The warping process is a beautiful one! I know some don’t agree with this but it can be very meditative and affirming in a slightly bizarre way. The way the yarns follow each other in a precise path around the warping board pegs, ordered by a cross and creating a design of the imagination but in the process of becoming a physical cloth. The Saori way of purposely using a random selection of yarns keeps our mind attentive to colour and texture too. The absolute order and rhythm of warping creates, I think, a right mind for the weaving ahead. A mind of order and peace. The warping isn’t a free form thing as far as getting those yarns onto the loom in an ordered and even tension for weaving. The Saori set up is more forgiving than others on the loom but you have to have the yarns ordered and thread and sley the loom correctly. There are a few ways to warp up the Saori looms. Read more
Posts from the ‘Saori’ Category
Last month I had the pleasure of being with Saori weavers at Morisset Spinners and Weavers in NSW. A few of the weavers had already ‘caught’ my Saori addiction and the cloth discoveries were so interesting. Two full days of weaving and getting to know each other eventuated in metres of expressive cloth destined for clothing, wall, warmth and just plain ‘looking at joy’.
The Morisset weavers are a growing and particularly keen group of weavers. They seemed to lap up everything and their interests in different types of weaving are diverse.
Morisset weavers have a dedicated storeroom and a space to meet and learn weaving and spinning. Many small places in Australia have these and I’m always heartened that handweaving opportunties survive in pockets everywhere. We’re all thirsty for hands-on craft skill learning and doing it in happy, supportive and conflict free social gatherings. Morisset is managing this well. The historical basis for these groups is the guilds system from England and although this has greatly changed in that the guilds aren’t like unions or political like in previous times, it’s spirit of teaching and passing on skills remains. This history is a very significant one and perhaps one that we don’t promote enough. Read more
The WX90 has just been released for customers interested in w i d e. I’m not a wide cloth girl and always looking to narrow cloth for dynamic design when I join it and for the limits on my body when I’m weaving it. After many years of weaving wide I found that 40-60cms was the comfy width for me. However I am a bit taken aback by the WX90. As it is the same simple counterbalance two shaft system of the WX60 looms with the normal chair height, (unlike the big European floor looms) it is quite delightful, easy on the body and fast for weaving. It also folds up and out of the way like the WX and SX60’s.
Of course wider means using more yarn. The warps use more yarn and the weaving does too. But the loom will certainly be a great fit for many weavers out there doing two shaft weaving for wraps, baby wearing designs, small blankets and simple coat style garments. The loom allows 90cms in total width in the reed. There will be pre-wounds available and also 4 shaft conversion kits but everything including the loom is a special order at this time.
I took the loom for a run on a wide cloth x 6 metres and it is weaving up very fast with the light, gravity tandem of the counterbalanced action. The warp went on like a dream and everything just worked! This test warp was set with a 4 dents per centimetre in the 5dpc reed which comes with the loom. To do this just thread the reed dents (slots) with a 1,1,1,0, configuration and your sett will be wider and lighter which is great for thicker yarns.
The internet and social media is full of advice and opinion on what to do, what not to do and if you are doing it – you’re probably not doing it right. The news is overwhelmingly full of opinion and solutions based on narrow personal observations. So how could I possibly qualify to answer “should you weave everyday?”
I also have a personal world with personal observations that I could inflict on you all. But I can see how variable and different people are in their approach to everything. I think you do something everyday because you want to (or you have to). You’re drawn to it and it gives you a ‘spark’. Some people are more goal centred and disciplined in their approach to weaving, and others like to dabble and slowly meld into the world of creating textiles. It works all ways. Weaving isn’t a chore (at least for most of us)…its a time away from other things to enjoy and savour. If this isn’t how it feels, a break or looking to doing something different on the loom may re-ignite your resolve.
I had a few warpers in the studio of late. This step in weaving gets you designing your own fabric from the beginning and can be a mesmerizing and relaxing process. Certainly a rewarding one. Especially if you are warping for a saori style cloth.
I’ve also had some weavers in the studio as groups or couples, enjoying a few hours or a day away from the usual. Sometimes doubling up as a celebration. What better way to spend some time with people than enjoying colour and entwining. I think it’s better than Scrabble because you get to take a cloth home. Groups can spark and trigger your own ideas so weaving with others is relaxing and rewarding.
Maybe you would like a ‘kicker’ to weave with. This has to be something connected with our senses. For example a piece of music can make a basis for a woven cloth. Music has dynamics, tone and colour. It’s a feeling created in you and felt with our hearing. This approach isn’t for everyone, and natural images are probably the most often used for inspiration. Another one is our sense of taste. Can we create a beetroot cloth?? One cloth I’m not going to make is a green bean one as I don’t like the taste…but then that might make the best cloth of all.
Should you weave everyday? Maybe. Some days I just daydream about it, and that’s nice too.
It’s little people time again.
Little people aren’t worried about how they are weaving or even what they are doing at first. Just using a beater to create a cardboard stiff structure of cloth is fun. Here my one year old granddaughter can’t reach the weaving pedals on the smallest setting of the Saori Piccolo but she can get up into the seat and have a go at something. I so wish I had these looms when my daughters were little. They might have even grown up to be interested in weaving.
When my daughters were young we did frame loom weaving and lots of inkle loom weaving but a floor loom with dimensions suited to a small growing body weren’t around. I find a 4 or 5 year old can weave independently on these and by the time they are 7 years they are really knowing what to do and choosing design and colours. Sometimes attention span is short but that’s ok too. Here is my niece weaving in 2008.
By 11 to 15 years they are capable of just about everything, although more application or interest will be needed for learning drafts and structure. But colour and fun is always there.
Learning to create your own warps has always been an integral part of the weaving process. And although the Saori looms have the unique pre-wound warps, there may come a day when you just need your own mix of colours, styles of yarn or different texture. Some people find the whole process meditative and Saori has some equipment that offers some more comfortable ways of building the warp and preparing for weaving. I’ve written an overview of the four different approaches and the equipment needed for each of them here. Read more
This weekend was full of the clacking of shuttles once again. Here Lydia is a 2nd time weaver to the studio. Following on from the theme of wider cloths on the loom, she took the opportunity to weave a full wrap. In two very full days of weaving she wove over two metres of fine and detailed work in wool.
When a cloth is cut down off the loom there is something about just looking and looking at whats been woven. Even though we can regularly unroll and see our work it is mostly hidden on that cloth beam providing a memory that doesn’t really reveal itself totally until we can hold it, look at it, feel it and wrap ourselves in it. The tape measure was a popular workshop tool too, with a regular measure to keep the weavers on track to completion. It is worth it to keep weaving to get a decent wrap around for our bodies rather than leaving it too short. A great project and achievement on the loom.
Together Lydia and Jan worked a long two days to finish their projects in studio time. I feel that every time I write about a workshop I’m full of gushing cliques. The dictionary meaning of gushing is “ (of speech or writing) effusive or exaggeratedly enthusiastic.” Never am I exaggerating my enthusiasm for woven work or for the weavers I encounter. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.