Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Shetland Wool Week: Day 20: Advanced Taatit Rug Workshop

Fri 28 Sept 

Last year I took the Taat chat at the Bod with Carol Christiansen (1) and a Taatit Rug workshop with Kathy Coull and Father Christmas remembered  where I had put the Taatit book I purchased.(2) I really like looking at the book and rereading it and enjoyed finishing my sample at home. However, as I was finishing it I was wondering how the correct way of finishing this would be for a larger piece. So, when I saw that Kathy was running an advanced course this year I was keen to sign up. I was even more interested when I saw that a large Taatit Rug was entered for the National Exhibition for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers in Glasgow this summer. Unfortunately I did not get to see the exhibition so I couldn’t examine this piece in person. I thought the back looked rather different to my sample but perhaps that was due to the angle of display. 

I had some thoughts about design and what would be possible for me in terms of completing a much larger piece. I was keen to weave my own background this time. I thought a wall hanging would be more realistic that a bed cover, just in terms of getting it finished in my lifetime as I know I have other textile interests and it will never be my only project on the go - although I do find it addictive. I had also thought about a colour range and had a stimulus photo of a midsummer sunset at Westing beach which I took a few years ago. I had  also collected some  photos of architecture from elsewhere as well as I hoped I could make the rug  a contemporary look but to include traditional elements of symbolism as well. The other question for me is that I like the pile and the woven side equally so how could  I best display it to show both- or whether this was in fact possible. 

So I had lots I wanted to discuss with Kathy. I knew the workshop would be small as we were meeting in Kathy’s bijou space in the Lodberries. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was when due to unfortunate circumstances I would be the only one at the workshop. How good would that be? 
Needless to say I had a great time, I looked In detail at the large piece based on Fair Isle and it’s lighthouse that Kathy is completing, which took us into design and practical modifications of the pattern. We also discussed edgings etc and all the other questions I had from completing my sample piece last year. We worked through ways  of forming a circle that would appear as a circle and getting sloping lines to ‘work’ as planned. 
A sloping line sounded easy but still needed full concentration

Kathy  had woven me a large sample piece for the background from her own sheep on Fair Isle. Time went fast and even though there were only the two of us we still ran over! (3) 

I had arranged to meet M for lunch in the Dowry, our first lunch here. This (Thai soaked salmon and mini noodles) was very tasty. We then drove back down to Hoswick and today was the day I would finish weaving my sample  on the Warp Weighted Loom. I would delay taking it off the loom until tomorrow. 
Weaving on the loom just before it was cut off

Ruth Gough was finishing a class and it was good to catch up with her. The class took me back several years (15 or so) when we lived in Cheshire and I did several spinning classes  with Ruth and know that my spinning is so ‘scientific’ due to her methods. (4) 
Anne Eunson who was also finishing a class so there was another opportunity for a catch up. I was not going out tonight so could spare the time to look at the delightful weaving of some of the college students that was being displayed in the upper room of the workspace at Hoswick . 
BA student’s weaving 

Then it was time to go back to base and collapse.
This is the Suffolk ram which has been in the field  through all weathers each time we have stayed at the campsite. 

Today marked the end of the 2018 Shetland Wool Week workshops for me and I already had a list of ones I am hoping to sign up for in 2019. 

1.  Carol Christiansen has been interviewed discussing  Taatit Rugs for a Fruity Knitting Podcast - number 66
2. I have written about Taatit rugs on posts of 2Jan2018 and 23July2018
3. Kathy Coull has a website at 
4. I smiled recently when I watched a tutor teaching fancy spinning. I asked about how the tutor ensured that the yarn was balanced, only to be told that fancy spinning yarns could not be balanced. It is things like this that make me smile with gratitude that I was taught to spin by Ruth. Another recent nonsense (imo) is the need to ‘thwack’ some yarn after spinning. It is possible to be taught to spin yarn without the need for this if you have a teacher who really understands how spinning works. 

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