Learning to Weave: Five Videos You Need
I have a friend who teaches art a local elementary school. It’s a smaller school that encourages art and exploration as you are learning to weave, so it should come as little surprise that some kind soul gifted her with a full-sized loom. She posted a photo on social media asking if anyone could help her with it: Tell her if it works, how to work it, and maybe do some demonstrations. I immediately chimed in because how could I not!
She was given a wide 4-shaft loom with six treadles that looked in the photos like it was in excellent shape. I haven’t been able to make it down to the school yet to give it an in-person evaluation (hopefully in the next weekend or two), but I have been thinking quite a bit about what to recommend/give her to help her out. She’s got a full-time job and an adorable son so taking a traditional weaving class is out of the question at the moment. Fortunately, we live in marvelous times and there are plenty of resources to help busy people learn to weave. Because she’s a teacher I figured videos work the best for her circumstances. This way she can watch when she has time and it’s easy to cue up parts of the video to show her class specific techniques.
Here’s what I came up with to help my friend, and if you want to learn how to weave on a multi-shaft loom or help somebody else who wants to learn to weave, here are my top video resources for learning how to weave on a multi-shaft loom.
1. Warping Your Loom with Madelyn van der Hoogt. This video is amazing. It shows you each step of warping and all the equipment you need. And of course, it’s Madelyn so she has all sorts of tips and tricks to make warping even easier and more efficient. For example, her tabletop sleying technique is a total game changer! While the kiddos might not be ready for warping just yet, this is perfect for teacher to watch to get all her techniques down so she can get the loom warped and ready to weave.
2. Learn to Weave with Tom Knisely. This video covers project planning, warping, weaving, and finishing—basically everything you’d want to learn to weave your first project! Plus it’s all taught by Tom Knisely who is A of all, an excellent teacher and B of all, the sort of person who radiates so much warmth you could probably use him to heat your home. Who better to teach a nervous new weaver or a room full of children? Plus you can easily watch just the parts of the video that you need when you need them
3. Totally Twill: The Basics with Robyn Spady. I think for many of us twill is the first structure we wove after plain weave. It’s such a good beginner weave structure because it doesn’t require long repeats, you can have fun playing with treadling, and it produces beautiful patterns. This video explains how twill works, how to design using twill, and all sorts of other great information for this wonderful weave structure.
4. Weaving with Rags also with Tom Knisely. I put this one on here because I remember from my summers teaching art classes to kids that children like art that they can do fast—they like to see results now and are not usually fans of the slow cloth movement. For that reason I thought rag weaving would be perfect for a classroom of kiddos. Plus it’s a great way to teach recycling and how cloth can be used to make new cloth. Tom is a master weaver, but he is especially a genius at weaving rugs and with rags. If you’re interested in weaving rag rugs and other items (or you just need more Tom Knisely in your life because who doesn’t) then this video is a must-have.
5. Wet-Finishing for Weavers with Laura Fry. Those of us in the profession of teaching weaving love to say, “It’s not finished until it’s finished” because weavers can’t resist the temptation for a good(?) pun. Of course it’s also very true—your cloth might be off the loom, but until you’ve wet-finished it and stabilized the weft it’s not done yet. Laura’s video teaches you how to do these final steps of weaving for all the major fibers. Laura also has a scientific mind and her techniques were developed over years of research—she did, after all, literally write the book on the subject. I can also imagine a class of eager children doing experiments with wet-finishing to see how different fibers react to different methods of wet-finishing, something Laura would no doubt approve of!
BONUS: The Loom Owner’s Companion with Tom Knisely (again). This is a bit of a bonus video. It’s not one you need to learn how to weave, but if you’re a loom owner it’s a must-watch. The video teaches the differences between different looms, how to interpret weaving drafts for sinking sheds vs rising sheds, and all the different ways to keep your loom happy and healthy.
There you have it! These are the videos I’m recommending to my friend if she wants to teach weaving in her classroom. With these videos, you’ll learn everything you must know to get started weaving from getting your loom warped to twisting the fringe on your beautiful, finished project.
Featured Image: Part of learning to weave is choosing the right tool for the job. This means picking the right weaving shuttle for your project. Photo by George Boe.
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