15 July 2011

Loom-ing problems

Here's a post I seem to have written in July, but never got around to posting.

Last Christmas, I finally lowered my defenses and allowed my husband to get me a loom.

It seemed inevitable, not least because my husband, who has become enamored of all my fiber-related gadgets, has been eager to get me one for a couple of years. And I thought it would be a good idea, seeing as how I'm drowning in fiber and weaving, as we all know, uses up yarn much more quickly than knitting does.

It does, that is, if you actually do it.

Weaving has made me realize anew why knitting is a craft that appeals to me. You can be spontaneous in knitting. You can fudge knitting. And if you mess up, you can rip it out and start again.

Weaving, on the other hand, requires organization. It requires advance planning, working out all your measurements: how wide? how long? how many strands of yarn in the warp? It requires warping. Can we talk warping? It took me two days and I had yarn stretched out over the whole length of the living room. Then I missed one strand. Then I wasn't sure I loved the colors. No recourse, when you're weaving, unless you want to abandon the whole project.

Beginner weaving project

Weaving reminds me of sewing. I was never a good sewer. It requires a kind of detail and fussiness that I've never naturally been good at. With knitting, I can work to master the details and feel a sense of accomplishment. With sewing, I feel there are people who are just naturally better at this kind of thing than I am.

I also confess to a prejudice against the woven product. I mean, how many scarves, table runners, placemats and dish towels does a person need? This is patently foolish since I feel not at all limited when turning out socks and shawls and hats ad nauseam as a knitter, but psychologically the possibility of the occasional sweater offers a vent and a way to avoid the threat of repetition.

Beginner weaving project, in situ

When I originally wrote this, I was still working on a weaving project that I started in January and finished in July. I have to grudgingly admit that I kind of liked it when I was finished -- enough that we actually use it (despite its raggedy beginner edges). And I was really proud of my fringe.

Beginner weaving project

I promptly warped the loom with thick cotton to make dish towels.

My first dishtowel

I got about two inches away from finishing my first dish towel -- and put the loom aside for another 3 months.

I sort of admit that I may weave some things that I like, particularly when I start using thinner yarn - the thick wool and cotton I used in my first two projects make weaving rather slow going.

But I'm not sure it's about to replace spinning and knitting in my craft pantheon - and I'm not sure how much time I'll have to pursue it.

Though I have conceived a project to weave cushion covers for our IKEA dining room chairs, using some twine-tough heathery tweed yarn in two contrasting colors, that definitely has potential.

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