My good friend and former fellow middle school art teacher, Peter has been after me for years to weave something for him. Now that I'm retired, I finally had the time! He sent me the measurements from a short kimono jacket (haori) that he has had for years and I designed the haori. I had some wonderful 100% wool from the Canadian woolen mill, Condon (which burned down several years ago) in my stash and because Peter is such an earthy person, I decided to create the jacket in earth tones.
on the loom
My goal was three fold: 1. to create a warm jacket, 2. to explore the possibilities with weave structures on my 8 shaft loom 3. to create an interesting design. The weave structure in wool created a very warm fabric after fulling. I was able to create a unique draft using a demonstration model of FiberWorks Bronze translated for my Mac with the CrossOver program (thanks to Syne Mitchell of WeaveZIne for the suggestion!) The design is a basic kimono design with a sampling of twill variations weave structures reflected in the 32 inch wide warp.
I reinforced the edges before I cut with a multi-stitched zigzag.
I covered the raw edges with a single crochet stitch. Sleeves & bottom edge.
My biggest challenge was coming up with a front band that was not too thick. I wove enough to create three 5 inch strips, but I worried about the thickness... so I purchased some medium weight twill fabric the same color as the band and lined the front bands which created a comfortable texture on the neck.
I wanted some way to close the front and remembered the braided himo which closed the vintage haori's I purchased in Japan. I looked on YouTube and found a video which explained the technique for kumihimo (Japanese braiding.)
I cut a 4" circle out of cardboard and cut 12 notches in sets of 3s across from each other.
I then cut a hole in the middle about 1" in diameter.
I labeled 6 of the notches ABC and DEF on the other side.
I cut 8 pieces of wool yarn about 20" long - 4 dark brown, 2 medium gray and 2 white and tied them together with an overhand knot. I made a 2nd overhand knot about 1/2 away from the 1st -- then stuck the fringe end through the hole.
I put one dark brown yarn in each left hand notch and the gray yarns to the right across from each other and the white to the right in the center notch.
To braid you take the right hand yarn in B and cross over the hole to F -- then move A to C. Next take the yarn in D and move it over the hole to B. Then turn the circle loom to the LEFT and repeat... then LEFT and repeat ... the LEFT and repeat around and around. If you have to stop - make a loop tie in the one where you will start again.
Eventually you get into a rhythm and it goes pretty quickly. I created a 12 inch braid in about an hour.
I made loops on both sides of the front band about 16in from the center back and reinforced them with half hitches around and then put the one knot through the loop and fed the rest of the cord through. (Easier to show than to write! Sorry)
I'm taking the jacket to Peter this weekend and can't wait to see how it fits! I'll take pictures!
it is simple, earthy, warm, comfortable, melancholy...
it embraces slight imperfection, as in nature...
it epitomizes the japanese aesthetic...
"Wabi sabi is not a style defined by superficial appearance. It is an aesthetic ideal, a quiet and sensitive state of mind, attainable by learning to see the invisible, paring away what is unnecessary, and knowing where to stop." by Tim Wong, Ph.D. & Akiko Hirano, Ph.D.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to spend 3 glorious weeks in Japan as a guest of the Japanese government with 199 other American teachers as recipients of the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholarship. This is when I first discovered WABI SABI, as I wanted to try to understand the Japanese idea of beauty. I bought all the books I could find on the subject and tried to get a sense of this philosphy. I still am on this quest for understanding... my search for wabi sabi.