Sunday, April 4, 2010

Highland Games and the Bluebonnet Tartan

I'm finishing the Bluebonnet tartan shawl I started to weave for the 2010 Highland Games. This has been an interesting journey for me. I decided last year that I wanted to weave a sash or shawl in the Bluebonnet tartan, and that I wanted to try weaving it in bamboo. Bamboo is kind of the new "wonder fiber." I have sheets and towels of it for both home and the boat, and it's been available for spinners and weavers for a while now. It's an interesting fiber - behaving much like silk in some ways.  Last year, I wove a shadow weave shawl from Bamboo 7 (15 EPI) which is gorgeous.  Okay, I haven't finished the fringe yet, but it IS a gorgeous shawl.  Last year, I wove a Hume tartan scarf in Scottish wool for the 2009 Highland Games. It turned out beautifully, but kind of scratchy and very warm for this climate.  I decided to go for Bamboo 12 (30 EPI) to see how it would work.  The short version is that the shawl worked beautifully, but what a journey!

Saturday at the Games was busy.  We had more people come by the booth that one day than came the entire weekend in 2009.  At least it felt that way. One of the questions I was commonly asked was where to buy Bluebonnet tartan items. It's a beautiful tartan and many people wanted to buy it. Handwoven items are too expensive for most people to buy and I only weave for love. So on Sunday morning, I went to ask one of the vendors at the Games if he sold the Bluebonnet tartan. Wrong! In my memory, I see this image of a man getting crazier by the moment, threatening me with all sorts of dire consequences simply because I was weaving a tartan. Yes, I researched the tartan before I warped the loom.  No, I could find nothing that indicated that I couldn't weave the tartan, especially for demonstration purposes. I should have been calm, but his craziness caused me to be unsettled for the rest of the day.  Hmm.... That's giving him too much power over me.

In spite of the insanity, the day progressed well enough. I had tension problems the entire weekend. The left side of the weaving was slacker than the rest of it, for no reason that I could see. When I started, the tension was very even. When I removed the shawl from the loom later, I discovered that I had not triple-knotted the warp onto the front lease stick on the left side - exactly the threads that slackened. Note to self: bamboo is slippery and has to be triple-knotted at least! However, the finished product didn't look bad, so I think I dodged the bullet on this one.

After the games and as a result of the "crazy man" I started on a quest to learn as much as I could about the Bluebonnet tartan. It's been an interesting journey of its own and I met some wonderful people along the way. I also have a new destination - the Tartan Museum in North Carolina. Who knows where my weaving journey will take me!

More later!  It's time to get going with Easter dinner.

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