Weaving has become an obsession with me. I warped my loom in Rowe last week. I was proud to say after 430 ends only one was threaded wrong and I was able to fix it with a string heddle. I love having an instructor who knows the craft so well she can teach you the tricks that get you out of a jam.
I wound an extra long warp so I could weave three of these throws in succession with different colors. This is the traditional blue and white. The next will be with a variegated green/brown combination and the last will be anyone’s guess. Christmas is coming. I figure I can have these off of the loom by Halloween and move on to other gifts.
Although I weave during the week at the studio in Brimfield we are weaving cotton. Cotton is what I started with when I began learning to weave, it gives a beautiful definition to the structure. For that reason I like weaving with it, especially when I am doing something new. My last project for the class this past spring was the red and white wool throw and it was revelation.
I love the feel of wool. I love the way it feels going through my hands. Winding the warp seemed effortless, it had a calming effect. That’s really the reason I love having something in wool always going somewhere. It’s not just the counting and meditative repetition of the act of weaving, it is also the feel. This throw is warped in Jaggerspun Maineline 2/8 yarn, it is soft and wonderful to work with. The weft on this section is Bartlettyarn Maine Wool which is a beautiful worsted weight yarn.
The other aspect of weaving with wool is the smell – I’m thinking it’s only fiber people that will understand that statement. It smells like it came from an animal, it’s wonderful. Don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t smell while you’re weaving but you can take a hank of wool and breathe it in, ahhhh. It’s in the finishing that some of these remaining oils are washed out and that’s what makes the fiber “bloom”. There are so many times when I look at the weaving on the loom and think it doesn’t look as good as it should. Once it is washed and dried a miracle happens and it often looks better than anticipated.
That’s the thing I’ve found with weaving – every aspect of it is equally important to the finished project. People tell me they love to weave but hate to warp. To me that is the most important part, otherwise nothing else works. It is time consuming, yes, but I take it as a challenge. I try to beam my warp so the tension is even, thread my heddles so there are no mistakes, slay the reed without skipping a space all the first time. It becomes tedious when I don’t pay attention and have to take it all out and start over. Throwing the shuttle is the easy part most of the time. Finishing can be tedious as well but when you do it it’s magic. What looked just okay on the loom becomes a masterpiece once it is washed. All aspects of the process come together.