These are snapshots, out of focus, poorly composed, grab shots if you will. The spinning wheel is an Ashford, akin to a comparable Nikon camera. It is a venerable wheel, well respected among spinners. Who knew? I don’t. But here are the only three owners this wheel has known. Colleen is the third owner. Ha! Of course, how do you pass up a bargain. The previous owner knew the original owner and I met them all at the sale. Imagine that? It’s a small world.
I made these (heddles and the jig)! The jig was supposed to look more professional. This is the experiment – the jig made out of scrap before the final design is agreed upon. Heddles? Any weaver knows. They are made commercially. But we have an old barn loom. The request was for a handmade look. I’ve made/built the harnesses. Why not go ahead and make a jig for heddles too? Are you with me? No? Don’t fret. I have to tie the 8/2 cotton with (surgical) knots to create a hole/eye at the top, bottom, and middle. They need to be consistent. i.e. they need to be uniform. Damn! It ain’t easy. But yes! I started tying the heddles up and realized that my precision tying surgical knots gave me a distinct advantage. Don’t ask. I started. Then I was told there were four harnesses and that each harness required 200 heddles each. Maybe 400. But 200 for now. Per/each! Damn! I got myself into a load of work. Maybe I should make a nicer jig. Nah! No! That would change the eye holes. Yarggggh! Oh well! I’m back to work (OR). Remember that book? – Everything I learned in life, I learned in kinder garten. The very good news is that this operation can take days/weeks as opposed to an operation which is finished in the same calendar day. Oh yeah! I bet you have trouble even knowing what a heddle is? I’ve got about 750 to do as I write this post. Oh boy oh boy…
It (she, the barn loom) was not happy in the basement. Barn loom? You might envision a loom so large it needed to be housed in a barn. Nope. It was made from substantial timber because the builders were used to building barns. This lumber was the material they were used to working with. Oh?! Yeah, me too. I was relieved that it was not a large loom. Big enough. And heavy! Yup, the SOB needed to disassembled and transported upstairs piece by piece. The back beam is a roughhewn tree trunk. Dry, but still one heavy SOB. We squeezed it into a room with four other looms. Why do we need so many (looms)? Ha! I got cameras (digital, don’t ask about film please) TNTC – too numerous to count. But why do we have such a bulky hobby? Well, short answer, you do a lot of different things. Yeah, right. Don’t we all. Bottom line: sunny and happy!
Blown glass, woven fabric: anything lends itself to interesting inspection. The pattern on this woven garment was from individual dyed fiber. It was not printed. The pattern was done with a computerized loom. No, it was not a computer. And it was not done mechanically. It was all done by hand. But the plan and weave were aided such that a more complex pattern could be undertaken. Puzzled? Just take my word that this was a pretty good weave that I could never do in a million years of trying. Do ya think it’s easy? Huh? Ok?
Built them. Me. It was another simple (learning) project. Ha ha, you can’t even see the wood (mistakes). We have a lot of cones of yarn. Projects line up. You can never have enough “stash.” Just ask any weaver. I’ve been to a few estate sales. There were tons of cones on sale for pennies on the dollar. I would have to say that the cones move from home to home circulating from weaver to weaver. Sometimes things are made… Anyway, there is a lot of stuff and an excellent color palette. And I hope some product is forthcoming. Meanwhile it’s nice to see color in the room. Oh! The cords are all up out of the reach of the cats.
Made it. Me. I made it. Them. I recall the words of Barry Schact of Schact Spindle Company. The company started by making spindles from door knobs. It’s pretty simple really. You need a dowel and a round (knob) object. The funny thing is that we visited The Woolery. They had spindles from $12 to $100. And I am sure they are even more expensive as the intricate artwork is embellished. See: “Golding” (like the Ferrari of weaving gear). Duh! So I got an old spinning wheel part (broken and discarded) and a round disc (Michael’s). The dowels are from Lowe’s. We don’t go to Home Depot anymore. They are bad politically. Hooks too. A little stain and finish, done. I guess the price was about $10 – the pair. Oh! Sorry! I got dowels in Michael’s; these were made from wood knitting needles (Michael’s). Dead simple and eminently more economical. Thank you Barry. (We actually met him in Boulder about this time a year ago.)
We took a tour of a factory. Schacht Spindle Company started making spindles and are since famous for their weaving products of which they make well known and well regarded looms and spinning wheels. Barry, the President cordially met us when we showed up unannounced. He personally gave us a tour. The hand made products are made and assembled with highest regard to quality. Improvements are constantly being made. It’s a fine operation. There’s something nice about watching the care and craftsmanship so abundantly on hand as we toured. The sheep were photographed, reproduced and later painted from a trip to Scotland many years ago. Many thanks Barry; we were so impressed.
Fiber, it’s a new world for me. I’m following the process. The interim step is the spun fiber. It’s made into wondrous things – cloth. Pattern is a big part of the process. And this requires multicolored and multi-textured spun material. It’s a fascinating process. I like the graphical component. I like order. Some of the material seems ethereal. Try to focus. The woven products are myriad. Industrialization has made cloth inexpensive. We take it for granted in the everyday products we purchase for almost nothing. Synthetic and throw away it’s hard to believe that the craft is ages old. We value the handwoven and pay pennies for our everyday cloth. You shop Walmart for the price not the quality.
A long long time ago… I was in Peru. Recently, I remembered this image. I shot it for the graphics and color. We were visiting a llama farm. Native women were costumed and weaving. I shot the color and not the technique or style, or loom. Sorry. It was not important to me then. I suppose more detail and the hands would have been a nice touch too. But one image must suffice. It illustrates all. A single image is always an incomplete story. I can recall the trip and the place we were in. The image is an anchor. I remember much of the day. David had llama for lunch later. I would tell you it tasted like chicken, but no, it was more lean and stringy like beef. And in the big picture, we were in Peru because we had attended a wedding in Lima. This leg of the trip was to Cusco and on to Machu Picchu. I took a lot of pictures throughout the trip. This was my weaving photo. One image, a lot of memories….