In college I took a couple of weaving classes because I had enjoyed the little bit I’d done in high school. (The weaving instructor also happened to be a reference librarian. Funny how these things happen!) I worked with mostly wool because the college had lots and lots of cheap wool mill ends. But I also worked with shiny perle cotton, lustrous silk, big thick cotton roving, fine cotton warps, and a couple different styles of acrylic. I made scarves, a baby blanket, one big blanket, and rugs. Oh, I loved making rugs, banging the heck out of each shot of weft. I made at least one wool rug and one cotton rug. Great fun. I also made a big wool poncho kind of thing that didn’t work out well at all because I had made a small miscalculation. Still trying to figure out what to do with that thing. I keep thinking I’ll undo the weaving and use the lovely thick wool yarn for something else, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.
As a graduation gift, my father built me a wonderful, big, heavy duty floor loom. This beast has a 45″ weaving width and can take a pounding if I do a project that really packs in the yarn. He also built a beautiful warping board for me to wind my warp yarn. When my husband and I bought our house, my parents were so very happy to finally get that loom out of their basement and set it up for me in my new space!
Several years ago I bought a smaller table loom from eBay: it had seen better days, but it is still functional. It’s almost 24″ wide and it is much easier for me to set up than the big floor loom. I hadn’t tried anything more difficult than a houndstooth plain weave on it until recently.
Now I need to remove the dust, clean up my rusty skills, and start thinking about weaving again. The fiber guild I joined a year or two ago has a wide variety of fiber artists as members, so I fit right in. One of the things the group has started thinking about is trying to do a demonstration of sheep-to-shawl: shear the sheep, clean and spin the wool into yarn, and weave it into a wearable piece, all within a few hours. And that is what we are doing this weekend at the Carbon County Fair in Palmerton! I will be one of a few weavers so we will take turns weaving the scarf on a member’s floor loom. (The weavers agreed that, for this first attempt, as none of us are ‘expert’ weavers, we would tackle a 9-10″ wide scarf rather than a 22″ wide shawl.) My husband is our official photographer, so I hope to have some great photos to share afterward. 🙂 Cheers!