Monday, 10 March 2014

Weaving Workout

Weaving not only produces useful products, but the act of weaving includes most of the senses in various enjoyable ways. From my first slide onto the bench for the day through however long I spend at the loom, weaving makes me feel alive and well.

The sounds begin when the front beam is tightened and the ratchet and pawl clack away a few times, the last click being the slowest as I tighten the tension for the last precise amount. This process is like a friendly starting gun for me, especially when I've been away from the loom for a few days or more. Then the treadles tap away under my feet and the bobbin whirls in the shuttle. My paper bobbins make a smooth spinning sound as they unwind, in contrast to the rattly plastic bobbins needed for heavier yarns.

I throw the shuttle back and forth, kind of from one index finger to another with my other fingers below and my thumb on top. The weft bounces off the selvedge in a way that tells me, without looking, that the selvedge will continue to be straight. The weft must not pull the sides of the warp or be left loose in a loop. This is part of the skill of weaving.

As I weave, I see the developing cloth and watch for errors in the treadling as soon as they appear (and which are best avoided in the first place). The cloth grows and develops through all the sounds and sights.

Physically, weaving the full 60" width on my big loom is a good core workout. I have to lean over a bit to each side every time to catch the shuttle, over and over, and this is a big part of the weaving workout. I love it!

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