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Weaving Experiments Ahead

Weaving is a repetitive process, and we do a lot of it, but we love it and want to keep it fresh and interesting. So every time we start a new project, we start a new experiment! Sometimes it’s special colors, an unusual pattern, or turning it into something exciting.

  


Our two most recent experiments are two of my all-time favorites.

This one is so bright and cheerful, just perfect for winter! And look closely at the white strings…. The pattern is two strings, three strings, two strings, three strings (etc) instead of our usual one string, one string, one string (etc). A small change, but a big difference! (In the photo below you can see there was a stray string that got a little messed up….)

But the best part is what it’s made out of. Can you tell? Take a guess, and click here to see if you’re right!


And here is our most recent — and in some ways most exciting — weaving project! There was so much care taken with every step of this piece, and I think it shows. Here’s the process we went through to make it. You can click on the photos below to see them larger:

  

  1. The “warping board” where we measure out lots and lots of string. We wind it around those wooden pegs so that it doesn’t get tangled while we work. The “warp” is the long, long string that goes all the way from one end of the weaving to the other, and makes the fringe on the ends of our scarves (the other string is called the “weft”).
  2. We dyed this warp using some Tee Juice markers. We wanted to try ikat dying, where we draw a pattern on the threads, but it proved too difficult to do sprawled all over the museum floor in the middle of the afternoon.  So Kevin and I grabbed some empty jars and water and used some tie-dying techniques to just stain the string.
  3. Look at that beautiful, dyed chain of warp string! It’s wrapped up in a crochet chain to prevent it from getting tangled. Most of the work involved in this part of the process is keeping things from getting tangled.

  

  1. We’ve started “dressing” or “warping” the loom. All that string is wound around the back beam, which keeps it (surprise!) from getting tangled. It also keeps it nice and tight and out of the way.
  2. When preparing the string it’s important to keep everything in order. We use this “cross” system where the strings alternate up and down. This way they can’t get past each other and cut in line!
  3. A close-up from the finished scarf. You can see where some parts of the warp string are lighter and some are darker. This is called “verigation”, which is also used to describe some plant leaves.

And, of course, I should mention all the very hard work by our visitors who did the actual weaving! Both of these were made with great care, attention to detail and patience. Thanks to everybody who helped out, especially the couple visitors who spent literally hours working on them!

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