Birch Trees

We popped by the mill on Friday to chat about something new that we are working on, and took the opportunity to take some quick pictures of our Birch Trees design on the loom!  It is hard to describe how exciting it is to see our designs in the process of being woven- it somehow makes the whole thing seem far more real,  even more than actually using our own wraps. We never get tired of going there and there is always something new to learn.

 Anyhow, the weft on the loom was the pearly blue grey cotton that we have also used for the 100% cotton Seafoam. We  had a few birch trees prototypes woven on the last run to see how the idea translated from a sketch to the cloth and to see how it looked wrapped. This is a photo of the prototype on my washing line.

birch trees prototype


After trying it out and getting some trusted opinions, we made some minor changes to it for this weave run and we’re really happy with how it is looking. We have fined down the foreground trees and made the leaf canopy more cohesive. There is always a little leap of faith moving from  relatively small scale sketches to the larger and more fluid surface of the cloth and that unknown element adds a bit of thrill (but its always a relief to see something working how we hoped it would)! The final test will be seeing it wrapped. On these photos you can mostly see the ‘wrong’ side with the weft face- there is a small amount of the warp faced cloth showing at the  bottom of the second loom picture.

birch trees on the loom

Our designs start life as either little drawings on scraps of paper, or excited  conversations as we build and blend our descriptions into a shared mental image. The Birch Trees design was one of the latter- it was such a clear concept for both of us that we didn’t commit it to paper and our first real drafts were digital. We used a graphics tablet to draw directly into the computer, enabling us to retain the natural fluidity and rhythm of a hand drawn image. Even the patterns are hand drawn; we use our rudimentary knowledge of dobby pattern design to  zoom in and create  the patterns pixel by pixel. We can then use the patterns we build to ‘paint’ with on our digital canvas.

birch loom2

As well as this cotton weft, there will also be a burnt orange linen weft that should give those wraps a warm, autumnal look, contrasted with the crisp, wintery look of the blue grey cotton weft wraps. The colour of the yarn on the cone is always a bit misleading as it can look quite different when combined with the warp. The two play off each other and it is always interesting to see what each pairing will createorange yarn

It’ll be a few weeks before these are off the loom and ready to be cut, but once they are we’ll take some flat shots to give you a good look at the pattern and the final colour effects.

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