Welcome back into my studio. I have been weaving, finishing, winding warps, and dressing looms. And spending time with friends. What better way to enjoy friends than to go on a floor-loom-weaving expedition together? Weaving Extravaganza at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas is the getaway. The looms are dressed and ready for us when we arrive. Abilities and experience are irrelevant. Anyone can do this!
From the projects available, I choose to weave a textured shawl. Keleen, a rigid heddle weaver (sitting at a floor loom this time), chooses to make fabric for an apron with a monksbelt border. Jan, who has never touched a loom until now, weaves natural-colored-cotton dish towels. Four hours pass in a flash, with weaving and camaraderie. We each complete our handwoven cloth. After returning home our fabrics are washed and finished, ready for use. My shimmering shawl is just right for a cool evening. Keleen’s fabric is soon to become an heirloom apron. And Jan’s first handwoven towels are drying dishes. Success!
Abilities and experience come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who wants to learn, can. Your heart goes in the direction you turn it. The Lord sees your heart. He’s not looking for ability or experience. He reaches the heart that is turned toward him. That’s where his grace comes to life.
Come, look over my shoulder as I weave a windmill and taildragger image on the drawloom. The central design is woven using 103 single-unitdraw cords. I have a simple motif for the borders that uses only three pattern shafts. In the video below, watch as the three draw handles for those pattern shafts appear and disappear throughout the weaving.
I recorded my weaving in time-lapse form so you can watch three hours of effort compressed into three-and-a-half minutes. In the video you will see my hand pulling the draw cords, and then touching all the pulled cords from right to left to double check my work. That double checking saved me from dreaded do-overs.
When our good friends, Jerry and Jan, saw my drawloom they brought this picture to my attention. — Forty years ago Jerry discovered the silhouetted windmill and airplane tucked away on a back page in an old issue of Flying magazine. Because of his affinity for airplanes and windmills he cut out the tiny picture and saved it. Years later, Jan found the picture and had it enlarged and framed. — After learning about my loom’s pictorial capability, Jerry and Jan wondered aloud if this special image could be woven on a drawloom…
Why sample? It means using morewarp and weft. And it means waiting longer to start to the “real” project. What do I gain from it, anyway? Is it a waste of resources and time?
I can’t imagine putting on a warp that didn’t have room up front for sampling. There’s more than one reason to put on sufficient warp to weave a sample. It makes perfect sense, especially if there is anything new or unfamiliar about your planned project.
Five Reasons to Add Extra Warp for Sampling
1 Space to play. I want plenty of room to play, and to practice techniques that are new to me. 2 Room to try out designs. By weaving a portion of my designs, I am able to determine what works, and what adjustments need to be made. 3 Warp for testing weft colors. Only when woven can I see the full effect of each potential weft color. 4 Time to gain a consistent beat. When I start the main project, I want to have woven enough to be able to “feel” how firmly or softly I need to move the beater. 5 The best reason of all! It’s always good to have enough warp on the loom that you can invite friends and family to enjoy some weaving time. …Before your main project is in progress.
Transition. Changes. Adventure into the unknown. That describes 2018 for Steve and me. When I review my weaving history for the year, everything on the loom is attached to a memory. Like an old song that awakens our thoughts to past experiences, the Lizardtapestry certainly sparks in me revived memories of our transition season and the moving of looms. See Quiet Friday: Tapestry in Transition.
I began 2018 with a plan to weave coordinated fabrics for our Texas hill country home—towels, upholstery for bar stools, and placemats, explained in this post: Harmonized Weaving for the New Year.Accomplished! I also committed to weaving a gift for each of my three daughters (daughter and two son’s wives), as described in this post: Weaving a Gift. Accomplished two out of three! The final gift is nearing halfway on the loom right now.
2019 is a continuation of transition, changes, and adventure, as we tiptoe into this retirement chapter. A drawloom is in the forecast, as well as some travel tapestry weaving, and more rag rugs, towels, scarves, and throws. And anything else we can think up. It’s going to be a good year! Thank you for coming along. I’m grateful to have you as a friend.
As Steve and I sign off little by little from activities and responsibilities here in Houston, the taste is bittersweet. Bitter, because moving away from time-tested friends is heart wrenching. Sweet, because an unknown exciting adventure awaits. Bitter, because unknown is uncomfortable. Sweet, because heart-connected friendships are treasures that distance can’t destroy. Bittersweet, but not bitter-ness, or sugary-sweet pretense. It’s life. Texas hill country living and Casita adventures are less than a month away! It’s all good.
May you have friends by your side when you face bittersweet seasons.