First day in big school

I can remember my kids being a mixture of daunted and excited when they finished pre-school and went to “big school” for the first time. So many people! So much happening! What is all that stuff? Will you be my friend?

OK, it wasn’t quite like that, but there was distinct excitement plus an element of daunt when my little first year weaving class (all three of us) joined the big kids in second year weaving last Wednesday. We had already had a class with Liz on Tuesday – all theory. The first half was to introduce us to 8 shaft twills and plan out the sampler we will be doing. The second half was back to our four shaft double weave exercise, looking at how we can use it as a support structure (more opportunities for leno, brooks bouquet etc), and ideas for garments (for homework we’re weaving small scale bogshirts, with slits and double width and two layer parts, needing minimal assembly once it’s off the loom).

8 shaft loom all ready to go

8 shaft loom all ready to go

Wednesday we arrived half an hour early to finish our basic 8 shaft theory. The “big kids” started arriving as we were finishing that up, so on to another round of theory with them – this time colour and weave on eight shafts. With heads full to over-flowing, we actually got to spend an hour or so working on our looms. For me that meant finishing up putting on the warp for my 8 shaft twill sampler.

I didn’t quite use the full width of the loom – there’s one empty dent in the reed! However that’s as far as I can go until next class. We decided that it was too much to do the double nights, so Liz and the first years are going to meet half an hour early each Wednesday and try to do any necessary catch-up or bridging work in that time.

Doubleweave progress

Double weave progress

Most of my weaving time this week has been spent on the doubleweave sampler. It’s really fun. There’s basically twice as many threads in the warp as you would normally use for the same width. They are woven in two layers, one (the “face”) on top of the other (the “back”). You can have two shuttles and take turns – shuttle A a row on the face, shuttle B a row on the back. Repeated, that gives two separate layers of cloth. You can also get the face and the back to swap over, which is how I got the stripes of colour in the photo. Slots or pockets are formed. In the middle of the photo, I padded the slots with varying amounts of wadding to get a raised or cushion effect. Near the top of the photo I started playing with colour.

No photos of 8 shaft colour and weave. We are working through the theory with the second years, but not actually doing the sampler. I have spent a fair amount of time with my weaving software (Fiberworks PCW), trying out a few of the many combinations.

Beginning of scarf for Geoff

Beginning of scarf for Geoff

Of course I also have my home project on the big loom – Geoff’s scarf that I started planning a while back. After sampling we decided on a 20/2 silk weft. The warp is the wool+silk yarn from theknittery that I used in my autumn and ocean scarves. There was quite a bit of chopping and changing on colours (on future “commissions” I think I’ll try to keep the “client” a little less closely involved). I like our final choice, although I did take two attempts dyeing the blue. I’m really pleased with the weaving so far ( all 26 cm of it – less than a foot), even if the photo shows up the uneven beating that I was blissfully unaware of.

I should mention that this frantic pace is quite unlike my normal approach, especially when you add in the day job and preparations for ATASDA’s AGM and Art Textiles Conference. It’s only for a short time, thank goodness.

6 Responses to “First day in big school”


  1. 1 Peg in South Carolina September 1, 2008 at 5:47 am

    I machine knit a sweater for my husband who I asked to work with me from the beginning of the designing. The designing not only included the pattern stitch but choosing colors for the multiple strands I was going to knit with. I really enjoyed the process for he thought of things I would not have. Plus I felt it really became HIS sweater in a very personal way.

  2. 2 fibresofbeing September 1, 2008 at 7:53 am

    You’re right Peg, I was being frivolous and not accurate. I want Geoff to be happy with the scarf and he’s enjoying being an active part of the process. He chose the base weave and has pushed me to take it further in the design. Geoff also chose the colours. He asked for some last minute changes, which threw me a bit. Maybe because I’m still coming to grips with the whole weaving thing, I found it hard to hear what he was saying and find a way that interpreted his ideas in a way that I thought would work and that I would enjoy weaving.

  3. 3 Taueret September 1, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Love hearing about the class. Looking at your pic, I wonder if I have the frame thingies (upon which the heddles sit) upside down on my recently rescued table loom?

  4. 4 Dot September 8, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Hi, I love to see the things you’re up to. Those weaving classes sound really good. It’s super that there is such a good student / teacher ratio. I heard from a weaver who’d been to a class of 40 students all mixed levels. It was sad to hear, she’d had a very different experience to yours. I think it’s really important that a tutor should have time for you as an individual.


  1. 1 Double Weave Sampler « Fibres of Being Trackback on November 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm
  2. 2 Geoff’s scarf « Fibres of Being Trackback on November 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

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