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Archive for April 24th, 2004

A Kente Cloth Link

Saturday, April 24th, 2004

Someone on the Socknitters email list posted a link to a website about Kente Cloth today. It’s a new one for me. I have another link to a page about this incredible artform on my sidebar, but I just clicked it and it is not working. Drat!

(I guess it is long overdue to work on that sidebar. I’ve known that for a while, but it is such a hassle to do in Moveable Type, the program I use for my weblog, that I have put off that task too long. Sigh… one more assignment, I guess.)

If you have shockwave installed on your computer, you can even design your own virtual Kente Cloth at this site. I surf with a slow connection, so I didn’t play with that feature. However, it sounds fun.

I saw some authentic African Kente Cloth in February 2001, at a museum in New York City that highlighted African themes (I am going blank on the name of that museum, but if I remember right it was not far from Washington Square). What struck me about the fabric, was that it was woven in very thin strips and then sewn together into a larger whole. I had not figured that out from the trickle-down printed Kente-type-patterned fabrics I’d seen here in Michigan.

The real thing had such texture and depth, that I wanted to look at it for a long time. I would have loved to touch it as well, though I do understand why they would not permit that.

I tried weaving with a loom a few times and I just don’t enjoy it much. I had more fun with the tapestry/Navajo type weaving where I could sit on the floor, and push the yarn/wool/whatever through the warp with my fingers. I don’t like all that sitting on a wood bench and touching wood shuttles… I really prefer knitting while lounging on a couch or hammock, and feeling the wool flow through my fingers. I don’t like the feel of wood, and I did not like the sound of the loom rattling and clunking either, for some reason. I love the idea of Kente in strips, and it’s sort of sad that I did not like weaving enough to do something with that construction method.

Maybe sometime I’ll do something knitted into strips. I learned how to do that in my Anna Zilboorg class about a year ago. She had us actually connect the strips as we knit, so we would not have to sew at the end. It made some very handsome garments but it required a lot more purling than I enjoy, and a whole lot more thinking than I usually do when I knit stockinette tubes for socks.

Anyway… I really loved that site, maybe you will as well.