Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Week of Weaving: Day One

What have you always wanted to do? Me? I always wanted to learn how to spin and weave. When I first got out of college (and I'm talking just weeks after graduation!), I took a two-week spinning course offered through the School of Homestead Living and Rio Grande College in Ohio. Over twenty years later, I finally took a beginning weaving class at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I learned more than I ever imagined I could learn in a week's time thanks to instructors Pam Howard and Dianne Totten.

The course I signed up for, "Weaving - Beginning and Beyond," was a course on four-harness loom weaving that covered everything from preparing a warp, weaving a sampler, and completing a finished project. Pam, the resident weaver at the school, began our class on a Sunday evening with introductions and an overview of what we were in for during the week ahead. She warned us that Monday would be the most "difficult" day, but asked us to trust her and the process.

Monday morning came, and Pam wasn't kidding about that day being the most difficult. Pam introduced us to the warping board after we had picked out yarn and planned our first project, a sampler.

Pam made preparing the warp look easy.

But all that over, under, up, around, over, down, really messed with me! My DH always said that he was amazed that I had ever learned to tie my shoes, because when it comes to challenges like tying a knot, putting a strap on a camera, or wrapping warp, I have problems: big problems. I think Pam thought I was kidding when I was struggling with just following basic directions, but she soon learned I wasn't. Thanks to her and Diane's patience and direction, I finally managed to get all my threads aligned in the right direction.

By the time we were ready to "dress" the loom that day, I think Pam was the only one smiling!

When I went to lunch on Monday, a friend took one look at me and said, "Oh no." I was close to tears and feeling pretty stupid. I didn't expect weaving to be easy, but I also didn't expect to have SO many problems day one. Everyone else in the class seemed to be following along without any problems. Not me.

I went back to class after lunch, nonetheless, and somehow managed to go from the warping board to warp on a loom. Amazing!

By the end of the day on Monday, I was ready to spend the week with Ruth, an 8-harness, 32" Macomber loom. Ruth: my new best friend, or enemy in disguise? Only time would tell.

By supper Monday evening, the weaving fantasy had ended. Reality began.


Kim B said...

I can't wait to hear more. It sounds difficult! I hope you enjoyed the process even though it seems that it got tricky at times for you.

Heidi said...

I have always wanted to learn to weave also. We looked at some beautiful looms when we lived in Sweden. They take up a room though and, in Holland, you just do not have the space. I am loving seeing your photos!

Hugs ~