Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tea Towels

One of the most satisfying moments when weaving is watching the first few inches of cloth appear before you as you sit at the loom throwing the shuttle back and forth.  You can visualize the pattern as you make the warp and dress the loom but there is a sense of anticipation as the pattern starts to form pick by pick. Sometimes the result is a surprise.  The colours may not be exactly what you expected or the texture may add something special that you didn't foresee.  Sometimes you just want to sing out loud when everything falls in to place and you know you have created something beautiful.
Weavers have to do a lot of physical and mental work to get that moment of satisfaction.  Designing a piece, making the warp and dressing the loom can take more effort and time than the actual weaving. It can be very frustrating if you are a novice and lack experience with setting up a loom.  That is where group projects can help.

Our guild is fortunate to have a permanent studio that houses our guild looms.  Earlier this year we decided to do a series of tea towel projects on the guild looms.  The projects were intended to give some newer weavers experience with treadle looms and weaving simple patterns.  For novice weavers this project was also an opportunity to work on even beating and control of edges.

More experienced members in the group created the warps, dressed the loom and acted as mentors.  That meant the weavers could concentrated on the actual weaving.  Having a mentor on hand to deal with loom issues or help people get started was very important to the success of the projects.
The cost of the warp was shared.  Each person was responsible for their own weft.  The results could be quite different depending on how the individual saw the project.  The white striped towel was done on the same warp as the green towel in the first photo.

 The tea towel projects were very popular with the group.  One person commented that her technique improved after doing the project.  It was rewarding to see people gain confidence and be inspired to do more on their own.

A group of tea towel enthusiasts brought their works to our pot luck lunch but we did not make them dry the dishes this time.