Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just weaving

When someone asks me what I do, I say I am a hand weaver. I have been reflecting on this for awhile and have decided I cannot say this anymore unless I actually weave.  I own a weaving shop, I teach hand-weaving, I buy and sell weaving equipment, both new and used, but I never have the time to do any weaving. So, I have started weaving again. Yeah! I am a hand weaver.

I learned to weave 35/40 years ago, the 70's. Everyone wove in olive green and orange wool. It was horrible, the colors were horrible, the wool was horrible, the finished product was horrible, we worn it anyway. Slowly I found sources for fine silks and cottons and my weaving life was changed forever, no more wool for me!  Jump forward 40 years and my first project in becoming a hand weaver again is WOOL. Not the thick, scratchy, ugly wool of the 70's but a fine beautiful silk and superfine merino blend. RedFish DyeWorks needed a sample of this yarn so I was going to throw a warp on and zip it off in no time flat, right.
Color choosing was easy. When weaving a sample, I always go to my favorite colors - turquoises and reds. In this case 4 shades of turquoise and a coral. All 50/50 silk/superfine merino 2 ply hand-dyed by my other company RedFish DyeWorks.

I wanted this to be quick, a scarf and some sample squares so I measured a mixed color warp, went through the reed, through the heddles (point twill) on 4 harnesses. Wound on, gently, don't want to stretch the wool. This is moving right along.

I wove several inches with the #4 turquoise, the darkest, and didn't like it so I took it out and tried the #1. Didn't like it either, took it out, tried the #2, liked it only I had a problem. Things I didn't remember about weaving wool, thick or thin; you cannot tension it like silk. The warp was too tight, weaving then unweaving twice, then weaving again, sawed my warp at the heddles. Many broken threads and the rest were very, very thin. So much for quick. I managed to get the warp advanced and retied. I am weaving again, the tension is like a hammock, I'm weaving 8 shots, then advancing. Very slow going, but I'm going. Even though I haven't woven much in the last ten years, in my mind I'm still a weaver. I just need some practice.

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