Monday, December 14, 2015

Time Off

Time away from the loom means muscle loses it's tone.  Therefore when coming back to the loom, muscles need to be exercised and built up.  After being away from weaving for nearly six weeks, it is taking me a while to get back into the swing of things.

It takes about 65 minutes to weave one shawl.  Normally I would just weave for 45 minutes and take a break, but decided that I would weave each shawl complete before stopping.  So, not only am I out of practice with muscles that need re-conditioning, I'm pushing myself further per session than usual.  Not a particularly good idea, so rather than three weaving sessions a day, I'm just doing two.  At least for now.

Weaving is full of repetitive motions.  Repetitive motions, taken to the extreme, can cause increased inflammation, then injury.  It is a very good idea to follow the guideline of "feeling the pain?  STOP!"  There is no such thing as "no pain, no gain" in weaving.

Many weavers are not in the flush of spring but well into the autumn of their lives.  They may already have sustained injuries to soft tissue (I have had two whiplash injuries, for example) and stressing those tissues to keep weaving after pain begins is a very bad idea.

Learning how to sit with good posture and position at the loom is the first step.  I am constantly explaining to people in workshops that they are sitting too low.  They don't understand why it is a problem until I explain how such a position is 'bad' for their bodies.  So indulge me while I step onto one of my soapboxes...

You must sit up on your sitz bones, not your tail bone.  This involves a pelvic tilt.,




Sit so that your hips are higher than your knees.  Sit on the edge of the bench so that just your buttocks are supported.  If you sit further back on the bench so that your legs are partially on the bench, the bench can cut off the circulation to your legs.  Plus you don't have the same leverage to treadle.  Sit high enough that your elbows clear the breast beam.

Depending on the loom you use, you may have to make some adjustments, but aim for the above.  And watch my You Tube video clips or get The Efficient Weaver for more tips on shuttle handling and treadling (on a front hinged type loom - a back hinged loom will require a different approach to treadling but the rest still applies.)

My heart aches for people who injure themselves weaving, just because they don't know how to sit properly, or are using methods that promote injury.

3 comments:

Rhonda from Baddeck said...

It wasn't until I took your "Efficient Weaver" class at John C. Campbell Folk School that I understood about leaning "into" the loom. Supporting myself with the breast beam really helped me weave faster and with less effort (and isn't possible unless I'm sitting up high). I can move my feet across the treadles more quickly, especially if I've tied them up so that I can "walk" the pattern. I learned SO MUCH in that class - thanks for those helpful insights!

Rebecca Hooper said...

I reflect on your advice in the Efficient Weaver every time I'm at the loom and start to feel uncomfortable. Your advice is priceless -thank you!

Rebecca Hooper said...

I reflect on your advice in the Efficient Weaver every time I'm at the loom and start to feel uncomfortable. Your advice is priceless -thank you!