Sunday, 5 July 2015

"How Long Does It Take To Make A Blanket?" - Part 1

This is, by far, the most common question I hear when a person first looks at a blanket.  They probably notice the size of the blanket and all the fibre interlacings and are amazed at all the time that must have gone into it.  I really appreciate their realization of the work done to produce that single item.

My quick answer is usually something like "Only a few hours, but there's much more done before and after the weaving."  I thought I'd write a blog on this ... then I planned the outline and my answer to this simple question quickly expanded to five parts!

To begin my answer, weaving a blanket does not equal making a blanket.  The actual weaving is not that long, but the complete making is far more extensive. First, the project requires adequate time for planning: the colours, weave structure, fabric design and purpose of the completed items.  I arrange the proposed cones or skeins on the floor or my work table and let them sit there as I work around them on an earlier project.  I often make changes, yanking out one colour and replacing with another, or getting some better ideas from the initial inspiration.  That process usually takes at least a few days, sometimes weeks and sometimes longer.

Along with the planning are the important calculations of how much yarn will be required for the project.  I need to confidently know if I have sufficient yarns on hand or if I need to order more.  If some of the blankets will have handspun weft, then I need to see what I have available and whether there will be enough for what I'm intending.

The planning stage needs to incubate until I'm satisfied that the ideas I have will work.  This stage cannot be rushed.  Not only will I undoubtedly find some errors or poor colour combinations, but the germination process often improves with time.  And besides, it's a big part of the fun.

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