We weavers spend a lot of time alone in our studios. This weekend, twelve of us got together to learn from Kathrin Weber of Blazing Shuttles. She brought her beautiful hand-dyed warps and taught us how to use them to their full advantage.
We each brought a loom already set up with a short warp. All we needed to do was tie the new warp on to the old, crank the knots through the reed and heddles, then wind the new warp around the back beam. That sounds fast and easy, but it took us all weekend.
First, on Friday night, we had to choose from all the colorful warps Kathrin had brought. Fortunately we’re a friendly bunch and no fights broke out. We each ended with colors we loved as she worked with us individually to find a couple of dyed warps that would go well together.
Saturday morning we arrived ready to come up with a design using stripes of our 2 or 3 different sets of warp threads. This was fun–seeing how everyone came up with a different design. Some of us counted threads meticulously. Some of us flew by the seat of our pants. Some measured and sketched and did math. We all anticipated how our color combinations would work.
By mid-morning we had begun to tie our new warp threads to the “dummy” warp threads we had set up on our loom before the workshop. Who knew tying 200-300 knots would be enjoyable? We chatted amiably as the day progressed. Most of the hard thinking was over and our fingers were moving busily. By the time we were done for the day we had most of our new warp tied to the old.
We arrived early on Sunday to begin the process of pulling the knots through the reed and the heddles. We had 4 yards of warp on the floor which meant lots of possibility for tangling. One of the advantages of weaving alone is that nobody hears you swearing when things don’t go well. We quickly learned each other’s favorite curse words. They ranged from polite to sailor-mouth. We tugged and sorted and strummed and beamed. But we DIDN’T COMB our tangled warps since Kathrin strictly forbade it. Instead, she taught us her methods for making our warps magically untangle. Since she is a great teacher, all did well and there were no tears.
By the end of the day we had beamed on, tied our new warps to the front of our looms, and woven enough to get us started.Throughout the weekend Kathrin kept us amused by her jokes, motivated by her vision, inspired by her passion. I’m eager to finish the warp I brought home with me and to explore using color boldly in my future projects.