Weaving Good Habits

  The Efficient Weaver video focuses on developing good habits to save time and reduce stress on your body.
imageplaceholder Deb Essen
Contributor, Weaving Today

I always say it’s a good day when I learn something new. The day I watched The Efficient Weaver video by Laura Fry was a very good day!

Have you ever been in a class and you couldn’t see what the instructor was doing and felt uncomfortable asking her to repeat the steps? Having a video to rewind, review, and zoom in for a better look is really nice.

If you are a new weaver, this video will set you on the path of good weaving habits. Good weaving habits mean fun weaving with beautiful results. I’ve been weaving for nearly 25 years and I love learning things that make my life easier. I picked up so many tips in this video, I wish I had more space to tell you about all of them, but here are some favorites.

“If you can’t be perfect, be consistent.” Laura repeats this phrase often in the video. She demonstrates multiple ways to easily achieve consistency: from winding warps, winding bobbins, beaming and threading the warp, and more. Consistency leads to easier work and a better end result.

Laura defines efficiency as minimum input for maximum output. She demonstrates what she calls "nanosecond step savers" that add up to quicker work and less stress on your body. An example is her demonstration of the threading and sleying technique she learned from Norman Kennedy. The technique is essentially the technique I already use, but just a couple little tweaks to the hand movements greatly speeds up the threading and sleying process.

We all know that we need to insert a spacer of some sort into the warp as it beams to keep tension even on all the threads. I’ve used everything from rolled cardboard to paper to sticks to slats from mini blinds and while all of these objects work, they all have their frustrating quirks. Laura uses bamboo blinds–the matchstick style with small round bamboo rods, not the flat lengths of bamboo. These blinds are lightweight, very flexible, and they just flow on and off the back warp beam. I can’t wait to get some to use on my looms.

My favorite section is on using a warping valet to achieve even tension when beaming a long warp. No, the valet is not a reluctant family member holding the end of the warp chain while you wind on the warp. The warping valet set up she uses is simply a closet pole suspended from the ceiling of her studio and the warp is weighted by a plastic jug. Nothing fancy, but it turns beaming and tensioning a long warp into a quick and easy process–and this warping valet doesn’t complain! I think the portable clothes rack I use for show displays will make a great warping valet.

I can’t wait to try out all the new tips I learned, so I’m off to the studio to wind a warp!

Happy Weaving!

Deb Essen

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