Thursday, September 10, 2015


Now that the towels are woven and, even as we 'speak' being pressed, it is back to the place mats.

So many people lament that before they can do the 'fun' stuff they have to do the 'awful' stuff.  Stuff like winding a warp.  Dressing the loom.

What they really need is some help.  Help in figuring out why they dislike those bits of the craft so much.  Why the essential prep work required to do the 'fun' stuff has become such a roadblock to their enjoyment of the craft.  Why they struggle so with the part of the process that must be done in order to wind up with cloth.

All of the steps are essential.  Weaving is a multi-faceted craft with many different steps that bring the weaver closer and closer to their goal of a woven structure.

Now, some people find parts of the process difficult because they may have some sort of impediment - physical or mental - but most of us?  Most of us just need to change our attitude, change our process, change our equipment.  Above all, we need to stop doing the same thing we have always been doing and expecting different results!

Now that I have woven for decades, refining my tools, techniques and processes, I pretty much get the results I expect most of the time.  Therefore there is no need for me to change anything.  And yet I do.  Whenever I see a process or tool that I believe will assist me, I will adapt what I am doing, or buy the new tool, even if it means saving up the money to make the purchase.

Warps get wound, beamed, threaded, sleyed and tied on with a minimum of fuss and tangles.

I am practiced.  I am, dare I say it, skilled.  But those skills did not come easily, nor quickly.  There were many potholes and bumps along the way.  There were plenty of errors of judgement, short cuts that turned into disasters, projects that - quite simply - failed.

In the end, if you want woven cloth, you need to, somehow or another, get a warp on the loom.  No warp, no weaving, no cloth.  Simple as that.

Find yourself an 'expert'.  Learn all they can teach you.  Decide for yourself if those lessons are appropriate to the way you want to work.  Change those things that need to be tweaked.  Analyze what you are doing, how you are doing it and the tools you are using.  Change what needs to be changed.  Seek out other 'experts'.  Learn all they have to teach you.  Repeat  And repeat again until you learn enough to become your own expert.

Different looms, different types of cloth, different materials may all require approaching them somewhat differently.  Assemble the books (or whatever resources you are using), tools, materials that support you in what you want to accomplish.

But sometimes the biggest change required?  Attitude.  Sometimes that is the most necessary step of all.


Leola's Studio said...


Rachelle said...

I need to build a trapeze for my loom to make it easier to warp by myself, I know that'll help. First however I need to get my brushed mohair warp set up, 2/3 of the way through winding it, but I keep catching seasonal bugs which put it back further each time.

Anonymous said...

These are such sensible points--we need to think of every step as "weaving," not just the actual throwing of the shuttle. I've only been weaving a year but I can already see my feelings changing, as I get more experience with he different processes.

Laura said...

I have a slightly different problem: You said "No warp, no weaving, no cloth", and I confess I get stuck at the "no weaving" part. Once the warp is on, and some sampling done, I tend to lose interest. If it's plain weave and I can get a nice rhythm going I might get it done, but if it's fussy (or on a table loom), maybe not, lately. I can blame some of this on life changes due to long-distance elder care these last several years (a job that will grow, not shrink, for the foreseeable future). But most of it seems to be something restless in my nature. I always want to be moving on to the next thing. I get really excited about designing a new project, winding a new warp, threading, and sampling.

With my limited time these days, I find it often stalls until a workshop warp needs to be put on a loom, and there are no looms clear. Then I weave like mad, or give in to the scissor treatment if the warp wasn't pleasing. Looms not suitable for workshops are forlorn!

I know you like audio books for keeping your interest up and keeping yourself at the loom. Any other tips?


Laura Fry said...

I know a lot of people who are the same. The challenge is in the designing, the weaving just becomes tedious.

All I can say is if you don't want to do the shuttle throwing part, you have to either get someone else to do it for you, or get comfortable with doing it yourself. Or just weave samples. Focus on the learning, the exploring, and don't worry about 'product'. There really isn't any need for anyone to hand weave their own cloth - if that doesn't interest you then keep your warps narrow and can do a lot within the format of a mug rug! :)