Weaving In and Out of My Life, A Crafting Resume


Intro, Or How Did We Get So Far Off Topic?

I want to write for a textile magazine (Waves hi!). In the cover letter, I needed to explain my weaving experience, or lack thereof. I figured I would include links to a few blog posts that talked about weaving. And perhaps a story or two. And that’s getting to be a lot of content. And I know a place I could use a wodge of text. And here we are. The cover letter includes a link to this post, which I have to admit turned out far longer than it would have been in the cover letter.

Weaving & Me

I’m good at weaving. I’m good most handcrafts. Well. I’m not brilliant. I’m not artistic. I understand them and pick them up quickly. Had I been born in a time and place wherein boys went to the barn and girls stayed in the house, I would have spent my time immersed in fiber. And then traded the result with my neighbor who was much better at pies.

A while back, I took a class in finger weaving. Loved it. I quietly hummed along, checking out the examples to see what came next. The instructor would come over, see that I had gotten ahead of my skis, and get frustrated. Understandable, because if I got dazed, lost, and confused, she was the one who would have to sort me out. She would look at what I did, see that I had gotten it right, and go off to help others.

Lest you think I am bragging unnecessarily, I am fully willing to admit where I flail. [The Music, and The Mirror, and The Chance To Dance, One Out Of Three Ain’t Bad]

My first weaving experience was in a home ec class in high school. The assignment was for six feet of cloth. I used all the yarn and came out with five feet of fabric. This would be the beginning of a lifetime of smooshing fibers together as hard as possible.

“I do best when the technique emphasizes one set of threads over the other. Twining is weft-facing. Inkle and tablet weaving are warp facing. In other words, you only see that set of threads. In other words, tightness is a virtue.”

[Introducting Shawlene, Handmade, Wearable Art]

My most recent bout of weaving interest led to my local fiber guild and one-on-one classes with a local weaver. This was in the before times. The weaver helped me buy an inkle loom. Whereupon, I madly wove half a dozen bands, designed several dozen more on my computer, and then halted harder than a reining horse on a power slide.

That particular weaving phase also accumulated a twining loom, two Kumihimo discs, a Scandinavian weaving kit, a tablet-weaving workshop, and enough time with a backstrap loom to realize that I don’t fold that way any more.

If none of those weaving words mean anything to you, think lots of little looms. Some, such as the foam Kumihimo discs, are cheap versions of more elaborate looms. Others, such as the wooden inkle, are fully-developed looms in their own right, used for small projects, such as belts, bands, and straps.

When I took an intro weaving class on the rigid heddle, I discover that a) I do not like rigid heddles and b) I want a tapestry loom. I saw a small upright tapestry loom on a shelf and instantly thought, ‘I must have one.’

I think tapestry would suit me. It is weft-facing, in other words, you make the pattern with the across threads. Tight is good. It tends to be plain weave using blocks of color. It is plot-driven rather than literary style. It is photo journalism rather than fine art photography. I assume you see the trend here.

I haven’t bought a tapestry loom, not even a small, starter one. I already have 5 – maybe 6? – looms that I don’t use. Do I really need to get another one that I won’t use?

I keep meaning to get back to all of this. I have the time. I don’t have the mental space. The little looms do not require large blocks of reserved time. They would be perfect for a few minutes amusement in the evening.

It doesn’t happen. Maybe if riding was less frustrating, I wouldn’t be as mentally drained come evening. [Shoulder Time and Time Off]

But I digress. This post is about weaving. I like it. I don’t seem to get to it. Riding comes first. Are we surprised?

Weaving & Weaving Adjacent Posts

[Blog Logo, Digital Weaving] tomorrow
[Introducting Shawlene, Handmade, Wearable Art] 2021, a weaving purchase
[The New Normal, Fiction Fragment] that year
[Numbers and Weaving, A Short Anecdote] ditto, workshop, top photo
[Blogiversary, Quilty Logo] 2019
[Gotta Start Somewhere, New York City 2018] 2019, weaving as a tourist, bottom photo
[Foto Friday: Weaving With Light] 2016
[Text Art: Fun with Gimp] 2016, #6

If the textile writing gig doesn’t work out, at least I got a blog post out of it.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

4 thoughts on “Weaving In and Out of My Life, A Crafting Resume

  1. My first weavings were on an inkle loom (boring) and a small table loom (an incomplete mess). That was as a child. In college I went to the Factory of Visual Art and wove samples and then a weft-face carpet—still with us and I am still proud of it. Then I took a two-course series at the University of Washington where I learned a great deal about fibers, looms, and balanced weaves. I created an entire notebook of samples in ill-chosen colors and wove a shawl of alpaca. (I should have unwoven the first inches of that twill project because it was not balanced at all, but I soldiered on to find balance.) When I was given the loom I now use, I intended to weave twill, but put on a sample warp in the same spirit of my university sampler only in better colors. And then, because I had an excess of Canadian sock wool (three dozen socks were enough), I broke a rule and put on a warp of knitting yarn, which I had been taught was unsuitable for weaving. It was a great pleasure to weave and I found perfect balance but the result was like cardboard when I took it from the loom. And then I knotted the fringes anyway and tossed in a cold-water delicate cycle, hung it overnight to dry and perfection! Drapey, soft, light, haloed. Who knew? I experiment with other yarns, but come back to Koigu and the occasional handspun every time.

    Thank you, dear Katherine. And I know you will find your balance. It finds us.

    1. Meditation. Maybe for larger looms (Jan?). Small looms change action too often to get into a medatitive rhythm, I would think. Either way, I am still learning, so it is still an intellectual exercise.

      Nice roster of classes! Alas, the horse/balance ratio has receded over the horizon long ago.

      Weaving is big in beadland.

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