Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Heddles, henna, etc

So I had my hands painted with henna last week, because I was going to a Qatari wedding, and that's what people do. And the best photo I have of both hands turned out to be this one taken while I was making heddles. This is a few days after the henna application - it got darker over the first several days.
It was difficult for me to sit around and not do anything with my hands for over 2 hours the first day.
 I did in fact try to doe some spinning on the wheel, and little bits of blackened, dried henna kept flaking off into my fiber. Some women get the entire surface of their hands and arms done, including palms and fingertips, but I would surely go crazy if I couldn't use even my fingertips for a few hours.
 When it all flaked off, it was red-orange, making quite a contrast to the quilt I was working on - although the leaf shapes are similar.
Trying to photograph my henna'ed hands doing fibery things became a brief obsession, but without much to show for it, until the hub snapped the one at the top.
Meanwhile, I had made a new handspun warp and was eager to set it up, but this one was still on the loom bar,
and I was using my loom bar extension, which is a second bar attached only by rope loops, so it sways out from the table under tension. Due to its mobility, it's not good to have a second, unused warp on there.  (The one above has since been finished and made into a bag, and I could write a tome about this piece, but perhaps not right now. Yes, I cut the fabric at a slight angle to accommodate the widening of the woven strip!)
So, inspired by Emi in Laverne's recent report from her classes in the US, I tested the length of my handspun warp and found it perfect for this setup.
 I don't think I could weave a whole piece this way like Emi, but for the short time it took me to make heddles, this worked well.
Now that I have finished the black and white complementary warp piece, I have both this one and the one in the top photo on my loom bar, Bedouin and Andean side by side.
The piece on the left will have a shajarah motif in the center, using warp substitution, and the handspun has a mayo q'enko pattern in pebble weave. The pebble weave is going faster at the moment, since it's only 8 ends of pickup, while the shajarah is 35. But the nice cotton warp is so much easier to manage while changing sheds that it has its own appeal. I have a young budding weaver visiting my home tomorrow, and these will also make good instructive pieces to demonstrate the different kinds of warp patterning.
And the henna is almost all faded off now.