Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weaving, I Haz It

Yup, I accidentally fell in love with weaving. My friend Aunt Janet has been proselytizing the joys of the Church of Weaving for as long as I've known her, & I'd avoided the cult despite being surrounded by amazing weavers of all kinds. My local fiber guild, the Humboldt Handweavers & Spinners, is rife with skilled weavers, and through the generosity of Morgaine Wilder of Carolina Homespun and her Golden Gate Fiber Institute, I've met many more. But until this spring I'd managed to avoid dating a new craft, but after attending Janet's rigid heddle demo at a Guild meeting, I am smitten.

I haz weavez!
Please don't notice the giant mess that is my living room workshop!

I was lucky enough to be sent home from that demonstration with a warped-and-ready loom on long-term loan, and I immediately set to putting what I learned that night to the test. I started by continuing in the plain weave Janet had started, doing that for a few inches until I got bored. Then I did a bit of Google-fu, searching for 'rigid heddle stitch patterns', which yielded a plethora of pretty patterns.

Leno weave closeup

I started with some 2x2 and 4x4 leno twists (above), and continued with 'Brook's Bouquet' lace from Ashford (below).

2nd pick of 'Brooks Bouquet' lace is prettier

Then a little over-under, pick-up-stick-formed shed pattern using a 2nd sword I made from a yardstick:

Close up of over-under pick up stick-formed shed pattern

Then I started getting adventurous: I added a row of curly Wensleydale and Mohair locks...

Added a row of mohair & wensleydale locks to the sampler

...and 3 rows of silk noil I dyed last year:

Three rows of silk noil added to the sampler

I finished up with a clasped weft section following the instructions of this YouTube video, (not a great choice of contrast weft, which is why it doesn't show up well in the photo), ending with plain weave until I ran out of warp.

Last section: Clasped Weft

After tying and cutting it off the loom, this is what I got:

Wrapped in my new woven sampler stole

Sampler the First

The loom came pre-warped with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in green, gold, and pink. I used more of that, plus some of Janet's super-bulky handspun art yarn for the weft, and I estimate (using this yardage calculator) that I used approximately 500 yards of yarn. Finished dimensions are 24" x 60". Ravelry project page.

I was SHOCKED by how much fun I had! I expected weaving to be much less accommodating of playful spontaneity than it was - one instance when I was happy to be wrong! So now I've decided that I simply MUST find a 'real' (read: bigger) loom for myself, and last weekend at the CA Wool & Fiber Festival in Boonville I think I found it: a used Leclerc Nilus 4-shaft is headed my way in the coming months! Joy! So expect to see more weaving posts on VWorld...


  1. Anonymous12:13 AM

    I LOVE weaving! Not that I have done it in awhile, but it is so much fun. Looks like you had a good time. Looking forward to seeing more and watching what yarnie adventures you have in store..
    I also saw on Twitter that Cole spun some yarn too.....quite the fiber arts household up there!


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