There’s nothing like looking at gorgeous textiles to inspire a weaver’s creativity, particularly textiles from across time and oceans! Here’s Christina to share some of her most inspiring textile finds of the summer, as well as a few weaving projects that are bursting with the bright colors of the season. ~Andrea
I’ve always loved Indian textiles. I realize that, to somebody with a great knowledge of the country of India and its textilian history, that sounds a bit silly—similar to if you told somebody with family in China that you love Chinese food. There are so many regions and variations with their own unique styles. I do know this, and the truth is I deeply appreciate them all. I love the deep indigos dyed cottons, the brightly colored silk sarees, the fine embroidery, and the elaborate block prints—I love all of it. I’m lucky enough to own two beautiful, fair-trade block print cloths that were stamped with handcarved blocks and natural dyes made by the Khantri family in the Gujurat region. I love these special cloths and treasure them accordingly. When I’m not wearing them, they are stored carefully so the natural dyes don’t fade.
Sometimes it seems a shame to keep these beautiful textiles in the dark, even if it is for their own good. Fortunately I recently made a wonderful discovery. Down in the little Spanish Colonial town just a few miles away is a shop that sells the usual New Mexican items: Dia de los Muertos decorations and ornate picado (paper flags). If you travel to the back rooms, however, there are large boxes filled with textiles of all sorts, including beautiful sarongs, scarves, shawls, and even sarees. The owner, as I found out, buys them by the pound from India.
The pieces are beautiful, but they’re all used pieces of cloth, sometimes stained, that were discarded and sold for scrap. Fortunately, one woman’s trash is another’s treasure, and I have spent many happy afternoons sorting through the bins to see what sorts of beautiful cloth are hidden in the depths.
Looking at these gorgeous fabrics, it’s hard not to be inspired by them. My favorite piece at the moment is a sarong with a bold, dark magenta accented with beige, off-white, and olive green. Ok, now some of you might be balking at the whole olive green thing. It is a color that can be divisive, but in the context of the sarong is works perfectly. The deep pink is made even deeper by the olive, which isn’t as harsh as it can sometimes be. I have olive yarn in my stash, but I never would have thought to pair it with such a pink before falling in love with this piece of cloth. Who knew that olive could look so summery?
I also have a guazy veil in a deep violet and turquoise, trimmed with gold and plum. The whole thing reminds me of a summer night, dark and lovely with sparkle. I’ve always been a fan of purple and turquoise together, and the way they melt into each other in this cloth makes me want to try to design weaving projects in those hues, but with slow color changes to give it an ombre effect.
I’m not the only one to find summery inspiration for weaving projects in cloths from across the sea. Sarah H. Jackson designed her gorgeous Shades of India Kitchen Towels (available in the new Summer Weaving Pattern Pack) based on the vibrant, saturated colors of a scarf woven in India. The towels are absolutely gorgeous—a great example of taking what you love from one piece of cloth and paying homage to it in another.
This weekend I’m planning another trip to the shop, to see what new and exciting wonders I’ll find in the bin that I can use to decorate my home. And in a couple weeks I’ll be making a pilgrimage to Santa Fe for the International Folk Art Market where I’ll hopefully be able to not only buy some more handcrafts and fair-trade textiles, but I also meet the artisans who make them. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
P.S. Buy the pattern for Sarah’s gorgeous Shades of India Towels and four other bright and beautiful weaving projects in the new Summer Weaving Pattern Pack.