The arrival of crisp autumn air, glowing leaves, and all things pumpkin spice can only mean one thing: it’s October!  October, when the glorious peak of fall ushers in a creepy and timeworn tradition loved by all (or at least, loved by most): Halloween.  The Bates Mill Store masterminds couldn’t help but come up with their own little spooktacular special release to celebrate the season!  Welcome to the making of the Haunted Harvest.

It began way back in the spring; back when the world was waking up from hibernation, rather than getting ready for bed.  Designing a pattern to be woven takes time, even with contemporary technologies to hasten the creation process.  Even though Halloween was months away, it was the perfect time to begin.  Our designer started off sketching ideas for subject matter, and creating possible repeats.  

Process Sketches

The creative process is rarely a straight shot.  Lots of ideas went through the mill (figuratively and literally!) before we knew what we wanted to do.  Blending inspirations from the Monmouth Community Garden squash/pumpkin plants and the large, botanical patterns of the 60’s/70’s, our designer came up with a final drawing.  

“Garden Parfait” Bates Bedspread, Mid 1960’s

"Haunted Harvest" Drawing

Once the drawing was complete, it had to be transferred to the computer and put into “loom language.”  Using programs specially correlated with our looms, our designer painstakingly recrafted the design to be woven.  Pictured below is a screenshot of the pattern during this process.  The vivid colors, although pretty, do not show up in the finished fabric.  Within the program, each color is assigned a number.  Colors, and their corresponding numbers, are used to indicate which weaves occur where, and to separate elements within the pattern.

Test weaves came next!  This is an important and exciting step in creating a design.  Woven fabric is checked and double checked for any errors that could be present within the file.  At this time, the test is also reviewed to see if any major design changes need to be made.

"Haunted Harvest" Weaving

Because there are so many variables present, systematic procedures can only go so far in telling how a given design will end up weaving.  Seeing a design woven “in the thread” is the only way to really know.  Doing tests and evaluating the results of those tests is essential to finalizing a quality, beautiful design.  The Haunted Harvest is no exception!



October 13, 2015 — Adrienne Beacham

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