Friday, February 17, 2017

Beginning Weavers Learn about Weaving with Wool

Our beginning weavers joined the larger group to lean about "Weaving with Wool" at the monthly weavers meeting. Wool, like every fiber, come in different weights, twists and texture. It is recognized as a good insulator, dyeable, resistant to wear, is flexible, absorbent and elastic.
A handwoven vest with interplay of patterns


Woolen or Worsted, each having its own set of characteristics and which works best depends on the final purpose, the weave structures and finishing. Finishing in weaving is more about blocking and washing/misting of your woven product than just the completion. There are a lot of pre and post weaving decisions to make, especially so when the fiber is wool.
Finished vs Completed 

When fabric is handwoven, the finishing helps the fiber to bloom, to intertwine & fibers connect, thus determining the texture, strength and size of the completed fabric.  There are resources to facilitate your weaving with wool, check out the weavers' library.  This all seems complicated, however, like any learning experience you break it down into manageable pieces and focus on learning the simple before jumping into the complex experience.  We are all learning everyday...beginner, intermediate and expert weavers alike. 
Handwoven vest




















Each fall, the weavers hold a beginners weaving class. Cathy, the primary course instructor determines the schedule, usually beginning in Mid-September after the Open House and finishing near the end of October. Sometime after the first of the year, there is usually a sample style workshop in which the new weavers get to experience multiple weaves while only warping one loom-a sampling of the complex while mastering the small piece.
Excited beginning weavers show their first fabulous runner. 
The instructor tries to link each new weaver with a mentor to reassure them that help is only a phone call away. I must admit back in the day I viewed it as a lifeline, a way to continue to learn the process without frustration.  Today 15 years later, I still pick up that phone and ask "Vicki, Are you busy, I have a question." Weaving is a dynamic experience, as you master one technique, there is always another one of interest.

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