Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rigid Heddle Weaving

This year I've discovered the joys and wonders of rigid heddle weaving. One of my creative New Year's resolutions was to weave more, and I thought that would be on my 8 harness loom at home. Well, being a shop owner, and all, I'm not in my loom room much at home. So, I tried the Ashford Knitter's loom first, in the hotel room at Madrona Fiber Arts, in January, and turned my room furniture upside down in order to warp that little loom, and then proceeded to weave during the show. What fun that was! Wove a plaid scarf! Wove many scarfs on that loom so far this year, yes, just in plain weave, but satifying my "need" to weave. Fast, fun and definately portable, especially with that little carry bag.

The next loom I tried out was the Schacht Flip Loom, made of solid maple, and every bit as nice as far as weaving portability goes. I'd say this loom is more serious of a rigid heddle loom. It comes in three weaving widths, and also has the feature of using TWO rigid heddles so that you can double up your ends per inch. So two 10 dent reeds, would give you 20 dents, to play with in your weaving!

Well, it's only May, and although I sell the Kromski Harp looms I haven't played with them much yet. That's the next one. Pat, a customer of ours, bought one in January to travel with in her motor home this winter and she was really pleased with it, so that is a good report! I can't wait to try the Harp out next -- I'll report back to you in another post about the Harp aber I explore it -- alternately you can leave me a post here, too of your experiences with the Harp! I know there are a lot of them out there!

I think what I like so much about the rigid heddle looms is that they are so easy to work with! Warping is a breeze! You can warp right onto the loom! Wow! It's done, and then you are weaving! The other thing (Ashford was right with calling it the "knitter's" loom), is all the wonderful knitting yarns available nowadays -- afford us such creativity! So much color and texture. The newer looms come with W I D E dent reeds to accomodate the thick and boucle yarns so we can play and create to our mind's content! You can use these looms to for tapestry weaving and pick up weaving, hmmmm, the possibilities are endless!
Infact, I was so taken by these little looms, I tought a class this spring and had three students in it. A wonderful class, where they selected their own yarns, warped their looms and wove their scarves in one day. Some were just about done with the scarf by the time class was finished. Lisa (not in a photo here) bought a Kromski Harp and a floor stand, after the class, so she could continue weaving at home satisfy her desires while she saves up for that 4 harness loom!

Happy RIGID HEDDLE Weaving!

Weaving Wonders

We just finished another Weaving Weekend, with Laura, Lynne and Margaret. Mama Knitty was there, too, our new, senior rescue cat. With just three students, it was a wonderful relaxing time as they wove their cotton chinelle and boucle scarves and then started on the second project, on Sunday. Using Harrisville yarns and a twill basket weave pattern, they learned how to thread and weave this fun pattern treadling in 2/2 twill.
The purpose of this beginning weaving class is to become familiar with the looms and how they work, warp and weave two projects in plain weave and twill. Students are provided with all the yarns, patterns and worksheets for the projects, and then blank worksheets for their future projects. Students use the looms at the shop, and space is limited, classes usually fill to capacity quickly. Classes are offered once or twice per quarter, including summer.
It's a fun class, and I LOVE to teach it. I've done fiber ever since my childhood, and I've been weaving all my adult life. I've continued to take weaving classes myself, and enjoy the process of learning and discovery.
Oh, and more on Miss Knitty on another post -- she has a happy ending here at the shop!