an.tic.i.pa.tion: noun: the act of looking forward; especially: pleasurable expectation
It’s less than a week until CNCH, Conference of Northern California Handweavers. It is a convention for handweavers, spinners, and basketweavers. This is the second time I’m going and it’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since I bought my first loom. It was at that convention that I took the plunge and bought a rigid heddle Glimakra loom. I love it and still weave smaller projects on it. The excitement and anticipation of being with my weaving and spinning friends is getting high.
At first, I wasn’t too sure how much I was going to like weaving. I was thinking it was going to get boring. Throwing the shuttle back and forth, pulling the heddle forward and putting it back. On and on and on. But what I found out, it that it can be quite meditative, and there is so much more that this little rigid heddle loom could do. I learned how to use pickup sticks to enlarge my repertoire of weaves, to give the fabric a different feel and appearance.
Inevitably, that was a gateway loom and a project came along that required a larger loom. Our Black Sheep Handweavers Guild had an interesting project last year that consisted of two workshops. The first one was to design what kind of fabric you would like for a jacket. We would then have the summer to weave the fabric, and in the fall there would be a second workshop cutting the fabric and sewing it into a jacket.
I borrowed a four shaft loom to use for the first workshop with Sharon Alderman, well known in the weaving world. I was so new to weaving much of the three day workshop went over my head, but enough sunk in that I knew if I wanted to do this project, my rigid heddle loom wasn’t going to be able to make the 6 yards of fabric needed for the jacket.
So I did what most fiber artists would do, I found a loom on eBay and bought it. It didn’t stop me that the loom was in Arizona, and even though initially, the seller said she would ship, I ended up driving to Prescott, Az. to pick up the loom. Hey, for that price, I would drive to Colorado, or Idaho. It only took me 12 hours to drive there, and it was great fun. I even took a side trip to the Grand Canyon, where I got snowed on!
When I got the loom home, I discovered what great shape it’s in and truly what a great deal I got. I proceeded to warp it up with a scarf project, just to get my feet wet, before starting the big project. This beautiful scarf came out wonderful and I passed it on to a good friend.
So it was time for the yardage. By that point I had forgot much of what I had learned in the first workshop, but I muddled through the warping, which was the hardest part. How to use the warping board, get it wound on the back beam, or is that even the right threading, ugh, what am I getting into. It was frustrating, challenging and I had a whole new appreciation for the direct warping of my little rigid heddle loom.
Once warped, it was easy. I decided on a simple 1-3 twill and went to town. Since I didn’t have enough of one color yarn, I made the weft yarn changes random enough that whatever I did, would look good. It was fun and went much faster than expected. I finished weaving in record time and being a new weaver, I was pretty gentle with the fabric, so the “finish” of the fabric was a somewhat loose weave. This proved to be a bit of a problem when it came time to actually cut out the jacket.
Workshop number two, three days with Daryl Lancaster, where we cut and sewed our hand woven fabric was a blast. Once I got over the scary part of actually cutting fabric I had put so much work into, it was fun. Daryl was able to put you at ease and come up with solutions to problems like a loosely woven fabric. Her backing suggestion was perfect! And tailoring techniques like Hong Kong seams kept those edges from continuing to unravel on me.
CNCH will be a great opportunity to reconnect with Daryl, with her class on creative seam and edge finishes.
I’m really looking forward to the spinning class that will teach me the techniques of how to spin cashmere. Yes, I want to make my own cashmere yarn! I’m going to be learning from one of the best, Judith MacKenzie, who has been teaching spinning for years.
To round out my classes, I actually have a weaving class. It’s called Overshot to Doubleweave: Color and Weave with a Colonial Touch with Jannie Taylor. It looks interesting, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. I haven’t done any overshot or doubleweave weaving yet.
The anticipation is killing me, I can’t wait to go jump in and learn all these new techniques. It’s going to be a long week of anticipation.