Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trying to Learn a New Craft

It has been another normal November weekend so far. The wind is the cold, the sky is leaking, and this morning the sky's tears have a little ice mixed in. In other words it is not a weekend for working outside. So I have spent the weekend doing indoor things like putzing around on my computer and cleaning the house. I've also been trying to learn Tablet Weaving.

I am making PeterC gifts for the upcoming holidays and I thought it would be really cool to weave him a nice thick neck scarf from cotton yarn. The neck scarves in the stores are all so flimsy and I find them next to useless. But, a thick cotton scarf should work very nicely. I researched various forms of weaving some months ago and decided that Tablet Weaving would allow me to not only weave a scarf, but to also include a nice pattern since it is so versatile.

My first practise piece was only a couple of inches square and the pattern was pretty plain, but once cut off the loom it held together very well. It reminds me of course woven fabrics I've seen in museums, on archaeology shows, and at the Medieval Fair I attended at Upper Canada Village. I could easily see wearing a shirt made from fabric woven in this style. I think it would be very cozy and warm.

So, flush with the success of my first attempt, I decided to plunge on ahead with the scarf idea. I decided on the pattern I wanted and chose some dark and light cotton that I already had on hand and started trying to warp the loom. First I cut each thread to length, then I threaded each card with the appropriate thread colours, and then....well things came to a crawl at this point.

It turns out that the loom I made, one using spindles to hold the length of the yarn is harder to warp than I first imaged. My practise piece had been quite short and I was able to easily warp the loom. With the scarf I am trying to wrap, and keep in order, 5 feet of 70 threads and have them all the same tightness. After trying several times, and making a "comb" to keep the threads from tangling with each other, I was finally able to get the loom warped at around 10pm last night. This was all done over the last two days so in all I think I spent between 12 and 15 hours trying to warp the loom.

Now that the loom was warped and all the threads were nice and tight I started weaving. Of course after the fourth pass through the shed, the space between the upper and lower threads, I realized the threads were to far apart and the weave was going to be to loose. So I spent the next hour pulling out the weft, untwisting the cords, and pulling the threads closer together.

By the time I was finished it was late and I put it away until today. Hopefully, after I get some chores done, I'll spend several hours this afternoon actually weaving. If this project slows down any more than it already has I'm afraid PeterC will be getting this scarf NEXT year instead of this winter. Here's hoping nothing else goes wrong, knock on wood.


Anonymous said...

That sounds so cool Dee! Did you have to buy a kit or something to make the loom. That's one craft that I have never tried but definitely want to. Do you have any good links that I can check out?

Take care,


Dee said...

I made the loom up out of my head but I do have a couple of links that you will find interesting. One includes instructions on how to make a simple loom.

These pages are the ones I used to get started. Obviously it takes a little practise but hopefully by the end of this project I'll actually have some idea of what I am doing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links.
Hope to see some pics of your scarf. I recently purchased 8 handwowen placemats from a lady in Quebec. I just love the look of them.