Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weaving continues, and gets funner!

First, mechanics: here are the levers that control the raising and lowering of my little loom's harnesses (the four metal frames that hold the heddles).

When a harness gets lifted, the specific threads that have been drawn through its heddles are raised, allowing me to run a line of weft between those threads, and those that are left below, loose and level.

(That wooden, boat-shaped thing is the shuttle, and one of my favorite tools on the planet. It holds a bobbin suspended inside, which feeds out weft thread as the shuttle is passed through and amongst the warp threads.)

As you can see, I started by running a few lines of blue through, to stabilize the weave...a sort of scaffolding from which to start building the actual structure of the scarf (I'll remove them once the whole thing comes off the loom, before I tie up the ends). Then I started following my pattern, using the off-white, cloud-soft alpaca wool that I've been periodically cuddling on my shoulder like a kitten ever since I bought it last week. Seriously. Ridiculously soft.

This part of the process, for me, is a lot like watching seedlings poke their heads out of the soil. One knows, intellectually, that all that's needed for seeds to grow are a few basic elements--make sure they get sunlight and water, and that nothing stomps them out--and odds are, they'll grow into plants, all by themselves, because that's what seeds do. But still, somehow, it's always a thrill and a surprise to see them surviving, building on their own mysterious know?

That's how it feels to watch the pattern emerge. It makes sense that everything would work out as planned...but I never really believe it will until I actually see it before my eyes. Here's the pattern as it finally appeared, its first cycle.

As I keep working, advancing the wheel, and rolling the finished fabric around the front beam, I keep track of how long the woven portion is is by marking it with a tag every so often--keeping note of the inches, then feet, as they roll by.

I'm up to 52 inches at this point. Just a few feet to go!

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