Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Jack of All Crafts and Master of None Tries Weaving, Part 1

this was titled "Lowell Mill Girls" on the Emory University site.
Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a girl went to college. In this land, the field of Home Economics was not frowned upon as sexist and worthless, so this girl learned many intriguing skills with fibers. She learned to tat, she learned to knit fancy patterns, she learned clever tricks for the sewing of clothes. But her favorite, the one that stayed in her mind for years, was that of Weaving.

The loom was large, and the girl was fascinated. "Ah, if only I may be so fortunate as to put my bustle on and use a loom again in the future after I leave this place," she dreamed.

In later years the girl tried a small tabletop loom, but it was too small. She tried a rug loom, but alas it was too large and bulky. Then she received the Schacht Spindle Company's tapestry loom from her husband for Christmas and, you guessed it--it was *Just Right.*

Here's my Schacht Tapestry Loom hanging out in the guest/fiber-craft room. It's about two feet wide, but the size is no problem since we also bought the A-Frame stand for the loom. It adjusts to whatever angle is comfortable for use. And it's pretty all on its own and smells good, of freshly finished wood. So far, I love this company! I emailed them with a question and ended up having a lovely, helpful exchange with Denise.

One of my favorite things about any craft is reading up on it. I bought a book called Tapestry Weaving by Kirsten Glasbrook that got the best reviews on Amazon, and a dvd called Tapestry Weaving 1 by Nancy Harvey that's like a little class where the teacher takes you through three different projects to teach you different techniques.

Tapestry Weaving, the Schacht Tapestry Loom instructions, & Tapestry Weaving dvd.
My other favorite thing is gathering the bits and pieces needed to do the craft, in this case the fibers. I did my shopping in the guest/fiber-craft room stash. There is, let's just say, an "adequate" amount to shop in.

going with a green, blue & purple vibe for the first project.
In all fairness, when the loom first came I used some string to try warping it (those are the long threads that go top to bottom.) It's tricky till you get the hang of it--and in all fairness, I never really got the hang of it on that try.

So I followed the instructions to made the reusable heddles--those are the strings that lift every other warp yarn to make a basic over-under weave. The instructions showed a simple way to get them all the right size.
Using the heddle bar support to make reusable heddles. Then they all match! Imagine that.

This is the cool bunch of matching little tied strings I ended up with. Yes, I made them in bunches of 15 because I knew I would never keep track of the total otherwise.

And now to warp the loom. It does this cool "Magic Eye" thing while you're trying to do this, one of those, "is this in front or behind? Can I squint just right and make it into a picture?" This just adds to the thrill of the chase.

Okay! I'm finally starting to get the hang of it--4 inches into it. I still have another 11 inches to go.

Time for a nap. I'll keep you posted.

Skimmer's recap: julie likes crafts and things with yarn, and loves cool tools, but rarely wears her bustle anymore.

Basic article on weaving terms:

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