Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bands and Straps and Bracelets

yardage and matching trim
Often our ideas of weaving are dominated by textiles produced on harness looms.  Sometimes we overlook the value of techniques using simpler and much older technology.

Remember the head bands, guitar straps and colourful belts from the hippie days?  If that was before your time you may recall the friendship bracelet craze?  Many of these items were made on a simple inkle loom.  Weavers with long memories might still have one stashed away in a dark cupboard.  Don't throw it out just yet!

inkle loom with cards

In general, inkle woven bands are warp faced plain weave textiles that depend on the colour order in the warp to create pattern.  The resulting bands can be quite beautiful but complexity of the design is somewhat limited unless you use a pick up technique.  The introduction of cards (tablets) into the weaving process allows for individual groups of warp threads to be raised or lowered.  The design possibilities expand exponentially.

card woven bands

Card weaving is an ancient technique that has been around since the iron age.  The process of card weaving twists the yarns and produces a much strong textile than plain weave.  Perhaps it evolved in part because of its superior strength as well as its decorative value.

Card weaving consumes warp far more than plain weave so if you want to make yards of trim a normal inkle loom won't hold enough warp.  (Expect a "take up" of 30% or more.)  You could consider a purpose built loom for weaving bands or you could use the front and back beams of a table loom to hold the warp and replace the heddles with cards.
using a table loom
painted warp card woven
So what can you do with yards and yards of narrow woven bands?  One obvious use is as a strap for a bag.  Instead of the straps being an after thought you can design the finished piece so that the straps are a major design feature.  A custom trim can lift a simple fabric out of the ordinary.  You could give friendship bracelets an adult look.  Or you can sew bands together and use them as the fabric for a bag.  Imagine the possibilities!

designing with trim

Members of our guild have recently formed a card (tablet) weaving interest group.  If anyone is interested in learning more about card (tablet) weaving or would like to share their experiences with the technique then contact us at Qualicum Weavers and Spinners

beaded band bracelets

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Learning Opportunities


In December our attention is more on social activities than working in the studio.  The guild sale has come and gone.  Now the only urgency is to finish those Christmas presents before the 25th. 

cedar reindeer

As the year comes to an end it is also a time to think about the future.  Maybe you are working on your new year's resolutions already.  Improve your diet? (after the cookies are gone)  Exercise more? (when the weather improves)  Find a use for that odd coloured yarn?  Stop buying odd coloured yarn at the thrift shop? 

painted warp shawl
If your future interests include learning something new then you will be happy to know that our workshop committee has been busy lining up some interesting classes for 2019. 

Perhaps you saw something at the Elegant Threads sale and you are inspired to learn to weave.  Beginner weaving classes are being offered in January.  The instructor is a master weaver who started weaving when she was 12.  Linda Wilson developed the Level 3 Master Weaver program and teaches it through Olds College in Alberta.  Take this class and you will be well on your way to mastering weaving.

hand spun yarn

Maybe you are inspired to produce your own yarns for knitting or weaving.  We've got a class in January for that too.  Linda Raven is a retired educator and former owner of a spinning mill so fibres are in her blood.  She has extensive experience teaching beginner and intermediate spinning classes.  this course will give you a good grounding in the art of turning fibre into yarn.

Scarf from Woven Beauty

If you have ever thought of starting an on-line store or wondered how to display your work on-line then you might want to attend the lecture on Introduction to Selling on Etsy.  Lynnette Lynch of "Woven Beauty" will share her experiences on January 9th.  The photo above is an example of how to display your work in a clear and attractive manner.

 The line up for February includes:

             Basic Drafting on February 4th
             Learn About Your Wheel on February 12
             Knitting Colour Work on February 18.

If any of these topics interest you contact us at          

Check the side bar under Workshop Series 2019 to see what the latest offerings are.  We are planning for more including,  twill treadling, novice spinning, felting and silk fusion lanterns,

detail from 2018 nuno felting workshop

Our workshops are open to members and non-members alike.  So if you belong to one of the many related spinning/weaving guilds we'd love to have you join in one of our workshops.  It is a great way to make links within the broad arts community.  Similarly if you are interested and think you might like to try your hand at fibre arts this is a great way to meet people with similar interests.  

remains of the pot luck Dec 10th