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Looming Danger

Looming Danger

Sure, we’ve made some beautiful things here, but not every weaving experiment goes well.  Sometimes… well, sometimes this happens. If our strings aren’t strong enough, they’re liable to break, shred or be otherwise completely messed up.

Here are some other problems, surprises, and discoveries:

DENSITY

Sometimes you can really tell who was doing the weaving! Every visitor who works on the loom does things just a little bit differently: a little looser, a little tighter, larger or smaller stripes. Every person who works on a piece leaves their own mark. This photo shows two ends of the same scarf. The one at the top is very even, while the bottom is looser and more irregular. The person who worked on the pink and blue on the bottom left made each row very tight (see where the white edges are pulled together?) and the rows far apart. The green and pink at the bottom, however, have loose rows and are far apart.

WEFT PATTERN

“Weft” is what we call the back-and-forth strings which visitors add on when they use the loom. Usually when we weave, the weft goes over a warp string, then under the next one… over-under-over-under, 1-2-1-2. Somehow this part ended up being an over-over-over-under pattern instead! And it happened in the same way for several rows. It’s a pretty cool looking mistake.

DROPPED WARP

Our loom is a four-harness loom, which means that the long warp strings are connected to one of four different pieces that can lift the strings up or drop them down. Sometimes, one of these comes loose and can no longer lift. This is what it looks like on the back of the weaving when that happens: the weft string (in this case, the colored string) doesn’t get lifted up, and so it doesn’t become part of the over-under pattern. It’s just a loose string hanging off the bottom!

WARP PATTERN

That long warp string doesn’t have to be all the same color! In this experiment, we used tan and red stripes. The weft is all different colors — here you can see green, dark red, bright red, pink and black. A pattern of crisscrossed stripes like this is called a “tartan”, and a tartan-patterned fabric is called a “plaid”.

Unfortunately, the string we used for our plaid was kind of fuzzy, and as it was pulled through the loom the fuzz would make knots and all the strings would get stuck, or broken. We decided to also try weaving pieces of fabric into this one, instead of just yarn. In this picture you can see a bit of both. This made it very thick and heavy.

MAKING FABRIC

Right now, most of the pieces we’ve made on the loom are just long scarves. But this little test piece was sewn into a bag! We sewed it exactly the same way we would sew regular fabric, and it works just as well. Plus it’s exactly the colors and pattern we wanted! This is a small piece from the plaid experiment shown above.

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