Taking a Weaving Workshop (video)

Everything you needed to know about taking a weaving class, but were afraid to ask…

This short video shows what it takes to get ready for a weaving workshop. In our Beginning Weavers program, the preparation work of winding and beaming the warp, threading the heddles, sleying the read, and tying on the cloth beam is done in class, but for most workshops, like the one shown here, attendees are given a draft and a materials list and maybe a pre-wound warp before class and are expected to arrive at the workshop with their loom fully dressed and ready to weave. In my case, this was my third weaving workshop, the first being the beginner’s workshop, and the second a card-weaving workshop, where all work was done in class. I’ve done a project at home on a 4-shaft loom, and demonstrated weaving on a pre-dressed loom at the Thurston County Fair, but this is my first 8-shaft project. In this class, we were given a choice of threading drafts a few weeks in advance, and the treadling tie-ups (for floor looms) and lift plans (for table looms) were provided the first day of the workshop. The objective of the class was to demonstrate the effects of different treadling patterns with the same threading.

Note during the video, that each step in the threading and weaving is carefully marked off on the draft or lift plan, and a short sample woven before class to check for and correct threading errors. For long treadling sequences, it is wise to make several copies and mark them as you go. Many weavers keep a metal clipboard with movable magnetic markers to keep track of their progress. For simple, repetitive treadling, most weavers simply memorize the pattern, much like musicians memorize a score, stopping only at the end of a complete pattern repeat. The tools used in the video include a warping frame, lease sticks, raddle threading hook, combination threading/sleying hook, and boat shuttles. Not shown is a bobbin winder to wind bobbins or perns for the shuttles. Many weavers use a cordless electric drill to wind bobbins. I also used a metal bar and clamps to spread the warp while beaming (a creative experiment), but many weavers will use an assistant to hold and tension the free end of the warp, and pass the warp through the harness with the heddles moved to one side. This is warping back to front, as the warp is threaded from the back to the front through the heddles, then the reed.

Weaving in Twill from Larye Parkins on Vimeo.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Larye. Bookmark the permalink.

About Larye

New weaver and amateur loom mechanic. 50-year career in information technology, now self-employed and semi-retired: specialize in Unix systems administration, web site development, and bioinformatics applications programming. Other interests include bicycle touring, aircraft construction, and quilting. Married to weaver/spinner/quilter/cyclist Judy.

3 thoughts on “Taking a Weaving Workshop (video)

  1. Interesting video, Larry. I have a couple of weaving suggestions. First, as you wound your warp onto the back beam, I noticed that some of the threads were at or outside of the edge of the paper. This will result in tension issues. My suggestion is that the paper be significantly wider than the warp so no ends “fall off” the edge of the paper as you wind.

    It also looked like you were threading the heddles and sleying the reed as a single step. This required that you move from the front to the back of the loom frequently. I would suggest threading all heddles (from the front of the loom) and then sleying the reed. That way you wouldn’t have to keep moving back and forth and any errors that needed correcting are easier to correct.

    • Thanks, Ardith. I noticed as I was winding that the paper was marginally too narrow for the warp, but was under a time crunch for class. I may retension the warp to continue on at home with the rest of the warp. On a floor loom, I would normally pull the warp through and do the threading and sleying from the front, but this is a small loom and I am tall, so I mostly stood over the loom on one side and worked from both sides. Here I moved to the side for the benefit of the camera, so this is a bit misleading…

  2. Larye, thank you, inspirational, instructional, and don’t feel so alone in my loom preparation.

Comments are closed.