Welcome to my first monthly Ask Me Anything!
I thought this would be a good way to share a little bit of what goes into running a solo weaving studio from the North East of Scotland. You can ask me anything from the world of textiles, from questions about colour and inspiration to the slightly less fun but just as important business side too! You can submit questions for next month's blog on the first of each month through my Instagram Stories or by posting in the comments below.
Will you be releasing a book or tutorials on your weaving?
There are no current plans for a physical book but I have been working on a digital book which will have a mix of short video tutorials, photos and weaving tips! I always found it tricky to follow technical written instructions in weaving books when I first started out so thought that having a more interactive style of book which had videos to go with the writing would be a useful tool to have. It's still in the early stages at the moment but I'm hoping to have it finished and available at some point next year so if there is anything in particular you'd like to see included, let me know in the comments!
Can you tell more about starting up a project? Yarn, colour or pattern?
It really depends on the project, if it's a commission, the client often has a very specific colour palette and style in mind and I'm able to decide on the most appropriate yarn for the project. If it's a new collection for the studio, I usually design the pattern first in neutral shades to make sure all the technical aspects of the design work, then I'll pick a yarn type depending on what the end use of the collection is. The colours quite often come last as it depends on the shades that are available in each yarn type.
What design tips do you have!?
I think it's always easier (and much more interesting) to design pieces that you like. I tend to use a similar colour pallet and style in most of my pieces on purpose, it helps my work to be recognisable and it's easier to be motivated and engaged if I enjoy creating it.
Keeping good notes is a really obvious tip but it's also something that I tend to forget about! It's easy to get caught up in a design and have all the details worked out in your head but when you come to use the design again a year later you can't remember how you did it. I have a notebook with all of the technical details for everything I've ever made, the drawings and notes can sometimes be tricky to understand but it's better than having no reference at all!
How do you pick your colour palettes?
Picking the yarn colours is my favourite stage of designing! I take a lot of photos on dog walks or trips and try to base my woven collections on specific places or themes.
I have quite a lot of yarn in stock at the studio so once I've decided on a theme for a collection I pull all of the related yarn shades out and have a great time sitting on the floor deciding which ones go with which.
I usually use around six colour shades in a warp, five shades which are similar (usually a gradient of one colour) and one colour which stands out a little more.