I hope you are all ready because we have not one, but TWO exciting announcements for you today. First, we are very happy to let you know we have a brand new, beautiful website. We’ve spent the last two months or so moving everything from the old Weaving Today to a new platform that will be easier to use and easier to search. Thanks to the magic of technology we’re still located atWeavingToday.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please take a look and let us know what you think! We’re very happy with how the new website looks and how much easier it is to find what you’re looking for.
Now that the new website is up and running, we can finally open up our 2016 weaving challenge: Handwoven Celebrations. We didn’t want to lose any entries when moving the website so we had to wait until we had our new website before launching the contest web page—thank you all for your patience on that front!
This year’s challenge is all about the cloth we use to commemorate all of life’s little celebrations including handwoven baby blankets to mark the birth of a new baby, wedding shawls, festive holiday runners, lacy napkins that are brought out during special dinners, and much, much more. We’re accepting all types of handwoven projects—just give us a reason as to why and how it fits the theme of Handwoven celebrations.
We’ll pick our favorites entries and publish them as project in the September/October issue of Handwoven. Not only that, but we have five sponsored categories with prizes from some your favorite yarn companies! Brown Sheep is sponsoring the prize for Best Gift Item, Halcyon Yarn is sponsoring Best Use of Color, Skacel is sponsoring Best Use of Natural Fibers, Jaggerspun is sponsoring Best Home Décor Item, and Mango Moon is sponsoring Best Use of Fashion yarns. What are fashion yarns? These are the yarns that we often think of as “knitting yarns”—yarns that sparkle or have interesting texture or variegated color. If you’ve been looking for a reason to try out some new and beautiful fashion yarns, give them a try and you might end up winning a prize! I also feel obligated to say that while these sponsored prizes are only open to weavers in the U.S.—don’t blame us, blame international contest laws—weavers from anywhere in the world can enter and have their projects chosen for the magazine.
Before you start designing, make sure you also check out the palette on the contest website. While you can use other colors not on the palette make sure to include at least one of the palette colors in your project. Make sure to download our project at a glance form from the contest web page and take notes while you weave so you can keep track of all the project information while it’s still fresh in your mind. (It’s amazing how fast you can forget details once a project is off the loom if you don’t write them down.)
Make sure to make a note of what draft you used if it’s one straight from a book such as Strickler or Davison write it down. We’ll need to know the book, author, draft name, and page number. If you used a draft from a website, let us know the web address where we can find the draft. If you “tweaked” somebody else’s draft or designed your own, create and save a wif file of the draft or grab some graph paper and draw it out. If you make it to the finals you’ll need to provide us not just with the draft, but also warp and weft color order if you have any color patterning in your piece. Fortunately this is all pretty easy to do—you can write out the color orders (“15 picks green, 15 picks white, repeat these two colors 12 more times”), you can draw one on paper, or you can make a chart on the computer.
Once your project is off the loom and finished, you’ll need to take photos of it for the contest. Try to photograph it in natural light, with a neutral background (I like to use pillow cases and bed sheets in a white or off-white), and try to photograph clothing on people or dress forms. Make sure to take a clear, close up of the cloth so we can see the patterning as well as at least one photograph of the project as a whole.
I’m so very excited about this year’s contest—I can’t wait to see what you all weave up for the contest! These weaving challenges are always an inspiration for me. If you need a bit of inspiration through the ages, consider doing like I do when designing and checking out some back issues of Handwoven. You never know when you’ll find a draft you absolutely must weave or a color scheme that takes your breath away.