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those challenges and WEAVING

dayenu | Posted in General Discussion on

I almost completed my goals for the september challenge except by the time i got to the linen russian peasant dress the weather was getting colder and I couldn’t see working on something i would not wear till next summer. so instead I made some felted buttons for a pink wool jacket, added some funky felted flowers to the shoulders and worked on perfecting my felt geodes. I also started a weaving class.

They have me working on a massive counter balance loom with twelve treadles and I am almost finished dressing the loom for the sampler the teacher is having me make so I get to know a variety of patterns.

Then I will have to decide about using the community center looms on an ongoing basis or maybe buying a small loom. Who has a loom? What kind? What do you weave. I am thinking I want to weave my own fabric for sewing. not just make runners mats, shawls and blankets.

so weavers ———- please speak up


  1. SewingWriter | | #1

    Interesting discussion topic! This is not the first time that weaving your own fabric for sewing has been mentioned on an internet forum -- albeit usually said in jest because of shrinking resources for garment fabrics.

    I gave myself permission to pursue a life-long dream of learning to weave just this spring.  Took the week-long beginning weaving class at The Mannings http://www.the-mannings.com and bought an 8-shaft Mighty Wolf because it was the largest loom for my budget. After doing towels and scarves for practice I dove into yardage. Tencel yarns are my favorite of the moment.

    Are you going to Convergence?  I'll be teaching beginner-level sewing with handwovens; and have written sewing articles for the last several issues of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot http://www.weavespindye.org. I've also covered the same topic in diluted form at http://www.sewing.org Look under "Sewing Guidelines".

    What part of the country do you live in that you are lucky enough to have a community center with looms?  I'm so jealous!

    1. User avater
      dayenu | | #3

      wow!!!two others responding . Great !  I will check out the resources that sewing writer lists, thanks so much for that information.  As for how long it takes to weave basic yardage I cant answer that yet. thisis the first time I have dressed a loom and am making a runner thats 15 epi and about 12 inches wide and two yards long. because i am new to this the teacher is keeping me within very confined limits... even the vocabulary is new to me. dents reeds hedles sleying reeds. I love it all. Monday I am going to finish dressing the loom so for thursday's class I will be ready to start.

      I was looking at a schact table loom with four shafts that I can put on a stand. takes up less room and still has some versatility. I get to look at jacks and countermarche looms but the one I am using is a 50 inch counterbalance that I could literally climb into. I cant wait to start going nuts with color and play with different yarns.


  2. User avater
    CostumerVal | | #2

    Not a weaver.  Yet.  Just recovered an 8 heddle floor loom from my mothers barn.  She built it about 20 yrs ago and never dressed it.  I'm going to have to build a few pieces to get it working.  It seems to be a variation of a Jack Loom with alot of wheels instead of levers.  It works like a roman shade actually.   The reed is 15 dent,  and the width is 45".   I have 3 old books from the 70's with substantial water damage and barn dirt.  However, they seem to have more info in them then any weaving book currently on the market.  My question is, how long does it take to weave a yard of fabric.  I know that this depends on how many threads per inch, and how complicated the weave design, but I'm looking for a realistic time.  One of the books mentioned that a really fast weaver can do a yard an hour on a home floor loom.  It didn't mention thread size, count, width, or design.  (I'm assuming there was no design)  This is as unrealistic as the Bond Knitting machine claim that a sweater can be made in 2 hours.  I takes me 2 days. ( I did have a color change, but no shaping and no stitch patterns).  Totally excited about a weaving thread!

  3. fiberfan | | #4

    Weaving is great fun and has changed how I look at commercial fabrics.  I have been weaving for a couple of years.  I haven't yet sewn with handwoven fabric but I will next spring, if not before.   My weaving guild is bringing Daryl Lancaster to teach 2 classes.    One of the classes is making a jacket out of handwoven fabric.  I am thinking about what kind of summer fabric to weave this winter for the class.

    Do you have a weaving guild in your area?  Guilds can be a great resource.  Mine has a great library and some very knowledgeable weavers who share their knowledge.  Most  of the time our meetings are presentations by guild members sharing things they have learned.

    I have 3 looms: an 8 shaft Mighty Wolf (36"), an 8 shaft 24" Ashford table loom and a 12 shaft 45" Leclerc.  I suggest you look at Ashford table looms before deciding which table loom to buy.  The last workshop I attended was a round robin workshop.   There was variety of table looms and a couple of small floor looms.  Of the table looms I wove on, I like the Ashford the best.  Several people commented they liked the loom also.

    I agree with wanting to weave fabric for sewing, but don't overlook other things.  My sister loves handwoven dishtowels (first non-sample project on my own).  I get lots of comments about my favorite shawl, a broken twill wool shawl from fingering weight yarn with 1/2 the warp hand-painted.  This shawl is a big part of the reason I wear shawls instead of jackets except for the coldest part of the winter.

    One warning, weaving requires with a new stash.  It also may lead to dyeing which requires supplies and therefore storage space. <g>


    1. User avater
      dayenu | | #5

      the 24 inch ashford is what I have been looking at so i am glad to hear you mention it. I already dye and paint silk so I am set up for that. I have been doing that for several years now and do alot of felting.

      what led me to weaving was a way to incorporate  weaving into the feltl and silk items i make.

      what are your favorite dyes? I am using fiber reactive which are quick with silk but need cooking with wool and so far I only do small batches in the microwave. I know a woman who uses her oven but I am not sure how my family would go for that - laughing. they think I am grabbing too much space as it is.

      1. fiberfan | | #6

        I don't have a favorite dye.  My color mixing skills aren't the greatest so I tend to buy the colors I want to dye already mixed.  I choose acid dyes based on which kind of dye has the colors I want.  Most of my fiber reactive dyes are procion mx though I have a couple of cibacron f dyes.

        You can cold batch fiber reactive dyes on wool and silk.  I have done a few samples using these instructions from the dyer's list owner.  If you live in a sunny area, you can dye wool or silk with sun generated heat.  I haven't tried it yet but some members of my spinning guild have dyed roving in a black plastic bag in their yard.

        What kind of things do you felt?  I have done a little wet felting and had some fun with a friend's needle felting machine in January.  I have Sharon Costello's Featherweight Felt and plan on trying her methods.

        Have you dyed fabric to sew or dyed sewn clothes?  A big part of my learning to dye was a desire to have the colons I want.  I am working on my 2nd muslin with fabric I can dye if the muslin is wearable.  I have also sewn a couple of tops with hand-dyed fabric.

        Joanne (so many ideas, so much fiber, so little time)

        1. User avater
          dayenu | | #9

          Thanks so much for the cold batch instructions. I can use the sun in summer but here in Portland cold batch will be much more useful the remainder of the year. So  I just need a few more chemicals. I will start testing it this week. Thanks again.

          Initially I was felting handbags etc. knitting and then felting. But last year after we moved I finally got a larger studio with a work sink and so I switched to water felting sheets of felt and then turning them into littlle art whimsies.  some are in the photo gallery. Now I am working on non functional vessels and small oddities I call geodes as they remind me of the geological thing. but an artist friend of mine has referred to them as eggs of possibilities- a concept I like alot.

          I also have a needle felting machine that I use for smaller pieces or embedding fibers into silk chiffon.

          I also felt onto silk or wool to make decorative scarves and talliitot ( jewish prayer shawls) the one I made for this fall is white wool with black hebrew calligraphy floating all over the space as if the words tumbled from the sky. If I remember I will take a photo and post it.  

        2. User avater
          dayenu | | #26

          I dyes a bunch of roving with the cold batch method this morning and it's perfect. thanks again for telling me. No more carrying boiling dye across the kitchen.

          once again Gatherings came to the rescue !!

          1. fiberfan | | #27

            I'm glad it worked.  It is amazing how much we can learn from online communities like Gatherings.


            edited to fix typo

            Edited 10/12/2007 7:20 pm ET by fiberfan

  4. loomchick | | #7

    Oh, boy!  A discussion I can really participate in!

    I've been weaving for over 38 years . . . and, fortunately/unfortunately (depending upon how you look at it), I weave better than I sew . . . although, the majority of my sewing is using handwovens.

    One advantage of learning to weave is developing the ability to create your own fabrics . . . with the continuing demise of fabric stores that sell unique and distinctive fabrics, it's becoming more difficult to find fabrics that suit your needs.

    Another advantage of learning to weave is that it will escalate your knowledge of fibers and woven fabrics . . . an invaluable source of knowledge when looking at fabrics to purchase instead of weave.

    It's so good to read messages from others that weave!

    Robyn Spady



    1. User avater
      dayenu | | #8

      Fantastic work !! Thanks for sharing. I am in Portland. Where are you?

      1. loomchick | | #10

        I'm located in Bremerton, WA . . . about three hours north from Portland.

        The Portland Handweavers Guild has nearly 200 members and meets at the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR

        I've taught two workshops for them at Ruthie's Weaving Studio, 3131 SE 50th Portland, OR (503) 232-7328 . . . A truly remarkable place.  It's so exciting to walk in and see so many looms and weavers!

        I'm a member of the Seattle Weavers Guild.  Our annual show and sale will be held on October 25-27.  If you or anyone else can, I hope you will come by and see what we're up to.  It's an enormous sale.  http://www.seattleweaversguild.com/



        1. User avater
          dayenu | | #11

          ahhhhhhhhhh Multomah art center is where my weaving class is . cool !!

          1. fiberfan | | #13

            I didn't know there was a place like that in Portland.  DSIL and children live west of Portland so sometimes I get to see fiber things there.  Have you toured the Pendleton mill in Washougal?  I scheduled my trip for Christmas last year so I was there before the mill closed for Christmas.  The only problem was our guide was new so she couldn't answer most of my questions.


          2. User avater
            dayenu | | #14

            I just moved to Portland last year. But fiber arts are thriving !!

            Edited 10/8/2007 9:15 pm by dayenu

    2. fiberfan | | #12

      I saw both your weaving and sewing when you taught a workshop in Salt Lake this spring.  I think both are remarkable.


  5. BernaWeaves | | #15

    I've been weaving for almost 20 years, and spinning and knitting for longer than that.   Although I learned to sew in middle school, it was a horrible experience, and I've never been happy sewing on my antique machines I inherited from my great grandfather and grandmother.  They're beautiful to look at, but . . .

    I finally bought a brand new Janome a few months ago, and I'm starting to sew on it.  What a pleasure.  Good tools make all the difference.  I even got a dress form (Uniquely-You from the Atlanta Thread Company) to make fitting easier.

    I have a 36 inch 4 shaft Schacht standard loom, a 25 inch 8 shaft Baby Wolf, and an 18 inch 4 shaft Wolfpup for workshops.  I also have an inkle loom,  a marudai,  and 2 Reeves spinning wheels (a Norwegian double decker and a Shaker Chair wheel).

    I teach a study group of about 11 people once a month, and I'm going through every weave structure I know.  It should take about 5 years to do it all, I think.  

    I've made several items from my handwovens, but I try to keep the styles simple.

    I'll be at Convergence in Tampa in 2008.  

    We should post a new thread right before Convergence and see who all will be there so we can look for each other, just to say, "Hi" and put a face with a name.


    1. User avater
      dayenu | | #16

      would you be willing to post pics of your hand wovens? Thanks.

      1. BernaWeaves | | #17

        I would, but I don't have a digital camera.

        Look how long it took me to go from a 1902 Singer Treadle machine to a computerized Janome in 2007?   You expect me to go from an 35 mm camera to a digital camera in less than 105 years?   Heck, I only got a cell phone last year, and I haven't even turned it on yet.


        Edited 10/9/2007 1:26 pm ET by BernaWeaves

        1. User avater
          dayenu | | #18

          hahahhaha yeah I can understand. I have never gotten or sent a text message but I am still a few years ahead of you. and you found gatherings online. bravo fir you.

        2. rodezzy | | #19

          Boy, that is too funny.  I don't have a up-to-date digital camera myself.  I have a real old one that my boss gave me when he sent me to buy a new digital camera for company use.  It goes straight to a floppy disk, then I can pop the disk into my computer and give you pictures.

          Good luck.

          1. User avater
            dayenu | | #20

            and you take any regular photo to kinkos and they convert it to a digital photo.

          2. BernaWeaves | | #21

            OK, so now I have to buy film, take a picture, get the film developed, pick the photos up, take them to Kinkos, get a disk, and take it back to my computer that doesn't have a disk drive and wave it in the air infront of the screen hoping that somehow the image will teleport itself into the Internet.

            And do  you know the worst part?   I do computer tech support for a living.  I just support really boring accounting software, so this really isn't my thing.



          3. user-51823 | | #22

            as an artist, i'm always on a strict budget. but my low-end digital camera paid for itself within weeks. i take lots of photos, for fun, for reference, for organizing, and of my kindergartener for the grandparents. film and developing gets pricey, but with a digital, you can see bad shots on the screen and delete them without printing. and you can print only those you want, and do it immediately instead of waiting to fill up a roll of film (which sometimes meant wasting it.) you can also just save photos onto your computer to look at there without ever printing.
            depending on how much you use a camera, or how much you WOULD use one if film and developing fees were no longer an issue, a digicam can be a very wise purchase. just my 2cents-

            Edited 10/11/2007 2:57 pm ET by msm-s

          4. Cherrypops | | #23

            you have a sense of humour! Software and hardware are two very different things.

            If you were to use a camera which takes 'film' yes, that is what you do.

            I love my digital camera, no 'film' to take out in the dark room, takes over a 100 photos, can see exactly what I've taken,when i've taken it and if I don't like it i delete it immediately, plug the camera into the pc via the usb, and upload them to the hard drive. and then print or upload here on 'gatherings'.

            You should look at getting one, they are very useful.

            **Digital camera talk should be posted in another discussion...

            Can we get back to talking about Challenges and WEAVING now please.





          5. User avater
            dayenu | | #25

            here is the loom I am using in class


    2. loomchick | | #24

      I'll be at Convergence too! 

      I will be teaching a three-day pre-conference workshop There's Two Sides to Every Cloth on over a dozen different ways to weave double-faced fabric . . . and then I'll be teaching several seminars during the conference.

      I love Convergence!  It's such a thrill to see so many fiber artists together . . . the vendor hall often takes my breath away (plus, my money) at the sight of so many looms, shuttles, yarns, etc.

      And, yes . . . we should try to plan a Weavers that Sew rendezvous during Convergence . . . perhaps at the fashion show exhibit.

      Robyn Spady



      Edited 10/11/2007 8:30 pm ET by Loomchick

      Edited 10/11/2007 8:31 pm ET by Loomchick

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