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Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Two: Design Notes

I am sure that everyone who is participating in the Soumak Pouch Weave Along wants to create a finished piece that is completely unique.
So, that’s why I am sharing a few design notes.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

In Part One of the Weave Along LINK   I posted my design for the Soumak Pouch.
How did I come up with this design, and how can you make it be a reflection of your personality?
I started the design process by thinking of the rug that was in my grandmother’s dining room when I was a little girl:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I spent many a happy hour on that carpet, when I was a child, playing with my cousins.
The flowers became a deeply ingrained part of my ‘pattern language’.
So, when I was designing the pouch, it was natural to look at the flowers in the carpet and see if there was a starting point there.
Indeed there was, and I sketched and played with variations on carpet flowers:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I  traced out lots of copies of the prototype pattern.
I find that tracing the pattern by hand is better for me than scanning and printing the pattern.
When my hand and eyes are quietly engaged in tracing the design, then connections are made that are really helpful in making creative leaps.
I choose aquarelles (watercolor pencils) that matched my weft colors.
Then, I colored lots and lots of variations on the theme, playing with combinations of colors and trying to push myself to use the weft colors in ways that I might not have considered.
I also would make little sidebar colorways when I was uncertain about a specific motif in the pattern.
And, then, when I was happy, I started weaving.
As I wove the prototype pouches, I discovered a few things:  OOPS! The weaving contracts when it’s released from the loom, so it NEEDS a header and footer beyond the pattern!
Also, I felt that making the pattern more geometrical would make it more weaver-friendly, so I re-designed the pattern to make it conform more closely to the warp strands:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I felt constrained to stick to using only the colors of yarn that were in the various kits and packages supplied by the yarn companies.
I didn’t mix and match, BUT… you can feel totally free to use yarn from your stash to personalize your pouch.
The only exception to the ‘no stash’ rule that I was following was that, for the black and white checkered pouch, I did pull white wool from my stash (well, my daughter in law’s stash to be perfectly honest… bless her for her donation to the cause <3 and :D )

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

In this photo, you’ll see that I traced the pattern onto graph paper (4 squares to the inch or 2.5 cm).
(The photo of the pouch at the beginning of this post was woven with the Mirrix Soumak Pouch Kit yarns and this colorway.)
Graph paper is the top of the list of my favorite design tools…. it’s a weaver’s very good friend indeed!
Playing with graph paper allows you to try out all manner of interesting things.
So, in a nutshell, what are the key points of designing a unique project?
1-  Look for a starting point in something that you love or are inspired by.
2-  Be willing to make mistakes and to start over
3-  Trace, don’t print the extra copies of the design.
4-  Use colors in ways that you might not usually consider when you are experimenting with your coloring pages.
BUT… if you have signature colors, then, of course, feel free to use them.
5-  Make multiple color combination sidebars if you are uncertain about a part of the design.
6-  Use graph paper to work out colorways and patterns.
7- The ways that you choose to embellish your pouch will make your pouch TOTALLY unique, as the finishing and embellishment techniques are incredibly expressive :)

Here’s the Design Notes Video:

 Happy weaving! :o ) Noreen

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