This exercise required research into different traditional techniques for making yarns and linear textile forms. I chose to focus on techniques that I wasn’t previously familiar with (or expert in!), especially plaiting, braiding, and knotting. I made a good number of samples, which are in my sketchbook with annotations:
I did not feel that I became expert in any of these techniques, though I enjoyed experimenting with them and exploring some of the possibilities. I chose to use just two colours of the same yarn for all the samples, so that the focus was on the technique rather than the materials.
When it came to creating samples based on the El Greco painting and the yarn wraps I’d previously made of it, I identified the characteristics I wanted to translate: shadows and highlights, deep, rich colours, and a sheen to the surface. I decided that highly textured yarns would give the shadows and I highlights I wanted, and I selected materials with the colours and sheen I wanted.
Some of my first attempts were not successful because the materials did not have the same qualities once they were manipulated in the yarn design. Others had a poor choice of materials or combination of materials. And one was unsuccessful simply because of my poor execution of the technique.
From this first set of samples, only the crocheted yarn on the left was fully successful. I decided to focus more on the materials and keep the techniques simpler for the final yarns.
Both these yarns use simple knotting techniques. These give the highly textured form I wanted, and in particular the yarn on the left with the corded strands has deep shadows and the gleaming surface which refer to the original source image.