Handweaving

over, under, over, under, over, under.

Of course, the real beginning of cloth is in a seed or from the hair follicles of an animal. The history of cloth is a thread that runs many thousands of years deep. But for Live Textiles, once yarn is dyed and cloth is designed, the weaving process commences.

In my practice, usually, but not always - yarns are first wound into a warp on a warping reel or board. The warp is then taken to the loom for a very careful ritual of arranging the warp ends on the loom - 'beaming the warp'. Once the warp threads have been carefully and successfully stationed on the loom, individual heddles are threaded (as in the photo above), the warp is tied on to the cloth beam (as in the photo below), the treadles are tied up, the loom has been dressed. Now the weaver only has to keep bobbins full of weft yarn and keep the beat. Loom music.

When the warp has been fully woven and filled with weft, the process is not over. The fresh, loom state cloth must be cut from the loom, sewn or have the fringe twisted if it isn't secured by a hemstitch, wet finished and finally, ironed. Careful handwork all the way.

In addition to production, dressing the loom, making and finishing cloth, there is the question - how to be a zero waste producer? What to do with left over cloth and thrums? I use these things to make small secondary goods - pin cushions, bow ties, home goods. Thrums are great for pillow stuffing, embroidery, mending and using in sample weaving. In terms of dyebaths - that's pretty easy. I dye in the bath repeatedly until the colour it gives has been exhausted, at which point I pour the dye bath in the compost, give it to house plants or the garden.

 

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