When I was young… really young…. like six years old, I had a Nana. Nana was not my grandmother. She was a little old lady that lived two doors away in a little doll house of a house. It was Victorian in style and teeny tiny. There was a sitting room, a tiny kitchen with a little eat in area, a little bedroom with an attached bath. Between our homes was a huge Victorian with all the gingerbread. Her son Derby lived there with his wife Dodo. (Seriously, these are real names… Dodo was short for Dorthy.) Anyway, Nana owned our home and her son’s home, but none of that matters. Nana was not my grandmother, but she was like my grandmother. I would go over and play Chinese checkers with her, put together puzzles and sit and talk with her. I loved her. She used to make rag rugs. They were amazing. So when I saw on Art Center’s class list “not your great-grandmother’s rag rug” I totally didn’t see the NOT. I was thinking the coiled rag rugs…. LOL! We are talking weaving…. with a loom…. a big loom… with a warp and a waft… is that right?
Nina is the instructor and she is awesome. Poor thing… I don’t think she was expecting six rookies. And we were definitely rookies.
We started by wrapping the yarn (string) double thickness around the posts of a warp frame. This is a way of creating a cross area where the thread crosses and getting enough length for the looms. I know I didn’t explain that very well, but it was my first day and I am exhausted!
You click on any of these photos to make them larger. This particular step was hard on the back. I was using my chai tea moves… oops, no, I mean my T’ai Chi movements. I transposed. Not that I have ever learned T’ai Chi, but I have seen Calendar Girls twice and I can imitate the movements. It made moving the yarn around the spikes much easier on the back.
And when I was done, I waved my hands and voila! Finished rug! I wish. This is Nina’s. Isn’t it gorgeous. There is an old sweater, many cords as in corduroy pants, some t-shirts and assorted other fabrics in there.
Take a look up close!
And a close up of the “dark side”
There is a whole section of the procedure I can’t show because I was doing it. Once the warp is done, you have to carefully tie it all so as to not get it all tangled and lose the cross section.
Here you can see Nina making sure each section is tied securely so we can remove it from the warp frame and carry it to the loom.
The part that is missing is winding and smoothing out all the tangles as you get the warp rolled onto the loom. It’s a pretty neat process. I don’t know how anyone could do it by themselves. It took all six of us to do. Two of us to actually do both sides of the loom, one person to run and fetch and three people to watch and give valuable moral support. Once loaded on these ladies volunteered to work together to pull it through the spindles and tie it off. This means alot of threading and tightening and then tightening some more… and then one more time just to make sure. They then did a little bit of weaving of the thread on up, down, up, down weave. This is with just more of the same thickness of thread. You usually see it just above the tassels. (I got to do that on one of the machines before the class was over.)
This is a close up to show better what they are doing.
This is another loom with black thread that we were preparing. This loom is a table top loom and operates with levers on the side of the machine. I think I prefer the foot pedals myself.
So, finally someone is weaving. You can see how the machine is set up a little better now.
Now a close up so you can see the actual weaving. Most of that was done by Nina to show us how it is done. Most of the day was spent getting ready to weave. We have to wait a whole week before we can weave. In the meantime I am going through closets and bins and bags looking for interesting knits and weaves to use. I am still undecided how much I love it. I think I love the weaving, but the set up is a killer!