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Monday, January 18, 2010


while on holiday recently, i stayed with friends on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.  one of these friends is a weaver, so i had the pleasure of helping her warp her loom for a batch of rugs she planned to make.  

she's the same friend who gave me the loom i have. the loom which i'm pleased to report is now assembled in its own little spare bedroom, surrounded by bookshelves and assorted boxes and bins of various bits of fiber and miscellany.  no picture till i get it warped.  

so, you see, to some of us, being warped is a good thing.  productive, even!


Cicero Sings said...

I missed your last couple of posts ... they didn't come up in my bloglines!

Ha, ha ... nice to be warped! Glad you have got your loom set up. Sounds and looks like an interesting craft. Getting it warped looks like a lot of work. Is it?

My sister lives in Sechelt but we rarely seem to get over to visit her ... when at the coast we are too busy racing back and forth between Abbotsford and Vancouver visiting Mom.

It was nice that you could get away to a warmer place over the holidays. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

susan said...

I have pleasant memories of warping too but it's been a long time since I last touched a heddle or enjoyed the thrill of beating against multiple shafts. The language of weaving is oddly erotic, isn't it? I've looked at the loom a number of times now but can't tell if it's a Leclerc or something European.

One of my closest friends was a master weaver from Sweden when we first met in Montreal. She'd trained for seven years before coming to Canada to design and oversee the upholstery and other fabrics that were to be woven for the newly refurbished CNR trains. Once the project was over she stayed. She taught me to card, spin, dye and weave over the course of the 5 or 6 years we lived in close proximity. We both designed and made clothes but I was in charge of the sewing :-) She even had lace making pillows and some very old patterns so I got to try that too - a dozen pairs of bobbins to make lace just an inch wide was pretty intense. One of my favorites of her stories was the year she spent planting a field of flax, harvesting, soaking, beating, spinning and weaving her former field into a damask tablecloth and napkins. You don't see a lot of that anymore.

She had two Leclerc looms for teaching on but the one she used was something like an antique Glimakra counterbalance loom that was huge - almost like a small cottage to look at and touch with an eight foot beam. No metal anywhere either - it was all carved wood and string.

She taught me how to look at hand made carpets from the middle east and to know by the subtle bends at the edges how many seasons it had taken to make by how often it had been cut down from a loom and restrung when the nomads moved from summer to winter lands and back. I learned about identifying carpets by the shades of the natural dyes they used and the design elements specific to certain tribes. It's amazing what you could learn from looking at a rug.

I still have several of her pieces but the neatest ones are very small - two little bird bags she wove for me. Maybe it's time to take their pictures and do a post so I can show you.

Don't let your flying shuttle stray too far.

gfid said...

cicero - yes, warping is a big job. one usually plans for several projects in one go. a lot of handling of fibre, which is very satisfying. miss the green badly... all is grey and white here.

su - i'm boggled! ...compared to your wealth of knowledge, i'm still in weaver's infancy, learning the names of bits and pieces, and had to take it apart several times before i got everything put together right-side-up. the loom is not any brand name - entirely hand made, with only a bolt or 2 in it... the rest all pegged together, and string heddles. there's a story with the loom.... not sure if i've already told it.... too late to post about it, and i'm beat on my feet, but it's a nice story... would love to see your bird bags and hear the story behind them.....

clairesgarden said...

it looks fantastic! think you should start weaaving something green!
though I am missing the brightness that the snow cover brought to the day, especially at night going up to do Abbey, it seemed to provide its own light to the dark....if that makes sense.

Seraphine said...

i have no idea what 'warping a loom' means, but it sounds like a good thing.
the only weaving i know how to do is with words. i make ok word scarves, but nothing anyone would want to wear.
maybe one day, i'll try making a word sweater.
i'd be better at making one if i was cold.

i do nothing upon myself, and yet i am mine own executioner.
quote from john donne

swallowtail said...

This morning is an auspicous morning! I found your blog on the second click! And I am so glad... my loom is in storage. Would it take much to get it clacking away in my living room again? Maybe not. Maybe just some prodding, not even; maybe just some encouragement! like your photos! "Oh, look at this!"

I look forward to catching up on your whole blog! How cool is this? (very)

susan said...

Just in case you'd like to see them I posted a picture of the two little bird bags last night. Since I was feeling lazy about writing (and working on another painting) I simply revised and re-posted the comment I left here. Still, the picture is nice :-)

lindsaylobe said...

I’m no weaver but I could imagine hand weaving must be a particularly rewarding activity and daunting task particularly when I read more about that from Susan’s prior comment. Many years ago at work I was engaged in evaluating the most appropriate large scale purchases of textiles such as cloths, towels and linen for use in commercial applications by testing relative tensile strength of weft and warp threads amongst the alternative textile suppliers. This activity was additional to my normal duties but I developed a real appreciation for fabric strength and relative longevity as well as for the feel and texture which makes such a difference.

A Nice photo in the prior post combined with your own lovely descriptive prose and interesting facts on that amazing tree and the history of the land near the Restore.
Best wishes

Gary said...

Beautiful photos! And warped is good...helps us negotiate the straight lines and rigidity we bump into.

Zee said...

The loom is the weave of life, the more colors, the better...
I am picking up the fiddle again, Granny Fiddler - what about that?! (besides my other musical excursions with my brother)
Anyway, I am solicitating students, haven't done that for a while, but I think it's going to be good. My work situation is dire, so anything that I am able to do, I feel like: Go for it!
Other than that, there is not much else to report from Hobbitland.

Seraphine said...

it just occurred to me that a loom is another stringed instrument.
no wonder you are fascinated by it!

Gary said...

You're allowed to be warped, even encouraged... but some blogging soon would be nice too. Maybe it could be warped blogging!

susan said...

I hope you are well and do miss seeing you around.

gfid said...

claire - weave something green! brilliant. i'll try to remember that for next winter!

sera- i'd wear your word scarf. i'd never thought of the loom as a stringed instrument, but you're right!!! how could i not love it?!

swallowtail - thanks for dropping by. i'll come visit you

su - love the bird bags. and miss my friends in cyberland. but i fear things will only get worse as construction season begins.

lindsay - you probably know far more about fibre than i, but i'm learning. i have a fond place in my heart for that tree... even if it is a 'weed'.

gary - thanks for the encouragement.... i'll try to be even more warped!

zee - you know i'm a wee tad biased, but how could you not enjoy teaching fiddle? i hope it goes well for you. i presently have about 10 students, mostly adults and older teens.