I started my “weave of the week” feature last year because I was amazed at how much one of my doublewoven scarf designs looked like some of the work in the “Color Card” exhibition that I had just seen at the Museum of Modern Art.
Then my recent discovery of Alighiero Boetti’s delightful woven word squares inspired me to yank a pillow (shown above — one I designed years ago) off a kitchen chair to be this week’s featured weave, because I have been thinking and writing about colored squares, and this is another way to weave them.
The pillow design was one of a series of color studies, and when I did them, I carefully wrote down the yarn information, though now — several decades later — it doesn’t matter at all what specific yarns I used. Unfortunately, the weave draft itself has disappeared, so lesson one is: Don’t make half-assed notes, and if you do remember to make fully-assed notes, file them (and the samples) carefully.
If this weave structure has a name, I don’t know what it is, so I’ll call it “binder weave” because it alternates two fine binder (tie-down) ends and picks with one end and pick of a much heavier yarn. Both yarns in my fabric were wool: 4800 ypp for the binders and 1600 ypp for the pattern. Below are closeups of both sides of the weave, from a commercial swatch.
By the early 1980s, I had been weaving my own fabric experiments long enough to have made a haphazard collection of pillows in a hodgepodge of colors, yarns, and weaves that interested me. So after reading an article about Bill Goldsmith’s high-end interior design LCS Gallery in Manhattan, I decided to try to sell my work there and made an appointment to see him.
One glance at the interior of the LCS Gallery told me that I had made a big mistake: Every piece of merchandise — and the showroom décor as well — was in some calm neutral color and/or natural material. I’m still embarrassed to remember how I felt unpacking my work — NOT neutral; NOT “natural ” — which now felt garish and out of place. Mr. Goldsmith was icy and unimpressed, but he taught me lesson two: Do your homework on prospective clients first, so you don’t waste a buyer’s time, or your own, by showing something that’s alien to that buyer’s/store’s/gallery’s aesthetic.
Fortunately, lesson three is that not all buyers are snobs, or narrow in their taste range; some of them — even busy major store buyers — will look at beginners’ work. Henri Bendel’s “open-see” days were legendary, and their gracious accessories buyer, Claire Nicholson, gave me my first order — one piece each of six mohair and lurex scarves (swatch of one colorway below).
The wound healed, and I sold off most of my pillow samples, but I never called Bill Goldsmith again. In fact, it was at least ten years before I dipped a toe back into the interior design market — but that time I made sure to do my homework first.