Friday, February 26, 2016

Belt and Suspenders

A lot on my mind, so warp winding, leaving some ready for me to slam onto the loom when I get home seemed like a good idea.

Seems like there is a surge in people interested in weaving happening all over the country, which is great.  It also means a flood of people trying to learn a craft that is subtle and nuanced, usually re-inventing the wheel.  They are either far away from personal assistance or on a very limited budget, not wanting to buy books or DVDs or travel to take classes.

Inevitably they run into problems and wind up with disasters, disappointed in their results, not understanding that weaving takes a certain level of knowledge and skill, which doesn't come on the first or even 31st stab at it.

They wind up being afraid, tense, wary.  They tend to use what I call a belt and suspenders approach to the craft, often doing things more slowly than necessary, partly because they just haven't given themselves enough time to practice the physical skills or have enough knowledge to know when extra time needs to be taken in order to get good results.  

So often warp winding becomes a problem because they hold the thread with a death grip.   If they wind more than an inch worth of warp the first threads are longer than the last because the extreme tension they are using causes the pegs to bend.  Or they can't get the warp chain off the board it is so tightly wound.  

They use massive numbers of ties along the length of the chain and tie the cross round the waist as well as the arms.  

All of those ties take time, both to tie...and untie.  Frequently I see ties made from one strand of very thin thread, tied loosely.  To me this is not helpful, especially if the ties are the same colour as the warp.  A loose tie really doesn't do much except prevent the chain from spreading.  

A new weaver must first of all learn the vocabulary and physical skills including how to most effectively handle their tools.  The definition of 'effective' will vary with each person, so learning a variety of approaches is imho necessary.  The more the weaver knows, the better able they are to choose appropriately.  And to know when belt and suspenders are necessary.  And when they are not.


Vicki Hughes said...

A most timely message for me. While spinning yarn is fairly easy to pick up and then find the nuances, weaving seems less forgiving. Warping an new kind of fibre (new to me) requires more attention to the details than a fibre you are used to using. But being gentle on yourself will go a long to make weaving more enjoyable. But at the same time, learn as much as you can from mentors, videos and books. This is a skill that requires concentration as well as paying attention to detail. Thanks for being someone that teaches and encourages weavers.

DonnaC said...

I think you might have psychic vision into my basement! Just last night I warped my loom with the threads under the back beam instead of over. Fortunately, I have a clever and helpful husband. My Wolf loom has a removable back beam so he unscrewed it, and reattached it, all the while with me wringing my hands and telling him it would never work. I guess weaving takes some thinking outside the box along with following rules.

Weaving Cowboy said...

I have gotten my first weaving student in the past few weeks. You have me thinking...

Like one of my horse riding instructors said: Riding is a journey and not a mini-sprint. It takes time to learn and even more time to develop the nuances to become a good rider.

Weaving is a journey too and not a sprint. In our must-have-it-now-instant-iphone-help-me-Siri world it is hard for us to take the TIME necessary to learn to weave and even harder for us to accept the fact that we aren't going to "get it" instantly.

Alicja said...

That's true Laura. Thank you for all your blog posts which I always enjoy to read and learn from. Hope to meet you one day in person.