What Is It Like to Take a Weaving Workshop?

weaving on a loom

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Have you ever attended a weaving workshop? Lately, I have been really fascinated by all the creative weaving projects I’m seeing at craft fairs and specialty shops. I consider myself to be a pretty creative person, although I haven’t really indulged that side of my personality in a long while. So I decided to take a weaving class!

Browsing through Pinterest shows this ancient craft has had quite a revival recently, and the resulting projects are beautiful, creative, and intricate!

It occurred to me that I have really pushed my own artistic abilities to the side in recent years. Rather than imagine that my creative spirit has declined, I decided to stoke the fire by learning the craft of weaving.

weaving workshop

Weaving as Creative Expression

We are very fortunate in my town to have a wonderful resource in the Alamitos Bay Yarn Company. This retail outlet has been around for many years, and creatives come from far and wide. Not only does ABYC stock every yarn and accessory ever known, but they also host a tremendous number of classes and workshops.

weaving loom

My great-grandmother was a weaver, and we have several blankets from as far back as the 1950’s that she made on a pin loom. These are treasured heirlooms, and they served as the inspiration for me to learn weaving rather than knitting or crochet. (I may try those in the future, though!)

When I registered for the one-day workshop, I was told we would be creating our own scarves, and the shop owner helped me understand which yarns were best for this project. Living in southern California, I chose lighter yarns in order to create an accessory scarf, rather than heavy yarns which would produce a winter-weather scarf.

I could have spent all day looking at the vast selection, but fortunately the sales woman showed me one almost right away which I loved.

Two weeks later, I joined four other novices to turn that yarn into a scarf!

weaving materials

The Weaving Workshop

Our class was taught by the talented and capable Carla (follow her on Instagram) First, she explained the basic concepts behind the craft and introduced us to the parts of the #8 Rigid Heddle Looms we would be using that day.

Carla warned us that there were a LOT of steps to the weaving process, but that none of them were difficult, and that we’d be working independently in no time. We beginners chuckled with doubt, but Carla assured us she was telling the truth – we would settle in comfortably with what, at that moment, was strange and unknown.

Step by step, we learned to warp our yarn onto our looms, creating the foundation of our weaving activity.

After some more explanation from our instructor and many more steps, we each began to weft the threads back and forth!

The actual weaving, once we got the hang of it, did go very smoothly and became a comfortable activity. Despite our earlier expressed doubts, very quickly all five of us were, indeed, weaving on our own.

Carla stayed with us throughout the day, checking tensions, answering questions, and demonstrating steps. There were occasional mistakes made, and she would calmly step in and show us just how easy they were to correct. We all grew in confidence with her expert guidance and the support we gave each other.

starting to warp on loom
weaving workshop 2

Weaving is a work of mindfulness, of taking time to give attention to the details that will contribute to the woven piece’s unity.  – Unknown

weaving workshop
weaving in progress

Completing Our Projects

By days end, none of us had quite finished our projects, which Carla had anticipated. She had already arranged that we would be given our looms to take home for a one-week period, in order to give us a chance to complete our scarves.

Carla explained to us how to then remove the scarf from the loom, and provided excellent written instructions on final steps including washing, removing several rows of protector yarn, and finishing the fringe so it would not unravel. She made us feel quite confident that we could manage at home on our own. And of course, she was correct – I was able to do it all unassisted, without any issues arising.

My Completed Weaving Project

I thoroughly enjoyed my day in this weaving workshop, and I have a beautiful scarf to show for it. Now, if it will just cool off enough here in Southern California for me to wear it!

fringe on woven scarf
woven scarf

Weaving Definitions

  • Rigid Heddle Loom: a type of loom used to make scarves, placemats, table runners, and other square or rectangular items.
  • Weave: to interlace threads, yarns, strips, or fibrous material crosswise and lengthwise to form a fabric or material
  • Warp: the set of threads placed lengthwise in the loom
  • Weft: the thread that is woven across the warp
  • Reed: the part of the loom that keeps the warp thread evenly spaced
  • Heddles: the slots and holes that hold the warp threads
  • Sett: the number of warp ends per inch
  • Shuttle: tool to carry the weft threads
  • Shed: the opening space for the shuttle to go through
  • Clamps: used to anchor the loom in place while warping
  • Warping Pegs: peg that is clamped at a measured distance from the loom, used to wind warp threads

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Final Thoughts on Learning to Weave

Do you make an effort to nurture your creative side? Many adults do not, but it is so important to never stop creating in some way, shape or form. Learning any new skill is good for the brain and good for the soul.

I’m looking forward to taking more advanced weaving classes – maybe someday I will make blankets as my great grandmother did! Or perhaps I will try knitting or crochet. Maybe I’ll go back to embroidery and cross-stitch, that I did so much of back in the 1980’s and 90’s.

So many choices!

Have you ever taken a weaving workshop, or other textile class? Let me know in the comments!

weaving workshop

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