I’m still weaving. I’m also trying not to get completely sucked into that black hole eating all my brains and trying to eat all my time as well… because while things work really nicely on paper, and while I know what I want to do, some details still have not clicked yet. So the tree is not yet finished, and I’m not yet all happy.

Never mind that, though. There is something else going on too. Something delightful. Something… stony!

I have received a new delivery of stone spindle whorls, and they are beautiful, and they are going into the shop now. While you are getting a sneak preview of them here:

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Things going on?

Prep for the Textile Forum – writing lists, making plans, figuring out stuff, and generally getting really excited.

Also… more weaving. Currently I’m trying to get merging lines down pat, so the idea was to weave a tree (inspired by one of the Arlon motifs) and follow that with a bee (which is perfect for trying a few other things that serve as design elements).

Well. Merging lines. That means you have one line coming from the left, and one from the right, and the main turning direction of these lines is not the same, so one basically has to eat the other one. In theory, I got this. In practice, I thought I had it at one point… and then I wanted to repeat it and I got horribly, horribly muddled up. Maybe it was too many things at once…

…because I wanted to try starting multiple diamonds at the same time on the free side of the band. Well. That did not go as planned.

You can see in the picture that things got really, seriously wonky. Ah well. I’ll make the tree a little taller… and try again. (In theory, I know exactly what I have to do. In practice, somehow, things sort of get out of hand occasionally…)

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One of the last old forests in Europe, the Hambacher Forst, is currently in danger of being razed.

The Hambacher Forst is about 12 000 years old. Yes, twelve fucking thousand. Its earliest mention in written sources is in a document by Otto II, Emperor, dated 973. The oldest trees currently standing there are 350 years old, and more than one hundred fourty highly endangered species live in that forest. You can read more about the forest on Wikipedia.

Now, if you are wondering why something like this is going to be felled… because RWE is of the opinion that the thing that we all need much more than a historic forest and really important habitat for endangered species of plants and animals is… brown coal. Yes. Brown coal. That dirtiest, most stupid source of energy that you can use these days.

Currently, the federal government of the substate of Germany the forest is in uses the police to clear the forest of activists, who are protesting against the raze. RWE plans to fell trees starting on October 1. The protests of countless people who want the forest to stay remain unheeded.

Yet.

There’s still hope, and I hope that you are willing to help! Maybe, together, we can save the forest.

So what can you do?

Sign the petition on Change.org.
Send a letter protesting the forest raze via the BUND website.
Visit the Facebook page of the local government and leave a message there telling them you cannot believe they are doing such a thing.
Send a tweet to @ArminLaschet and/or @inascharrenbach with the same message. It need not be long. It need not be elaborate – it just needs to be another voice, and another, and another. (You can use the hashtag #hambibleibt if you like.)

And, of course, spread the word so others join in as well.

I’m here. I’m hoping. Please help.

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Here is a little stack of links for you:

Beer might have been the reason for the cultivation of grains, not bread. Well, that does fit in very well with my view of humankind – I can’t say I’ surprised!

More textile stuff? Here’s a short video about a method for weaving patterns on a loom with extra heddles, and an article about the same style of weaving, but done by two people (which sounds much more efficient to me).

More patterns, this time old ones for tablet-weaving? Ute Bargmann has written an article about the patterns recorded in Cod. Pal. Germ. 551 in Heidelberg, with some very beautiful brocaded patterns for tabletwoven bands.

Have a good start into the week!

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I hope you’re not bored to death yet with my posting of tablet-woven animals but, well, you guessed it – I’ve made another one, and I have nothing better to do than share it here:

Starting this was a little bit more difficult than I had anticipated, if only because I was not able to tell left from right properly, and had originally planned something that does not work – so it took a few tries before I was able to set off.

I also learned that there are some things that have to be done in sets of four, not sets of two picks, which is why there is some wonkyness at the base of the neck (the bit at the bottom would have been avoidable, but I was too lazy to un-weave two picks).

Despite all of this, I managed to get out at the end with much less muddle than I had at the end of the horse, so things are getting better – and with the new rule to add to the set, there should be even less muddle next time.

And now I’m wondering what I should weave next… though I probably should do some other things first for a change. These critters eat a lot of time!

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So after the success of the tiny wonky animal on the narrow band, obviously there was no other choice than trying out the new system on the wide band.

And, well, what shall I say? I was mostly successful, and I can now give you this:

Woven on a 42 tablet wide band, with no pattern drawing. Not even a sketch.

Actually, I did make several sketches, but in the end, I followed none of them. I was sitting there, weaving, and that certain part of my brain went “I think I should do this here” or “wonder if I can’t give that horse a mane” or “this doesn’t look wide enough yet”.

Obviously, it did not go all smoothly all the time – I did botch up at a few different occasions, once so badly I actually had to un-weave two picks.  The tablets were a bit out of sync after one point (damn you, directional change at odd weft counts!) and that did make going on, and matching lines together, a lot harder than it should have been. So in the end, I had some parts that were running smoothly and some wonky places between them where I sort of just fudged it. The smooth parts were partly in sync and partly not, so the wonkyness went both ways, and it was rather a relief to find that the head blob had finally gotten long enough, as had the front legs, so that I could just turn everything pink again and call it a day. Or a horse.

However, being able to go on and actually finish the critter proves, to me, that the system does work very well – because the last times I got out of sync in a similar way, or even less direly, everything got so confusing that I basically gave up and restarted with a clean slate. This time, it was possible to muddle my way through, and the next critter will surely be less wonky again. I’ve also realised that there are some more hints (that can probably be turned into rules) to prevent things like this from happening again.

So. Achievement unlocked: Twill patterns without pattern.

And what kind of critter will I weave now?

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For ages and ages, I have dreamt of this. Well, admittedly, my dreams were a little bit more spectacular, but still – I’ve done it.

I have woven an animal.

It’s not looking very spectacular, and it’s not a very complicated animal (which would actually be rather difficult to achive on only 12 tablets), but it is one. And I was utterly, utterly happy to have managed this…

… not because it is the most beautiful little animal that was ever woven (far from it!). But because it means that I have finally cracked that nut and figured out the system to weave patterns freehand on a twill background.

This was done without any pattern or sketch, starting from a base with all diagonals running into the same direction, using the newly-rediscovered system to change diagonal slants. It’s a humble, ugly little animal that looks a bit like it is vomiting, but I’m very, very proud of it.

So… now I will progress. To more, bigger, more complex animals that might actually resemble real living beings so much that you might be able to recognise what it’s supposed to be…

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