Time to weave, kids! Now, weaving is a fairly controlled process. I plan exactly how many inches, how many yarns, where each one goes, etc. So, by the time I get to the actual weaving process, I’m ready for a little anything-can-happen!
Because I am weaving fabric for handbags, it’s not as critical that the inches be precisely planned out. My goal is to make sure that no matter how the handbags are cut, no two will be alike. Beyond that, I don’t keep many rules!
So, generally the weaving process begins with me clearing out my shelves! I pull out all the yarn that I might possibly be inspired by, and create a little yarn camp right next to the loom. For this project, I’ll be loosely using the colors in the warp (the yarns already threaded through the loom).
I love the blending of colors and textures! The good and the bad news is that nothing is off the table! So when perusing the sale closet at Tabby Tree Weaver in Arcadia, IN, it’s all fair game! I almost always use cotton for the warp. But, I love using wool in the shuttle! Plus, a little something shiny like a rayon or a silk is a great addition to the overall look and feel of the fabric!
I like to use toilet paper to start the project. It’s a cheap resource, it’s perforated (easy to remove later), and it’s bulky enough to fill in the space between the yarns quickly! Recently, my family mistakenly bought really cheap toilet paper – the see-through kind. Funny how it all ended up in a bag by my loom! It’ll get used eventually, I’m sure!
It usually takes 5-6 rows of TP to spread out the yarns so they are evenly spaced. Then, I’ll bring in the main attraction!
So like I mentioned, I want to use yarns that roughly mimic the colors in the project – green, purple, brown, black. First up, diving into some purple! I happen to have this cone of a bright, purple-ish/pink color. Now for those of you who don’t know, I am not a fan of the pink. Not even a little! But, I figure I’ll try to expand my horizons a touch! The funny thing is that my Dad comes over, looks at it and says, “That doesn’t look like you!”… mission accomplished…
Have you ever made a pot-holder? I love those things! You weave the cotton loops through each other – over, under, over, under. Well, a floor loom is created to make that whole process quicker! So, when I depress a pedal below the loom (like playing an organ), some of the yarns lift up and I send the shuttle through. Switch pedals, different yarns lift up, and the shuttle goes back the other way. Repeat until you run out of yarn! The pictures above are trying to give you a little perspective of what that looks like!
I like to group yarns together in the shuttle. So, at any given point, I’ll have 4-8 yarns traveling together to create the fabric. This technique makes it much more seamless when changing colors. I can keep 1/2 the yarns and change the other to gradually alter the overall look. Below, you can see the subtle change to a darker purple…
Isn’t this fun? There will be much more weaving to come! Talk to you soon…
Thanks, darling! chris
This fabric is beautiful. I know the bags are going to be beautiful as well.
And I love the colors. 🙂
Hey Sonja! Thanks so much! With a project like this, you hope the end result stands up to the hopeful expectations in your head! We’ll see! Have a good one! chris
LOVE your captions and narrative, Chris! You are a born writer…and weaver…and educator…and photographer!!!!
Wishing you peace, love, light, and the joy living of an Inspired life!
Thanks so much, Lizz! You are so supportive! chris
Toilet paper- now there’s a thought!
It’s funny how you learn something and figure everyone does it exactly like you! Not long ago, I mentioned the TP tip to my local guild and for some folks, it was a complete game changer! Who knew? I hope it helps! Take care! chris