Tuesday, June 17, 2008


"Recipe gatherers are not always open to the trial-and-error part--I call it 'commit and correct'. These days folks often feel they need to save themselves some time. This can be false economy. Selling everyone on commit and correct is not easy. It's all about creativity, and that's the fun part."

Robert Genn, in his essay Keeping Things Simple, is talking specifically about gathering recipes for creating colors with oil paints. But I hear him speaking to me, a weaver, as well.

I want to weave some towels for our daughter. There are recipes for towels galore. How easy it would be just to pick one I like and weave some, following that person's recipe. This should be pretty fail-safe. And it would save me a lot of time as well. Very tempting. I could get back to my crackle playing so much faster.........

Genn reminds me, however, that "the fun part" is the working out of design and structure issues for myself. Even if the end product should turn out to be a disaster I wouldn't allow my dog to sleep on and chew up, I would have learned much of value, not least of which would be how to suffer disaster wisely.

I have certainly learned this in my crackle weaving. But towels? Why should I spend a lot of time designing some simple towels?

How much time would it take for me to draft a straight twill for a solid color warp for 8/2 unmercerized cotton, measure one of my towels for size, and work out the warping details? Probably no longer than it would take for me to settle on a design created by someone else.

Then for fast weaving I would weave each scarf with one color, a different color for each scarf. And I would weave each scarf with a different treadling.

Not fancy towels, probably. But honest towels.

To read Genn's whole piece, go here.

Related Post:

Color and Weave
Thoughts on Designing

© 2008


Susan B. said...

This was a timely post for me as I am looking at different drafts for my next project. I had already thought about "adapting"; now I think I am committed to that!

Leigh said...

Ahem! (From an avid fan of towels as samples) Tsk, tsk, Peg, towels are people too :) I just figure I'll get more use out of towels than I will samples or scarves. Their true value is in the learning. That and the sense that even the most failed of experiments still has a functional purpose.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Good for you, Susan!

Leigh, I think towels are wonderful for samples. But how many towels do I really need?!?! The ones I wove years ago show absolutely no signs of wearing out. Perhaps dish cloths would be another possibility? Car towels?