Sunday, August 30, 2009

Guest Post - Katie

My name is Katie Rivas and I met Laura Fry in January '09 while taking a class she did for my weaving guild in Southern California. I liked Laura off the bat and even though the class was round-robin, I spent way more time asking Laura about a million questions I had stored up regarding weaving.

You see, I live in Lancaster, California which is about an hour northeast of L.A. in the high desert. It's a great area to live in but is isolated when it comes to things like weaving (and shopping and finding good gelati - you get the idea).

I learned to weave while living in the Washington DC area, and then moved back home and was like, "Hey - I'm a weaving lone wolf out here!" There aren't any teachers for about an hour radius from me. So I joined the guild and took Laura's class - and by then my list of questions had grown to several pages!

So meeting Laura was GREAT for me! We also talked about her health issues, my mom's health issues, and other stuff.

So when Laura invited me to come to Canada to visit her and weave, I jumped at the chance. I had been emailing her and had told her my long sob story about my love/hate relationship with rayon chenille. Very long story but basically I felt rayon chenille to be the Darth Vader of the yarn world!!

No matter what techniques I tried to get a consistent, even warp on - I could never accomplish this. One side of the warp would always loosen (or both sides), and my back would hurt just trying to get the thing on the loom. It usually took me about 7-9 hours to do one scarf. So when Laura asked me what I wanted to focus on in my 3 days weaving in her studio, I told her - "Learning your technique for getting a good rayon chenille warp on the loom!!" Talk about a no-brainer for me!

I also wanted to learn more about how to do things faster, since I have very limited time in the week to weave. And I wanted to learn about how to do things in an ergonomically correct way, so I'm not tweaking my back out more.

Well - Laura is AWESOME - is all I have to say!!! She taught me how to warp from Back to Front - which I actually had never done. A little hard to get, since am not used to it - but after weaving 5 rayon chenille scarves in a 2 day period (can you believe that?!) - I truly believe B2F is much better with this particular fiber.

Laura's CDWeaver has all of her B2F steps in it if you have that. I can't express what a BREEZE it is warping in this way! We're talking about 1-2 hours to thread the loom and warp on, compared to about 4 hours before. And the warp goes on like a dream - is evenly tensioned and very effortless to weave on.

Laura wanted her rayon chenille stash used up some - twist my arm - so I did 3 different scarf designs. After the last one was done today I was pretty wiped out - am not as tough as Laura - you should feel how strong her forearms are!

Doug and Laura have been WONDERFUL hosts to me the past few days. They are the most generous people with their time, and I got a good look around Prince George - very green with TALL trees. If you're ever here, Connaught Restaurant serves the best salisbury steak dinner I've ever had. Wish I could stay longer, but leave tomorrow for 105 degree heat.

I did purchase a Laura Fry Weaving Studio t-shirt that I've already worn. When someone asked me who I was going to visit in Canada, I said, "You know Yoda from Star Wars? Well, this is the Yoda of the Weaving World" - and she really is :)


barbara said...

Katie, what a wonderful quote: "You know Yoda from Star Wars? Well, Laura is the Yoda of the Weaving World". That is so very true! Your experience with Laura sounds wonderful and thanks for sharing. Good luck with the rayon chenille when you get home. Weaverly yours ... Barbara

Delighted Hands said...

Thanks, Katie, for sharing your adventure!

Karen said...

Katie: What a terrific article.... great chance to work with Laura.... now you'll have to come back to us in SCHG and tell more.....Karen

Dorothy said...

Hi Katie, it's great to read of your time with Laura. I'm jealous - if only there wasn't the Atlantic ocean in the way, I'd be signing up for lessons next week!