Monday, 7 October 2013

Weaving 2.0

So you may remember that a few months back, my friend passed me an antique weaving loom that she in turn had been given by an old lady who was no longer using it. I posted a brief mention about it here but didn't really delve into it much further...the reason for that is that the loom and I did not get on. It was a 4-shaft table loom and had hundreds and hundreds of little wire heddles and it took an entire day and a lot of swearing to warp it up and I hated the thing, frankly. It has since travelled on to its next victim and I thought I would live happily ever after never weaving again.
But then one day, as I was having a clear-out in the craft room and putting a fixed weaving frame up on ebay, I came across rigid heddle looms. They looked lovely and simple and promised to be warped up ready to weave within an hour, and although they couldn't do the fancy patterns, they looked like they could do everything I'd ever want to on a loom.
So I trawled ebay. Then I trawled Ravelry and fell in with all sorts of weaving crowds leading me astray. Then I entered into financial negotiations with Santa. And then finally, someone offered me the exact size and make loom that I was after, and in the lovely town of Stroud too. Incidentally, my spinning wheel was an ebay purchase picked up from Stroud as well!
So here it is: my Ashford 32" rigid heddle loom. It's a thing of absolute simplicity and I love it for it. It even has lime green cogs and bits that matches our coffee table perfectly.

As you know from my last blog post, our trip to Stroud took a little longer than expected, but I still had the loom all warped up and ready to go that evening. It took perhaps a little closer to two hours as it was all a bit new, but I can see how it will get faster the more I do it. It is simple and smooth and easy to get right and you don't go blind doing it and your partner doesn't run away with the milk man in the mean time.
Sunday morning, I dug out the bag of beautiful , plant dyed yarns that my mothers colleague had left me when she'd moved. I think they were dyed in the 70s, and had neat little labels with the different substances used on them. They were one of those small gifts that I had been very honoured to receive. However, the yarn itself was a little too rough for knitting with....but for weaving, it was perfect!

This was the full length that I made - it took exactly a week of short bursts of weaving - the loom is so big that it takes up the whole coffee table, so I try and work with it when Mark is out or otherwise occupied. I gave the fabric a wash and let it dry in the autumn sun yesterday, and stitched it into my very first "proper" woven item:

It's just a cushion, but I'm stupidly delighted with it. I actually can't wait to warp up the next thing, I've seen so many inspiring projects out there, and in such varied materials - rag rugs, soft merino scarves, cotton blankets, tea towels...all which can be made on that one loom, just using different size heddles and yarns.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! What a beautiful object you made out of those odd yarn balls! We must send a picture to the donor! Good luck with you next project! (Though mind you, the rag rug made on the previous loom was great too!)