Saturday, November 5, 2011

Learning to Weave

Over the past two Saturdays I have taken a rigid heddle weaving class at The Weaving Shed in Sterling, MA.  I had been thinking about weaving for quite some time and had even tried a bit if weaving this summer on my very small lap loom with help from my fellow FiberKnot, Loomatic Weaver.  The class I took consisted of two 4 hour sessions with a small group of others.  We used Schact Cricket Looms which are are great starter loom and only run about $150 each.  You could make scarves, place mats, mug rugs, and thin table runners on this type of loom.  I highly recommend taking this class.  It was a lot of fun, you make between 2-3 projects and the instructor Jen was wonderful!.  If you are interested in taking a class on weaving and are local to Sterling, MA you can check out her Rigid Heddle Weaving class listing.

The first thing she had us do was pick the color we wanted to warp our looms with.  Once I picked my usual purpley blue-green I pulled the warp (vertical strands or yarn) through the heddle.  She said that is best to use cotton as the fiber for the warp as it can handle all the rough treatment from having to beat (press) the weft (horizontal strands) with the heddle to make the weaving even. 

Then I held the end of the warp as Jen wound it onto the warp beam of the loom.  This is the only part that requires another person to help you out, otherwise, weaving seems to be a a one-person craft. 

After the warp was wound on, I cut and tied the warp onto the apron rod with surgeons knots.  By the way, surgeon knots are officially the best knot ever!  They loosen and tighten up very easily so that you can adjust the tension of your warp on the apron rod very easily.

Then I wove a header with waste yarn until the warp came together.  Finally I was ready to start my sampler project!

Wow!  Weaving is really fast!   A girl could get used to this kind of speed...

I couldn't believe just how much I accomplished in 3 short hours. Now I have a nice little woven piece that I can use as a display in my crafty space.  I'm pretty happy how it came out for a first project.

After finishing up my first project I had just enough time to warp my loom for a scarf to work on until next week.  Originally my class was supposed to be in one weekend, but because it was apparently Snowtober and we were supposed to get a fairly big snow storm starting that evening, I decided to come back today instead. Because of this, I had the benefit of being able to take my loom home and work on my scarf for a whole week rather than only having 1 night to play.  

That scarf took WAY less time than I had planned.  I finished it up in a little over one day of weaving at home.  It's came out absolutely amazing and I LOVE it sooo much!  I can't wait to wash and wear it tomorrow :D   Isn't it gorgeous?  Everyone thought it looked like the ocean.

Since I finished up my scarf during the week I basically had one class where I could pretty much start a brand new project and work the whole time.  Last week after looking at what I had made, hubbie had remarked that he liked the look of woven fabric much more than knitted, so I decided to start a scarf for him out of the leftover alpaca yarn from the hat I made for his last birthday.  

Now weaving is much faster than knitting or crocheting, but not so fast that I could make an entire scarf in 4 hours (much as I might have wanted to).  To deal with that fact, I elected to rent my loom for another week to finish up hubbie's birthday scarf and hopefully make another project for me before I have to bring my little cricket back home.  Needless to say, after two weekends of weaving classes and a lovely week of weaving at home... I am officially hooked.  I know this is a huge shock to you all.  Kindly don't hurt yourselves if you fall of your chair with this realization.  

So, more weaving pics to come shortly!  With that being said, back to more DS9 episodes and some more quality time with hubbie and his scarf.  G'night!


Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

What a fun thing to do! Great for table runners!

jjphotoFTW said...

Yeah, it was a blast! I'm hoping to do some table runners, placemats and maybe small rugs once I get my own loom :)