Loom Weaving is Simple . . . and Difficult

People often ask me if weaving is hard. Well, there is no straightforward answer. The truth is, weaving is hard, but it is also easy. The simplicities and difficulties of weaving balance out into an art that is both meditative and challenging; it is relaxing, occasionally boring, but somehow always interesting. Perhaps the give and take of loom weaving keeps it interesting, for example:

  • It’s plain weave with one shuttle, and it’s a complicated doubleweave with multiple shuttles and treadling changes.
  • It’s threading thick yarns at 6 ends per inch, and it’s threading 60/2 silk that looks like spider webs at 60 ends per inch.
  • It’s knowing without looking how to thread, tie-up, and treadle for 2/2 twill, and it’s getting completely confused when trying to figure out how to thread one-end thick stripes on a doublewidth blanket.
  • It’s weaving lace with one color for warp and weft, and it’s trying not to make a muddy mess weaving the same lace using two colors.
  • It’s waking up in the middle of the night wondering if you could weave yardage with wool, felt it, cut it into strips, and use it for weft in a rag rug, and it’s using precut fabric strips you found at a craft store.
  • It’s knowing the difference between Swedish lace and Huck lace, and it’s not understanding why there are 2 weave structures that share the name Rosepath.
Loom weaving

Swedish lace in the beautiful Springtime Linen Runner by Rita Hagenbruch. Photo Credit: George Boe.

  • It’s tensioning a warp of forgiving wool, and it’s struggling to tension beautiful but unforgiving linen.
  • It’s treadling listening to music, and it’s treadling listening to warp ends pop.
  • It’s winding a 3-yard scarf warp onto the back beam, and it’s winding a 12-yard shawl warp onto the back beam.
  • It’s tying up 2 treadles, and it’s tying up 12.
  • It’s having a shed that is wide and open, and it’s using a pick-up stick to clear every shed on a sticky warp.

For these experiences and so many others I didn’t mention, I love to weave, and I love to think about weaving. I don’t believe that just because something is easy it isn’t worth doing, nor do I believe that just because something is difficult you should avoid it, although I do have my preferences. Weaving is both simple and difficult, but for those of us who love it, it’s the combination of experiences we cherish.

Weave well,

Featured Image: Colorful weaving Photo credit: Photo ephemera; Getty Images.

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One Comment

  1. Kira M at 5:06 pm January 16, 2018

    This is amazing, love this!! Thank you for sharing. It’s so, so incredibly true.

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