I will not say that weaving came naturally to me. But I always enjoyed it and have been doing it for over 30 years. My sister is a fantastic painter. She was always creative too. She used to sing and do theatre. But she really began painting as an adult. I am so pleased to have one of her masterpieces in my front hallway. I know she worked hard at it but she made it look easy in that the finished product was so nice. My weaving wasn’t always nice. I threw out some scarves I made early on because I didn’t understand the idea of different shrinkage. The wool in the scarf fulled and shrank while the mohair at the edges did not giving a bulbous and very unappealing look. They were warm but entirely awful.
It took me about 25 years to finally feel proficient, to feel really proud of what I was producing and feel ready to sell it to the public. But I learned some lessons along the way. Some were about myself and some were about weaving. Other weavers will have different opinions, but these are mine and I am sticking to them. In addition to the lesson on differential shrinkage
What I’ve learned from weaving:
- I will never weave with linen. Lots of people love it but it seems a real pain in the butt. It likes to be kept moist and I don’t have the patience for that.
- I was told early on by other weavers in my weaving class at the Toronto District School Board ( https://www.ugdsb.ca/continuing-education/course-guides/?gclid=CjwKCAiAwrf-BRA9EiwAUWwKXkLukyKuL5COlgBW6EUtASg8KPNLPR0-4FG29lEYdtfsN4RraZwXlBoCnbAQAvD_BwE) that I could never weave with mohair in both the warp AND the weft. So of course that is exactly what I did. The lesson here? I rarely do exactly as I am told. I like to figure things out for myself and if you tell me I “can’t” do something I am sure as heck going to try.
- No matter how many times I have put a warp on the loom if I don’t pay close attention I WILL make a mistake.
- Most colours will work together if you let them.
- My mind wanders and I hate routine and mundane tasks. When I started weaving I loved the fact that I couldn’t think of anything else but the weaving. I found it meditative. Once I got fairly good at weaving I started enjoying the design process more than the weaving itself. Because my mind would wander while treadling and then I would make mistakes. Very annoying! I learned that I can only listen to music that isn’t in English or has no lyrics.
- I have learned that colour and pattern (but mostly colour) makes the world go round.
- Tencel, which is a cellulose fibre, has a beautiful sheen but it wrinkles like crazy!
- Wool is a great heat regulator and will stay warm even when wet. Also it does not promote allergies as dust mites will not live in it if you make a wool rug.
- Knitting yarn, no matter how pretty is a bit too springy for weaving under tension.
- I will never again work with acrylic yarns as they do no have enough stretch for me. I like to weave under fairly high tension.
- No matter how many scarves I make for my husband he will lose them one at a time.
Obviously I have learned a great many things over the years but I have to save some things for another blog post! Stay healthy everyone.