This week was the take-in of pieces for the Burlington Handweavers & Spinners Guild‘s bi-annual juried show, “Plumage.” I have submitted this original design beaded triangle shawl, knitted in my handspun 2-ply Muga silk. It is lightly beaded with Japanese Miyuki 8/0 seed beads.
Without a doubt this was my most challenging design work to date. After submitting on Wednesday afternoon, I realized that I really would be happy to publish this as a pattern. My charting and notes are long-hand at the moment but I sense that this piece is not finished stretching my abilities just yet. What grounds this idea is the fact that months ago I signed-up to take Kate Atherley’s class on pattern writing at the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic, which is tomorrow morning!
In holding back while I work through the impulse let me just share the first part of my write-up for the shawl’s submission:
The gold-brown natural Muga colour evokes the Golden Eagle. Muga silkworms are semi-domesticated in Assam, N.E. India. The spinning fibre is rarely available, and is prepared after the cocoons are reeled for weaving from the waste and breeder cocoons. The fibre is finer than Tussah silk, and I spun it for a balanced laceweight yarn with the organic texture. It is highly durable silk, spun to enhance its shine…
Learning more about Muga silk culture for this entry form writing exercise was so exciting. Several sites stated that woven Muga textiles increase in shine with each wash, and that the fibre is also traditionally used for embroidery. I also learned that Muga silk saris are handwoven in the home by women of all backgrounds, and are passed down as heirlooms in Assamese families. Guess who is totally intrigued?!
I also submitted my Tibetan Clouds handspun stole that was completed in the fall. The large (i.e. huge on me) size and Sivia Harding’s design for Tibetan Buddhist art elements both evoked the mythic bird, Garuda. He is the king of birds, and represents widsom and openness. See how it works in this context?
The show’s Juror may not get the demonstration but it’s lurking here in my blog out-takes!
This stole has a wider wingspan than I do. Like Garuda who can stretch his wings and soar into space.
This kind of enveloping warmth in 100% handspun yarn is reminiscent of a bird’s plumage. Granted, it may be hard to hang and display.
For a fairly quiet spinner like me the suspense between now and the Juror’s review on May 5th will be uhm, difficult. The push to complete the Muga silk shawl has left me in between projects, and with sore wrists.
In this state, yesterday I reached for a spindle that I have not yet shared with you. It is a vintage low-whorl carved wood spindle from the Andean highlands. It’s perfect for this rustic Alpaca roving that I had in my stash.
This was a Christmas present. It has taken me awhile to both respectfully clear the spindle of the handspun yarn that came with it, and get accustomed to spinning with a notched shaft.
The other exciting item that came with the spindle was this tool for backstrap weaving, a Ruki. It is the traditional llama bone beater of the weavers in the Andean highlands.
The spindle and ruki are both smoothed after years of use. It’s just the sort of thing you reach for when the tenterhooks they bite.