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Something’s missing…

Anyone who’s known me for a while or browsed my website knows that I engage in a wide range of stringy activities: spinning, dyeing, felting, naalbinding, sprang, braiding, you name it I’ve tried it. There’s no knitting on my main web page (though that will change, I’m sure), no crochet, tatting or a few other things I’ve done but never really gotten into. But it’s pretty obvious that my first love is weaving, and particularly tablet weaving, and the more complicated the better.

But there’s no weaving on this blog. That, my friends, has got to change.

I’ve been obsessed with knitting lately, true (anyone who’s known me thru more than my web page knows I’m obsessive!), and there are only so many hours in a day (and why oh why do I have to devote so many of them to work?????), and I like spinning and dyeing and gardening, and oh yes, I try to spend a few minutes now and then with Nick, and … no weaving. Do you suppose I could trade Nick in temporarily for a really rich old man and then inherit all his wealth so that I can support myself in a life of string?

Someone came to me this past weekend with a question. She said she wanted to try weaving, but it all looked so complicated, and you need all that fancy equipment, and she just wasn’t sure she could manage it. I looked at her, and replied, “String. All you need is string. And maybe a couple of sticks. Everything else is a luxury item.” And it’s true. People think weaving is scary, and hard, and you need lots of expensive equipment. Not that the fancy toys aren’t fun, or that you can’t do hard things, but elaborate textiles have been made for thousands of years all over the world with nothing more than string, sticks, maybe a few rocks and some time. Plus a lot of human ingenuity.

I do have one hideously complicated tablet weaving project in mind (so complicated I think it may actually be original never-before-done!), but I will also be putting together a series of “weaving around the house” projects – things that can be done with minimal equipment, things you are likely to have around the house. One will be a simple tablet weaving project, and one will be a simple band with string heddles, and some pick-up for variety. The third project will be a bit more complex, but not much, and involve the Gotland yarn I’ve been spinning. There will be lots and lots of pictures, and plenty of advice on how to do everything as simply as possible (and on what to get first if you want to acquire equipment).

Sounds like fun, no?

2 Comments on “Something’s missing…”

  1. #1 Laura
    on Jul 18th, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Ooh, I approve of this project. :) I was enthralled with the mechanics of weaving the first time I saw it done–on a massive 18th c. barn frame loom. Fantastic. Many many years later I found out that, lo and behold, you could weave with only sticks & string. Even if you do move on to a floor loom later, you will already understand the process very well.

    Have you seen Small Looms in Action? I was recently able to get a copy–entertaining low-tech ways to build looms, including using combs for reeds. Of course, there’s the Book of Looms by Broudy, and I also liked Nepalese Textiles by Susi Dunsmore–some pictures of really basic looms (some are very flimsy looking); a great picture of an older woman weaving with just string, no sticks! (there seems to be an Icelandic equivalent–Hoffman & Ostergard both), and techniques for measuring out warps in ways to make putting in string heddles efficient. Of course, this is in amongst much other information.

    I detect a weaving shortage in my own life–but for me it’s been embroidery, not knitting, that has temporarily taken over!

    And of course I look forward to hearing about the hideously complicated TW project.

  2. #2 sarebear
    on Jul 21st, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    As you’ll know from my comment in the first weaving tute series post (for lack of something better to call it and I’m too lazy to open another window right now (well, ok, si I surf with like 100 tabs open, and am loathe to do another; dunno why, that doesn’t usually stop me . . ..)

    *yank* back on topic . . . So you’ll know I just discovered you today, and this is PERFECT. I usually don’t read how-to, historical, craft/art, or anything like that type of books (or, in this case, these books I’ve checked out have all of the above in ’em!) straight through, or mostly straight through, but THESE I have been.

    The first was Inkle Loom Weaving by Frances B Smith, in the Little Craft Book Series. Of course, there’s always the giggle factor at the 70’s fashions, if they can be called that, but I found it fascinating! I re-read the how-to and explanatory parts over until I understood that aspect of how it works; sometimes, I was “Doh!” when I finally realized, but not too much, because I know it’s a different kind of thinking than I’m used to. A different way of seeing things.

    I never thought I could learn to knit, but then an online friend who’s knitting I admired told me one day, “It’s just sticks and string.” And what do you know, she was right! That was earlier this year.

    Geez, I think I better go do a post on this if I’m going on so much (thanks for inspiring me to, though! I tend to go on sometimes, anyway.)

    I was and am going to feature this series on my crafting blog, too. Not that I have a huge readership, but some people are regulars. I’ll post there what the next book I’m in re: weaving is, if you’re curious. Lol!