Studio Stories: North Coast

About Studio Stories

Studio Stories is an occasional series of posts which looks at the inspiration and processes behind some of the projects I have completed over the years. As well as the article published here, there is exclusive content, including downloadable wif files, shared with my newsletter subscribers.

My favourite direction

One of the advantages of an island nation is that you’re never very far from the coast. If we were travelling this year – and we’re not – then we would very likely be heading in our favourite direction, up towards the north coast of Scotland.

It’s not the best known part of our mainland coastline, and it’s not the most accessible either, but those are two very good reasons why we like it so much. After a trip to the North, I always return to the studio refreshed and refilled with inspiration and energy.

In this post I am sharing a design which was inspired by an old cobbled slipway. The rounded stones and the colours of rock and lichen found their expression in a very simple structure: turned Ms and Os.

Turned Ms and Os can be woven on four shafts, but if you have more than four then it is worth adding a plain weave selvedge (threaded on shafts 5 and 6 and weighted separately). Otherwise a selvedge block threaded on shafts 1 and 4 will do the trick, in combination with a floating selvedge.

What I’m sharing here is a portion of a draft. I can’t share a complete draft, because no such thing exists. One of the staples of my practice is to set myself up with a threading and then play around with the treadling at the loom, improvising block and colour changes as I weave. The portion shown below illustrates the way you can highlight the structure with your colour choices.

Draft showing one block threaded on shafts 1 & 2, the other on shafts 3 & 4. A four treadle tie-up creates plain weave in one block and warp ribs in the other.
A pile of three blankets on a rock. Each blanket has a different coloured hand-stitched edge: orange, blue, green. The same colours can be seen in stripes within the weave.

I started my warp with shades of grey, brown and orange. As I went along, I grafted in other colours, exchanging the orange for blue and green to create a collection of blankets in different combinations.

First posted on © Cally Booker