Learning New Skills at a Weaving Workshop
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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. 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 a new craft.
Weaving as Creative Expression
We are very fortunate in my town to have a wonderful resource in the Alamitos Bay Yarn Company. Not only do they stock every yarn and accessory ever known, but they also host a tremendous number of classes and workshops.
My great grandmother was a weaver, and we have several blankets from as far back as the 50’s that she made on a pin loom. These are treasured heirlooms, and 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.
Two weeks later, I joined four other novices to turn that yarn into a scarf!
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.
Completing Our Projects
By days end, none of us had quite finished our projects, which Carla anticipated. It turns out we were 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. I was able to it all unassisted without any issues arising.
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!
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
Creativity – and YOU
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! What do you think – would you be interested in a weaving workshop?