Friday, March 23, 2012

Meet Lynn from Loom on the Lake

Annie's Note: The following article was written by a fellow EtsyWeavers Team member, Lynn of Loom on the Lake. I was so intrigued by her statement that her inspirations come from her beautiful natural surroundings in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York AND her love of music.
She weaves on a twelve shaft Glimakra countermarch loom and her patterns are so intricate and interesting to me. I really enjoy looking at the photos in her Etsy shop.

Lynn at her loom.

I play the recorder (soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and great bass) with an ensemble of talented musicians, both amateur and professional. In our concerts, we have performed music ranging from some written in medieval times through baroque and classical music to contemporary music composed the year we played it.
Although most of my scarves are inspired by nature, music plays a large part in some of my weaving. The sheer act of treadling and throwing a shuttle is made easier for me because of my musical training. Playing music and weaving reinforce each other in unexpected ways. Sometimes, when practicing a technical musical passage, it helps to play the notes backwards. That’s sort of like reading a draft from right to left instead of left to right (or vice versa). When I play music, I am aware of patterns and wonder how I can incorporate them in my weaving. Here are two examples.

Winter: Icy Wind 

One of my favorite scarves is Winter: Icy Wind. It depicts a phrase from the first movement of Winter from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” The phrase is about the icy wind. There are sonnets, likely written by Vivaldi, which accompany the music of the “Four Seasons,” so you can tell what each musical phrase is about. In the music, you can hear the sharpness of the wind. Looking at my scarf, you can sense it in a different way. I selected colors from a winter sunrise, magenta and pinks and blues for the bamboo warp. The warp also has a lot of silver-gray in it. The weft is a very pale blue. When the pale blue crosses the silver-gray, it creates an icy color with depth to it.
I practiced Vivalidi’s particularly difficult musical passage many times on my alto recorder, so I decided to weave it! I took some of the notes from the passage, assigned treadles to them, and treadled the passage repeatedly. It took a lot of experimentation to decide which portion of the musical phrase would look good visually and exactly how to assign the treadles to the notes. In music, for example, an octave has special characteristics. However, what happens visually when you treadle, say, the first treadle and then the eighth on the loom (in analogy to an octave) doesn’t necessarily have any particular meaning.
That scarf took months to design. After weaving it, I did lots and lots of analysis to see why I liked the result so well, so that I could take the concepts and apply them to something else
This very special design has a lot of interest, both close up and when seen from afar.

Sonata in Aqua 

Telemann’s Sonata Methodiche (1728/1732) is a series of twelve sonatas. The introductory slow movement of each sonata is written twice, once in its basic form, and once with embellishments written in. The sonatas “methodically” work through a variety of styles of music. For both reasons, these are wonderfully instructive pieces, as well as being wonderfully melodic.
The Presto movement of Sonata 4 caught my eye. Could I use it in my weaving? I could see short repeated phrases, moved up a musical third for the repeat. There were runs up and down, perhaps to be threaded in a point twill. And there were ascending sections which looked like advancing point twills. Turning the music into a woven item was far more challenging (and time consuming!) than I had anticipated.
I wanted to put the music into the threading on the loom, somehow. Weaving has many constraints. My loom has twelve shafts and treadles (too few!). There were far more notes than that in the music. What should I do? Also, I didn’t want the floats (threads that a thread passes over before being interlaced) in a scarf to be too long. They might get snagged. Eventually, I started with a few motifs from the Telemann sonata, modified them considerably, and added in other motifs of my own. The threading, the treadling, and the tie-up in this scarf are all rather complex. Anybody familiar with the sonata would be challenged to find it hiding within the scarf.
I wove Sonata in Aqua using a silver-gray bamboo warp and an aqua cotton weft. I reversed the design halfway through and wove a border at each end. The resulting scarf is, I think, particularly sophisticated and elegant with a fascinating design.
To see more of Lynn's artistically designed and skillfully created handwoven scarves
you can visit her website at or her Etsy shop at  She has created a really nice educational section on the website which shows her weaving process.       Thanks, Lynn!

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