Tuesday, July 18, 2023

First Threads

cloth bands from demo loom

Our small demo looms are very popular at public events.  They help us to explain  the process of making cloth and to answer questions about the pieces that we have on display.  They have visited care facilities, been to museums and fairs, taught weaving basics and entertained at children's events. 

Over the years we have acquired a collection of  woven bands that remind us of the fun we had sharing our craft with others.  The people responsible for creating these bands often have no idea how a loom works.  For most it is the first time they have thrown a shuttle across a warp and watched the threads intertwine row after row until a piece of cloth is formed.

The photos that follow are some of the "first threads" experience.

rags to knitting yarns

The participants range from the raging enthusiast to the perfectionist that worries about doing something wrong.  The former quickly gets into the rythmn of throwing the shuttle and beating the fell and weaves yards.  The latter is tentative to start and may experiment until the process "clicks".

raffia, glitz, cotton, slub

Some like to experiment with materials like rags, popsicle sticks, raffia, knitting yarns.  Others are attracted to textured yarns or exciting colours.


experiments with skips
Our bands were woven with no preconceived ideas about what is "right" or "wrong" and no experience so you can imagine we have some interesting results.  There are no "bad edges" but some interesting edge treatments.  There are no treadling errors but interesting experiments with plain weave skips.  

interesting edge treatment


design feature

 Variation in beat becomes bands of subtle weft colour stripes or open areas that create undulating waves that are semi-transparent.  

wave-like bands

peek-a-boo waves

experiments with thickness
Most of these examples are due to a lack of skill and experience.  A seasoned weaver would not be happy if they produced pieces like these.  But these are uninhibited pieces done with no expectations for perfection or knowledge of weaving "rules".  They spark some interesting design ideas.

Variations in beat or thickness can be used to deliberately create weft stripes, loops at the edges can create a frilly selvedge, skips can be placed at random to create dots of colour on a uniform surface, long weft skips can create texture and a dramatic statement on a uniform surface.  As the pull-in varies the shape of the piece changes.

Errors are still errors not design features but if you have mastered the fundamentals and are skilled at your craft you might take a lesson from these novices and consider breaking the rules for your next design.

Beginner Weaving Lessons  September 8,9,10.

If you have dabbled with weaving and would like to go further with a harness loom then you might want to take an in person course that covers the fundamentals.  Learning on your own can be a long and sometimes painful process.  The QWSG is offering 3 full days of  instruction on harness loom weaving.  Equipment and materials are provided.  For more information check the listing under WORKSHOPS

beginner mug rugs