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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weaving - Beware the Rabbit Hole

There have been a few questions and comments about weaving so I thought I'd take a day and share some of how I got here.  Just a disclaimer:  I am in no way an expert and this is not an exhaustive list of resources, but this is what has helped me get where I am, so maybe it will help someone else!

First of all, when I finally started weaving, I knew a little bit about it.  My mother started weaving years ago but she uses the big floor looms.  The kind that are the size of an upright piano with different shafts and lots of pedals and strings and things everywhere.  She enjoys them, but personally I find them huge and ugly (this is just my opinion, I'm not judging anyone who likes that kind of loom).  I'm also not interested in the complex, patterned weave structures that these looms were made to do.  Give me plain weave (over, under, over, under) any day of the week and I'm a happy Lemon!  Finally, I had seen warping once, with the warping board, and the ties, and the chaining, and just NO!  I'm someone who isn't really happy working with two skeins of yarn at once.  The idea of several hundred lengths of yarn all at once, trying to keep it organized?  That just gives me the heebie jeebies!

I decided weaving isn't for me and went on my merry way. 

Fast forward a few years and I began noticing projects like this (you'll need to log into Ravelry to see these, sorry) and this wrap and a little weaving seed began growing in my brain.  Around that time, Knitty started its Get Warped series which was all about rigid heddle weaving for knitters.  As it turns out, rigid heddle looms are smaller than the large floor looms that had turned me off of knitting years ago.  Also, they were perfect for plain weave.  Once I learned about direct warping though, that was when the real problems started!  (Go watch that video, seriously!)  All of a sudden the most horrible part of weaving (to my mind) - warping - looked doable.

Soon I found myself lurking on the Rigid Heddle Looms group in Ravelry (they not only have lots of information, but they're a friendly group), comparing the various looms available and pricing them.  I spent several days looking at the Yarnworker site (she's the one who writes the Get Warped series of articles for Knitty, but she has even more at her own site).

Eventually, I decided to take the plunge.  I bought a Kromski Harp Forte 24 inch.  I also picked up Weaving Made Easy and Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom.    Those two books have basically taught me what I know and how to do it.  Just a note - they both include formulas for figuring yarn amounts and warp length but they do it differently.  My brain works better with one, not the other.  Both systems will get you the same answers, they just go about it from opposite directions.  (If you can't understand the first warping formula you read, check out the other one.)  And just in case you're math averse, it's not difficult math and you can use a calculator.  It's not really any harder than figuring out how many skeins to buy to knit a sweater.

I am still learning things, but I'm very happy with my choice to go with the rigid heddle loom.  The size works well for me (I'm 5'8") and it does exactly what I'm interested in.  I can plain weave all sorts of things and weaving the hand dyed yarns that would not knit up nicely is the perfect way to use them!

I hope this answers the questions you guys have.  Just remember, I did warn you about the rabbit hole!



Blogger Nicole said...

Thank you for the links! I have a Harp as well, but have only done one project on it because the warping was intimidating. I'll have to look into the other methods and see what works best for me!

2:09 PM  

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