Whether you are eager to leap into loom action or still recovering from the holidays, the new year is a great time to give yourself a creative boost. However long you have been weaving and whatever it is that you like to weave, you can always set yourself new challenges.
Here are five simple strategies for stretching those creative weaving muscles in 2015.
1. Stay away from the shops.
You’ve spent enough money on the holidays, so give yourself a rest! Challenge yourself to weave something from your stash before you buy any more yarn. Go a step further and make 2015 the year in which you incorporate at least some yarn from your stash into every project you make.
The creative benefit: As well as testing your ingenuity, this is a great way to increase your skills in adapting drafts and projects to suit different fibers and weights of yarn.
2. Swap with a friend.
Have you got some yarn that you really don’t know what to do with? Pair up with a friend and exchange your difficulties! Set a deadline and agree to weave something to give back to the owner by that date.
The creative benefit: Sometimes you can get stuck when you have been looking at the same thing for a long time. Your friend brings a fresh mind to bear on your troublesome yarn, just as you bring a new perspective to hers.
3. Find your inspiration in strange places.
A beautiful pastoral landscape, a glorious sunset over the ocean – these are things which are guaranteed to inspire. To give your creativity a shake-up, look elsewhere. Visit an industrial estate, take a drive down the motorway, rummage in the cupboard under the stairs.
Take your time contemplating something that isn’t usually considered beautiful and note what you see. What colors can you see in the road surface, for example: is it really a solid gray or black? Why does that rusty old car look so striking in front of that weather-beaten garage?
A shopping cart is not a lovely object, but when they are all massed together they yield interesting patterns which could be the basis of a weave design.
The creative benefit: Weave design blends pattern, color and texture, so training yourself to observe these things in the world around you will give you more resources to draw on.
4. Choose the colors you hate.
Are you drawn to earthy natural colors? Or do you favor bright jewel tones? Try to weave something that is quite the opposite of your natural taste. Use soft, chalky pastels instead of your favorite saturated palette. Rather than rich, warm colors, go for black and white.
The creative benefit: It can be a real challenge to work with something you dislike, but it is a tremendous tool for developing your creativity because you are pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Try not to judge the results too soon: finish the piece before you evaluate it.
I hate beige and peach! This towel was woven in colors I wouldn’t normally choose to work with, but I found the result very pleasing.
5. Change one thing
Make a rule for yourself that with every weave project you undertake this year you will change one thing. The thing you change could be something to do with the design or it could be a technique.
Do you always weave wool scarves? Try weaving a scarf in Tencel or silk instead.
Found a draft you like for a table runner? Try adding a border or a hand-stitched hem.
How do you attach your warp to the front apron rod? Try using a different method this time.
The creative benefit: By making a single change each time, you will gradually extend your skills and experience without getting out of your depth. Of course, if you prefer to get out of your depth, the “change everything” approach may appeal more!