Last year I acquired a countermarch Harris Folding Loom, sans instructions (see July 4, 2011 post). This put me on a part-time quest -- between life's tasks and work and other distractions, like knitting -- to figure out how to put it together! Oy, the diagrams for the treadles just did not make sense.
I joined the NY Guild of Handweavers, where I attended a talk by David Van Buskirk — My Weaving Education at Handarbetes Vanners, Stockholm with Age Faith-Ell. It was an inspiring lecture on his time studying weaving in Sweden with Age Faith-Ell, and the place of women in design in the early 20th Century. I spoke with him after, he suggested I take a course at FIT, and that was a game changer.
At first I was skeptical that I would find the key to my loom problems in class. But I put my head down and started weaving again, a series of samples for presentation, due April 2.
- Plain weave
- 2/2/ Twill -Right Hand
- Reversing 2/2 Twill
- 2/2 Broken Twill
- 1/3 Filling-faced Twil
- 3/1 Warp-faced Twill
- 3/1 Reverse Warp-faced Twill
- 1/3 Reverse Filling-faced Twill
- Combination Stripe: 3/1 and 1/3 Twill
- Basket Weave (oy!)
- Double Cloth (very cool)
- Rib Weave (my fav)
- Basket Weave and Rib Weave
- Reversing 2/2 Twill in 2 colors
- Combination Stripe: 3/1 and 1/3 Twill with chenille) and...
- "Not" Basket Weave…it is a variation of Plain weave! (I actually like it a lot, and a very happy accident)
I spent hours getting the sample cards hand lettered and samples cut apart and affixed. Then I discovered a huge mistake… My basket weave sample was WRONG! The weaving did not match the draft chart. Oh no!
With no time to return to the studio and do another (I think I had removed from the studio loom the warp to start the next assignment) I looked at my loom and decided that NOW was the time to conquer the treadle problem. I had to weave another basket weave sample that was the correct structure before class.
I took a deep breath, pulled out all my found-on-the-internet instructions and my scribbles of what I thought the treadle chart meant, got down on the floor and started to make sense of all the sticks and strings. Step one to treadle success. (They probably need some tweaking… but I had to get to the next step of warping on the loom.)
I wound my first very short warp out of old pearl cotton that I had in a stash in the garage (yes, the garage). Took a deep breath and tied it onto the loom, sorted thru 120 thread heddles on 4 shafts with the required POINT DRAW, END AND END and STRAIGHT DRAW as per the original assignment. I prayed that it would work. It did. I wove my first sample on MY loom. I will always remember what BASKET WEAVE is, and how to chart its structure. I am thrilled. With panic I found the courage to face the demons that held me back. I can now start weaving. I am so excited.