In taking a break from the dobby loom to weave scarves for Flow's holiday inventory, I am once again reminded of the profound importance of the lowly tabby or plain weave. You know, under, over, under, over, like that very first potholder you ever wove:
What fine creations have been born on the potholder loom;)
My scarves didn't come out quite as colorful as this but the warp yarns, all silk, were a multicolored panoply of skeins dyed in the Natural Dye Demo that a few of us from Flow did back in October in honor of American Craft Week (see Oct.'s post). The first scarf off of this three-scarf-long warp was woven in an M's and O's nubbly kind of pattern, which allowed a shimmery tussah silk weft to float along the surface. I then tried that pattern with a skinnier raw silk but it came out a little thin in places without the benefit of the beefiness of the tussah. So I decided to see how a plain weave would look with the thinner green silk weft and no surprise, it is possibly the nicest of them all.
Revisiting plain weave after a year of complex weaving is like getting new tires on your car. It reminds you how important the basics are and it recharges the battery for inspiration and just the basic love for the task at hand. Isn't it a miracle that under over under over is all it takes to make yarn hold together and become a textile? Simplicity so belies its own definition. Done well it is far from simple or easy. It is, simply put, sublime.