This past weekend was all about weaving. friendship. food. and relaxing. But mostly weaving.
This fine friend came a long way to share the joys and frustrations of weaving with me. She learned weaving through an apprenticeship with a weaver in Vermont. I learned in a two day long crash course in North Carolina and have since learned much more through courses at SCAD and 7 years of tinkering. One thing we’re both sure of is that we have much more to learn. Weaving has enticed us with a lifetime of opportunities and challenges.
Last year I spent an awful lot of time researching methods of dressing the loom (the process of putting the warp onto the loom in preparation to weave). The method I was using was impractical for longer warps (like 18 yards of tea towels!). I still use my old method for shorter warps (roughly 5 yards and under), but since I was starting to weave for profit I needed a way to expedite the process. The method I fell in love with uses something called a warping trapeze or warping valet. You can view a really fuzzy but helpful demonstration here.
During my month of extensive googling I was introduced to the differences between types of looms. I have only ever worked on and owned jack looms. My friend learned on counterbalance/countermarche looms and recently purchased (but has never used) a jack loom. I think we were both caught off guard by the differences between these types of looms and the processes used to dress and weave with them. Which meant that she was now the proud owner of something she didn’t fully understand. I’m really thankful that we live close enough to each other that she could pack up her compact portable 24″ Macomber loom and head to Huntsville! Weaving is much easier to learn in community, by example, than from a book or internet chat board.
We both encountered a number of set backs. By the end of 2.5 days of working (and eating indulgently) she still left for home without getting to the point of weaving. When you’re learning a new skill you have to expect that things will not go according to schedule. I like to call them happy accidents because you learn so much more from the process of problem-solving than from smooth-sailing. Regardless of our set backs (and maybe because of them) I’m confident that she left town with the skills she will need to begin many, many years of weaving with her trusty jack loom.