Queensland weaver Kay Faulkner passed away unexpectedly on Friday 31 May 2019. I learned of her passing from a post made to her blog by her children and I am deeply saddened.
I am saddened that the weaving community has lost such a skilled and passionate member, saddened that her children have had to deal with the sudden loss of their beloved mother and saddened that I will never again have the opportunity to appreciate the community and learning opportunities that Kay offered via the classes she taught at her home studio.
I can’t speak of Kay’s full professional and artistic life as I met her first in 2017 when I was a participant in her linen and lace class. She taught that class from her home studio in Birkdale, Queensland but frequently also taught and presented at workshops and conferences locally and at international weaving events. She brought weaving into the public eye and will be remembered for promoting dying and weaving as a teacher and an artist.
In recent times, Kay wove the wool and silk cloth to be used on High Court judges’ robes. This work put her and the art and craft of weaving into the media spotlight in Australia in 2016. I had the opportunity to see and handle one of the samples of this cloth and the pictures can’t communicate how supple and light the cloth felt in my hands.
Kay is survived by her son Andrew and her daughter Helen. Her loss will be keenly felt by her immediate family, and also those to whom she was a loyal friend. The loss extends to the wider weaving community both in Australia and overseas.
A version of this obituary has been submitted to the editor of the Victorian Handweavers and Spinners Guild for possible inclusion in the July 2019 edition of their newsletter Treadles. At the time of this blog post the July Treadles had not been published.
This year I again took a week out to focus on a new structure under the expert tuition of Kay Faulkner. This time the structure was doubleweave, something I had long wanted to try, entranced as I was by the marvelous deflected doubleweave items I had seen online.
Accommodation in the Birkdale area is a mild problem in that almost all options require you to have a car to get to class. This year I shared accommodation with Barbara, a fellow linen and lace graduate who lives in Queensland. We were able to spend time discussing all elements of weaving, day and night and enjoyed sampling the many restaurants in the area, with Barbara very capably driving us everywhere we needed to go. I know she reads this blog so thanks Barb!
I enjoy the intensity of a week long class structure and the ability to move from loom to loom to try different applications. This time was easier for me as I had with some familiarity with both Kay’s looms and her teaching style. The winner project was window panes, which still seem like complete magic, even now I know how they come together.
The editor of the Victorian Handweavers and Spinners Guild newsletter declined my offer to write an article about my experience of the linen and lace class I attended at Kay’s studio last year, on the grounds that it might be seen as promoting a competitive source of weaving education. Dear readers, may I say that I thoroughly recommend that you attend one of Kay’s classes if you are able to get to Birkdale (in the Brisbane area) and can afford the time and the (very reasonable) class fees. I do not feel at all disloyal to the Guild in making this recommendation.
This gentleman’s robe is made in a robust flannel and is based on Butterick Classics pattern 6968.
I made a few modifications as the pattern I purchased from my local thrift store was a Medium and my beloved would typically wear a size L or XL, depending on cut. He also wanted a shogun-style robe which to him meant belt loops over the hips and no patch pockets. Patch pockets would be a risk – one bad interaction with a door handle and the patch pocket would be but a shadow of its former self.
- added belt loops. You don’t want your belt dropping in unguarded moments.
- the belt has an inner core of calico for strength and to increase longevity.
- pieced front band. The band is not matched. I don’t care and nor does my beloved. This was a design choice.
- no cuffs on the sleeves. Cuffs on a robe just get in the way, in my experience. Unless you have domestic servants. We don’t. We have to do our own dishes and then cuffs definitely get in the way.
- added 1 inch of width from shoulder to hem for increased coverage and comfort.
This year I joined the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria summer school workshop impressively titled Sheer Delight- Transparent Weave Inlay Techniques.
We warped our looms with a fine linen and learned how to use inlays in different colours and textures to make pictures or room dividers.
I’m generally more of a weaver of household items and I enjoyed being taken to a new place with my weaving. It’s probably not a technique I’ll use again soon but I’m happy to have a new technique in my repertoire.
Here’s a little throwback to the good old days of quality workmanship and pride in your product, in the form of cotton bias binding. I bought it at my local thrift store.
Bias binding is something I look out for in thrift stores as it’s generally a polyester cotton blend when I buy it new and that is not my preference. The older bindings also tend to be better more stable, either due to starch or simply a tighter weave.
Love these stripes
The binding is made by WM. E. Wright Co in Massachusetts. This company stood by their product.
This material is fast colour and perfect in workmanship. Should it be faulty in any way, making the article on which it is applied unusable, we will reimburse you for the reasonable cost of your labor and all materials used in making the article.
The slot on the right will fit a twill hand towel
All rolled up and ready to go to work
This was a quick upcycling project. I got a knife, fork and spoon from my local Salvos Store and made up a cutlery roll to leave in my desk drawer at work.
Cutlery roll 2.0 will include chopsticks.
What defines a novelty yarn? I’m going with:
new to me and having an interesting composition
Here is a photo of a scarf I recently completed using Bendigo 3 ply as warp at 8 dpi and Tirchonaill as weft. The Tirchonaill is pure wool and came in a 100g ball. To me, it meets the definition of being a novelty yarn, and a lovely one. Exactly half the ball of Tirchonaill got consumed for this project, meaning I will be able to make another scarf. I’m happy about that as I love the green colour.
I picked the Tirchonaill up at a guild member’s stash sale. I didn’t sample but I did have a plan in mind. I wove an open structure in plain weave, intending to have a soft drapey fabric at the end of the process. That worked. The selvages looked a bit loopy on the loom but came good after the finishing step.
The contrasting ends are Bendigo 3 ply, doubled. These were a bit of a concern at the hemming stage as this part of the weave didn’t pull together as much as the green during the wet-finishing stage. A bit of steam-pressing evened out the width sufficiently that I could hem the fabric without sacrificing the splash of colour contrast.