wonderful post - thank you Susan and Dorothy!

barbara said...

Susan & Dorothy - this should be what the weaving world is all about - sharing information. Thank you Susan for helping Dorothy; and thank you Dorothy for sharing your story - what a wonderful story. The scarf you wove is beautiful!! This is just the type of good news, caring story I needed to read to end my day, thanks for sharing.
Weaverly yours ....... Barbara

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work Dorothy- and congrats on a wonderful guest blog. While I'm not a weaver, I have found that fiber artists are some of the nicest people around. This wonderful story just goes to further prove that.

quiltmom said...

Dear Susan,
Isn't it fun to make friends through the internet that share the same passion for a craft.
Paulette from Sweet P sent me to your blog. I am a quilter though I have used a nail frame to weave a scarf. I have tried lots of other hobbies/ crafts but I always return to quilting- that is my passion. I love the feel and color of fabric- ( probably the same thing you love about different yarns)
Dorothy's lavendar shawl is stunning- beautiful texture and rich color.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful story of friendship.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Beautiful as always;)

Lynnette said...

Susan -I have been aware for many years that you were extremely generous with both your time and knowledge. Now Dorothy can share this experience along with me! You're a wonderful weaver who supports her weaving community no matter how far the distance!

Dorothy - what a lovely shawl, I hope you keep going with it. I know Susan enjoys mentoring you!

Dorothy said...

Hi there - I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has visited and left a comment on Susan's Blog. Your encouraging thoughts are very much appreciated, I was quite nervous about appearing as a guest on such a well respected blog!
It didn't seem quite like an international weaving project but now you mention it I suppose it was !
Hopefully though, just two like minded people taking advantage of technology to link up and do something exciting and create a friendship.
Maybe we can encourage others to do the same.
If anyone wants to find me on ravelry, I am dorothylochmaben
Many thanks once again for all your wonderful comments

Dorothy said...

Lynette, you are so right ! Susan has been so very generous with her time and sharing her expertise. She has been so patient with me and my endless questions ! I am feeling very fortunate and wish I could just run over there and give her a hug !!
Maybe one day we will meet up, a trip to the Rockies is still on the travel list, all I need to do is negotiate a bit of a detour !!

bspinner said...

Thanks for introducing us to Dorothy. She seem like a lovely lady and a good cyber friend.