From Learner of Weaving to Teacher of Weaving

One of the most useful courses I have participated in in my professional life was a people management course where one of the requirements was to take one of the learning modules back to our work groups and teach the material. The objective was for us to observe how we learned differently when we had the role of teacher, rather than of student. This was in the days before budgetary constraints forced most professional development onto the online space. Online and intranet based training might be appropriate for compliance training, such as the requirements of the Competition and Consumer Regulations Act, which my employer requires us all to understand, but there are only so many ‘soft-skills’ you can learn via online learning. In my opinion, the same applies to hands on skills like weaving.

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Introductory Weaving: Class in Progress

It hasn’t been long since I completed the Hand weavers and Spinners Guild introductory weaving course, but with a little experience under my belt and a pretty decent reference library in my studio, I was happy to offer my services as teaching assistant in the current introductory course that is being offered over four full day Sundays.

Being a teacher has, indeed, made be a better learner. In addition to getting to know a charming and varied group of students, including an artist, a student of fashion and an early childhood educator, I have had the opportunity to help others with their warping, fetch and carry for the teacher and inspire others. I brought along my waffle weave scarf to show the class members my first project. One of the group decided she wanted to do a similar design so I added waffle weave to the class sampler. You can see the student’s sampler below. One of the major leanings for this student was the importance of an even beat, which she is well on the way to mastering.

The student had already done part of a previous introductory course at the guild. She brought in her work from that previous class and it was evident how far she had progressed since then, as the quality of her current work was way above what she achieved the first time.

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Student Sampler

A beginners class puts a big load on the teacher, especially at the warp preparation stage. We all learn at different paces and I was able to help one student who needed to understand the why as well as the what, while our teacher guided those with a faster learning style.

It’s been great fun and I recommend teaching to those who might be interested in seeing what they learn as a teacher, not a student.

All photos were taken and published with permission.

 

New Dorset Folding Loom

One of my guild friends is moving house and decluttering. Somehow we got to talking about that and she asked if I might be interested in buying her folding loom.

I didn’t have to think long about that one as I have coveted her loom (in the nicest possible way) when she has brought it to guild workshops. She seemed so comfortable and self sufficient sitting at her fold up loom while the rest of us cramped each other’s style and gave ourselves shoulder fatigue with our table looms all in a row.

Now that beautiful loom is mine.

Dorset Loom

I thought it might be a Dorset, make in New England, USA and an application of Scandinavian oil to the wood over the Easter holiday confirmed that. The Dorset name was stamped into the wood under the raddle. I think the raddle storage position on top of the castle is an innovation from my friend’s engineer husband, who like my beloved, is an enabler of her loom and yarn collecting as well as a provider of technical support.

The shafts move smoothly and the folding loom is easier to transport than my Ashford table loom. I’m also really pleased to have something that was owned by my friend, as she’s a terrific person and a good weaving mentor. We haven’t been able to spend much time together yet, but I’ve offered her loom visitation rights whenever she wants.

Mt first project will be two tea towels from the Ann Field book.

The Ashford table loom is on notice – behave or get sent to to an online auction.

The Origins of my Druva Floor Loom

I couldn’t be happier with my Druva floor loom. One day I might want a countermarche loom, or more shafts or a beater that’s hinged from above, not below, but for where I am in my fibre journey now, it’s perfect. The heddle eyes are big, the footprint of the loom is small, and it’s all put together in a straightforward way. I like the directness of one pedal, one shaft as that helps me learn directly how different treadlings result in different weave structures.

I bought the loom from a weaver who was planning to downsize but then didn’t. She later replaced the Druva with an eight shaft loom that required a road trip to bring home. I’m sure that will be a familiar story to some of you.

The latest (No. 657, March 2016) edition of Treadles, the newsletter of the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria taught me a bit about the origins of the Druva loom. Druva was the family name of Harry and Rasma Druva, who hailed from Latvia but emigrated to Melbourne in 1947 after meeting and marrying in a displaced person’s camp.

A medical student before the war, Rasma became a weaver and Harry made looms.

Rasma died in August 2015. Her obituary was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Summer and Winter at Rug Weaving Summer School

Once again, Summer School  at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria was a great learning experience and a highlight of my summer.

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Don’t you love the colours? Yarn from Velieris

This year’s theme was Summer and Winter. I  got going early with dressing my loom, using a supplied warp that had three (?) crosses in it. The early start was a good thing as I found that (more) rust had developed on the metal bars that hold the heddles. I’m sure those bars have a name. Don’t know what the name is, though. If you do, leave a comment.

The rust looked unattractive and stopped me moving the heddles easily. Tinkerer gave some furniture wax to treat the bars with and that helped. Now all I need is some way to clean up the reed, which is also a bit rusty.

The rug yarn was a beautiful colour and quality, tightly plied and perfect for the task. It came to me via a beautiful act,  a random act of kindness from my fellow blogger over at Reduce reuse recycle who was given the rug yarn samples by Velieris. She didn’t have a use for rug yarn and offered it to me, even bringing it around to my home on a hot day when there were crazy roadworks in my area. Thank you cheliamoose.

Before class I wove a heading and had a play with a pattern. It wasn’t looking right and it took me embarrassingly long to work out I should be weaving with two shuttles. This picture from Nutfield Weaver helped.

I’ll post pictures of my class samples when I’ve cut them off the loom. I might also show you my loom transport solution and the fold up loom table that Tinkerer made for me.

Small Format Rag Rug

My summer project is a test rag rug which will work as a bath mat or in a child’s room. The warp was a gift from the Textile Bazaar where it was lying in a storage box with a bunch of discards.

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I got all the width out of the warp that I could which is about 45cm on the loom.

The warp is made up of strips of old business shirts and a few old tops of mine, cut into 4cm strips, sorted by color and stitched together. The ski shuttle is a joy to work with. It came from a yard sale, most likely a deceased estate. I like to think the previous owner would be pleased to see it being used by the next generation.

The cutting and stitching is tedious.  My grandmother tore warp strips from old fabric and joined the strips with a low profile knot.

How do you prepare your rag rug weft?

Fancy Fox

One of my friends gave birth to a baby girl four months ago, providing me with the perfect excuse to make some fox blocks. I first saw the fancy fox block on a quilt made by Wombat Quilts and fell in love with it then.

 Fancy Fox  Quilt Top made up of Four Fox Blocks  in Pink and Grey  

If you want to buy the pattern, it’s available from Oh Fransson. It’s easy enough to make the blocks. Each large fox block measures 20 by 24 inches, which is a whole different scale to what I’ve worked with before. I like the amount of negative space though and the blocks come together quickly once you’ve done your cutting. They’re also a good way to use up your stash though the amount of waste involved in sewing the muzzle/background triangle does trouble me a little. 

This top will be going off to the long arm quilter due to a shortage of free time and because my Singer quilting machine has developed a timing problem, one that’s too expensive to have fixed by a professional. Tinkerer and I are planning a DIY repair session over the summer. If we can’t fix the Singer ourselves it might be useful as a boat anchor. Meanwhile I can continue piecing with my trusty Husqvarna. 

Heatwave Project: Christmas Stocking

It’s hard to believe but we had a heatwave in Melbourne in the last weekend before Christmas. Temperatures got up to 41 C.

As a city dweller with aircon, I was very fortunate. I was able to stay home and work on a craft project.

Here’s what I made. After taking a look at some photos on the internet, I made a pattern for a Christmas stocking and then I made a Christmas stocking.  It will be a gift for a workmate whose first two children have stockings but whose latest arrival didn’t. Until now.

It’s fully lined and has fusing to keep it stable. I even practiced some couture techniques, sewing the inner lining with a slightly larger seam allowance than the outer, and clipping curves through a single layer of fabric so that the cuts were distributed. It wasn’t necessary to go to those lengths, but it was fun to see what I could do.

Happy Holidays.