For the last 2 months, I have been taking a weaving class put on by a fellow Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild member. I have woven before on my Kessinich Jack loom - but only plain weave. My other handwoven scarves I have done on my rigid heddle loom, but I wanted to learn more in depth about drafts, warping a loom, and designing projects. Our instructor is an amazing weaver and she has woven some wonderful pieces. I was excited for the experience.
There were 8 of us in the class and we met at our instructors home for the first 4 classes. When you walk into her living room, she has a beautiful loom set up and we all gravitated towards it. She had her loom warped and was midway through a shawl. Our first class was an intro - parts of the loom, terms etc.
Our second class was about yarn and how to design a project. We were shown how to pair yarns to achieve the result we were looking for and which yarns make good warps etc. We were also asked what kind of project we wanted to to. I had no idea. At this point I was thinking tea towels.
Our instructor showed us how she organizes her stash by colour. This is the easiest way for her to plan a project. She also lumps fibre types together, but keeps in mind the materials when choosing the right fibres for her design.
The most in depth class was on colour. We did this on a weekend so we had decent light. I found this class very hard. There is a lot involved with colour and I felt overwhelmed. We learned about a ruby beholder which helps you pick out colour values. We were able to look through inspiration pictures, magazines, stashes of embroidery thread and books on colour to seek out what we were looking for.
She showed us how she wraps yarn or embroidery thread around a card to help visualize her project. I found this picture because I liked the colours. This was WAY too many colour choices and our instructor helped me narrow things down a bit. When I was picking these threads and wrapping them, I was feeling a bit defeated. I still had no concrete idea what I was going to make - at this point I was thinking a scarf maybe, hand towels?
Next was our lesson on drafting. I enjoyed this night. I think it's really cool how a draft is made and how there is so much info in one little table. It was fun because it felt like we were solving a puzzle. I was thinking about using a herringbone twill pattern - maybe I should weave a shawl!
So many projects were swirling around in my mind. I knew for sure I wanted to include handspun. I spun this Corriedale into yarn and went through my stash to find something suitable for weft.
My bud Marjorie came over and she helped me make my warp. I miscalculated somewhere because I was only half down my warp when I ran out of yarn. I then found this purpleish, blue wool in my stash that went pretty good so by letting the yarn speak for itself, this project was going to be a scarf. A very long scarf with 4 yards of warp haha.
I chose some grey alpaca as my weft to soften up the scarf a bit.
I borrowed a table loom from the guild library and we set up to wind our warps on Saturday. It took all day, but I got my loom warped and threaded to weave a herringbone scarf the next day.
And then, I changed my mind again. Maybe the grey wasn't the best choice... it would dull the nice colours in my warp. When I went home that day I checked my stash again to see what would be more suitable.
After weaving a small bit, and trying out the yellow and grey, it was obvious, which route would show the pattern best. I went with the golden yellow.
Things were going too well. My threading was perfect, not a mistake in the pattern. I was weaving along loving every minute of it until I realized that the reed on the beater was shearing my handspun :( We were shown how to fix a broken thread and on I continued. Until it happened again. My beautiful scarf was destined to become a mouse pad.
I didn't want to keep going on, replacing threads every few inches so, I cut off my warp. I have the rest of it saved for a different loom - one with a bigger dent. It was still pretty devastating though, after all the work of making the yarn, winding the warp, threading the heddles, sleying the reed and tying everything up.
I am not a technical person when it comes to anything. I would rather just jump right in a create. This class was good for me because I learned the ins and outs of weaving, stuff I knew little about and now know more. I was happy to learn different ways of doing things like warping and how every problem has a solution. I enjoyed seeing what other people dreamt up for projects and their colour choices. It was a great experience and I am grateful to our instructor who took on 8 beginner weavers and had us working together making cloth. I will try again, and use the time honored skills I have learned to create something beautiful.