My Weaving Story
I still remember my first weaving lesson. I wanted to take a class at the local art museum and while at first I wished to take pottery, I had a conflict in my schedule and so I decided to go with my second choice of weaving. Two of my friends also signed up and together we went on the date of the first class where we picked out yarn, wound our warp, and listened to our fellow weavers (who were more experienced than we) use terms we did not understand but wanted to learn.
We warped our own huge jack looms which took at least one full class period and part of a Saturday during studio hours. I wove with coarse wool using a stick shuttle and some basic instruction on twill and how to change the pattern through treadling variations. I, like my two friends, quickly became entranced with the process. It was therapeutic to get lost in warp and weft and to see what designs I could create by treadling 1-3-2-4 instead of 1-2-3-4. We would happily spend hours each Saturday in the studio weaving away outside of class because we all genuinely enjoyed the process.
An Olds College weaving student hard at work. Check out the latest issue of Handwoven to discover what their program is all about!
When the class ended I wanted to keep weaving but the idea of owning a loom felt an extravagant luxury and with a move to Colorado looming on the horizon, I figured I'd have to shelve my weaving for at least another decade. One year later I'd find myself working for Handwoven, six months on top of that I was happily weaving on a rigid-heddle loom, and almost two years later I found myself the proud owner of a used 8-shaft floor loom.
Through my work on Handwoven I have learned more about weaving than I ever dreamed existed as a nervous student. I have travelled the world and through time in its pages from Scandinavia to Japan to Africa and beyond. I've learned that there's more to weaving than just floor looms, and that such as card weaving and backstrap weaving require no loom at all, but can be used to create patterns that rival any floor loom.
I have also learned a great deal about the design process by reading what inspires other weavers and how they choose colors, structures, and so on. I've also learned to do color wraps to help pick yarn and even then to always put on enough warp to sample. While I find myself creating projects from the yarn on up more often than not, I still use Handwoven projects as inspiration from fun drafts to interesting color palettes and combinations of yarn.
Today as I look back on my journey through weaving I find it amazing how far I've come in just a few years and even more amazing at how much more there is left for me to learn and explore. I'm quite certain I could spend a lifetime studying weaving and not learn close to half of all there is to know-of course, that's half the fun. I'm so grateful for all those who have shared their knowledge and projects in the pages of Handwoven, and I can't wait to see what the future brings. Weaving is still very much an adventure.
If you want to share your weaving knowledge with either an article or project, make sure you check out Handwoven's newly updated editorial calendar for issue themes and due dates.