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Workshop Planning – final stage: done.

The workshop planning for the tablet-weaving is finally, finally finished. I’ve done a testrun on Wednesday, with three lovely ladies volunteering to be my guinea pigs for trying out the concept and the materials – and it was a good thing, and a fun afternoon to boot.

All ready for the testrun!

All ready for the testrun!

The good news (for me, at least): the materials, setup things, and general concept are all sound, and they all did work as I had hoped them to. The timeframe of about 4 hours, a little more if necessary, also works.

Of course, though, there were a few issues. “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”, right? They were, however, mostly small, and to my relief, all of them can be fixed easily. One of the small issues was a sort of back-firing effect from handing out pattern sheets – they were intended to help with visualising the patterns, and as a reminder on how they are done for after the course at home. They turned out to be rather distracting, as they were either not understood easily or, in one case, were understood well enough to be used to tick off the wefts that were already done. Which is, of course, a perfectly valid method to approach one’s tablet weaving – getting or writing a pattern, then following it – but exactly the opposite of what I want to teach, which is knowing what kind of pattern you want to do, looking at the band, and then seeing what needs to be done in order to get the pattern you want. This, admittedly, is a bit more of a brain exercise than reading a written pattern and following it step by step – but it does give you the possibility to weave without a pattern, and the flexibility to change things on the go without getting (too) confused.

Well, this is easy to remedy – I just won’t hand out patterns. Saves paper, too…

The biggest issue was my intended approach to teaching the 3/1 twill structure. Tabletwoven twill is basically a doubleface with staggered colour sequence – when you turn all tablets into the same direction, you get diagonal stripes. When I learned how to twill, I got taught with the band set up to make a chevron pattern when all tablets turn forward, so you get V-shaped stripes.

Band with chevron stripes. This will still be done in the workshop - but not as the basic setup for the twill part.

Band with chevron stripes. This will still be done in the workshop – but not as the basic setup for the twill part.

This has the advantage of having a mirror-image in your band, so if you mess up on one side, the other side can help you in correcting your mistake. The problem for teaching a group with this method? You need a broader than feasible band in order to clearly see the twill structure, and get into the twill rhythm. When I did my concept and test-weaving, this didn’t occur to me – I’ve done enough of the twill stuff to see the pattern emerge almost instantly, and with it the rhythm. With time, it becomes totally natural how the tablets move, and what you expect from them – and that is good and necessary, as twill patternwork will tend to twist your brain, so everything that is automatically done following a strict rule is one thing you don’t need to pay attention to. (This is also why I have firm procedures when weaving and firm rules in how to set up the band – I need to know what direction of turning gets which diagonal, or my brain busts.) For the course, though, and beginners in twill, the areas worked in twill and in regular structure in this setup are too small, and things are following too closely on each other, and thus it gets too confusing.

Fortunately, this is also easy to remedy – with a different setup, and slightly different explanation with a different emphasis on what to look for. Which, with a few small changes to the handout, settles all my remaining problems with the course concept. Yay!

So now my script is updated, the handout has been changed, my list has been checked and amended with a few details, and the course is ready to take off. First instance, according to current plans, will be at the Nähtreffen (there’s still spaces left, if you’d like to join us). And then – who knows? With about 4 hours, the course is fairly long to offer it at events like the Ravelry Meetup, but it’s not completely out of question. And of course, it’s always possible to book the course for a group of like-minded folks, either taking place here or where the group is based.

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5 Responses to Workshop Planning – final stage: done.

  1. Harma says:

    I’ve learned quite early on that if you want people to listen to you, you don’t hand out anything to read, because they will stop listening and start reading. I only hand out memory-aids at the end of a workshop for future reference.

    • Katrin says:

      Only works if the handout is not necessary during the course, though…

    • Bruce says:

      Ad Idem. This was part of the information of every Methods of Instruction course I ever did.

      Best idea is probably to send a print-your-own email copy of the essential reading to all registrants so they can all be ‘on the same page’ to start. You will need extra copies as someone (puts hand up) will forget their copy on the day. Then you save the extra material to hand out at the end of the day, for them to read on the way home and keep for reference. Depending on the facilities you may suggest a USB stick or similar for electronic handouts.

      • Katrin says:

        Well, the intention was to have things that are helpful for quick reference there during the weaving, so it’s possible to re-orient oneself where necessary. There’s bits where you need to know what turn direction will result in what line slant in your band so you pick the correct pack to start your pattern with – and that was part of the sheet handed out.
        With the changes in the last part of the workshop, though, I can finagle it in a way that this is not necessary anymore – which means that I’ll be able to hold on to the cheatsheet until the end of the course.
        The print-your-own-and-read-beforehand is a lovely idea, though, and I’ll definitely keep that one in mind for things that would benefit from essential previous knowledge. Though I suspect that there will probably not only someone who forgets their copy on the day, but also someone who forgets/doesn’t get around to reading it – and thus won’t be on the same page as all the others…

  2. Harma says:

    I’d love a workshop from you on 3/1 twill anytime, whatever the format. You understand the technique a lot better than I at this stage. I do need that cheat pattern.

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