Friday, June 22, 2012

Spreading the Love

Here I am in Columbus, OH to spread the love of spinning and weaving. Why Columbus? It's the annual TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) Trade Show and Spinning and Weaving is a fledgling group in this land of yarn, needlepoint, counted thread and accessories. We (the Spinning & Weaving Association) joined TNNA almost a year ago and need 100 members of our group to become a voting member of the association. We have 97!

I will be meeting yarn and fiber wholesalers to invite them to join us and introduce them to the joys of spinning & weaving. I have 3 days to find 3 or more new members and help demonstrate weaving and spinning on the Trade Show floor. Sounds like a great way to spend a few days.

Meanwhile, back home, I am working on new samples for the upcoming class. I plan to expand the curriculum to include lace weaves, warp and weft floats, and other pick-up stick tricks for the rigid heddle loom. The next class starts July 14th and meets for 3 Saturdays, July 14, 21 and August 4. We'll spend most of that time working on planning projects, warping and dressing the loom. These are the most important pieces to being able to weave on your own. Weaving is the "easiest" part. I put that in quotes because learning a new craft is never easy. It takes practice and a certain amount of devotion to learn to weave. But there is so much more. To get to weaving, you must be able to calculate how much yarn is needed and determine if you have enough. Then, you need to get the yarn on the loom properly and thread the heddle, tie it on to the front apron rod and then the weaving begins. What can you expect in a class? We start with weaving and learning the language of weaving the first day. With shuttle in hand you throw the weft pick across the warp and begin to create your sample. Once we spend some time learning how to place that weft pick in the shed (several new words for some), I demonstrate the planning process and work with each student to plan their first warp. Unlike using a floor loom, you direct warp a rigid heddle loom. A very different and faster process. You create the warp right on the loom, wind it on the warp beam and then thread it through the holes in the heddles. The direct warping is done through the heddle slots and, once beamed, we need to thread through the holes. The tension needed to weave is created by tying the warp onto the front apron rod which is tied to the front beam. All this is covered in the first class.

Weaving is a complex craft. It is not easy to learn but it can be very rewarding. The cloth you weave can be a scarf or shawl or you can use it for fabric to create a top, jacket or skirt. You are weaving fabric and can do so on any size loom. A 15" rigid heddle loom can produce 13.5" wide fabric which can be used for fabric to create a jacket. Sew two 13.5" pieces together and you have the jacket back. Two more lengths of fabric and you have both fronts. Add two more pieces for sleeves. All on a rigid heddle loom. You can make a jacket as easily as you can make a few scarves. It's just that simple. It's all in the project planning which we will cover in the first class.

I hope to keep reporting from Columbus. I believe it will be very busy starting later today so my posts may be short. There has been a big increase in weaving and spinning. Schacht has 21 looms each with a different scarf placed around the trade show floor. Each scarf was made using the yarn from a different wholesaler and can be found at that wholesaler's booth. I will take pictures and share them here.

Be back soon. Claudia