Saturday, March 12, 2016

Slow fiber vs. fast fiber

Just what I need - another hobby.

Some of you may recall that I experimented with weaving, using a toy loom and a cardboard one. That whet my appetite.

So yesterday I attended a class in weaving on a rigid heddle loom, at the Jay County Fiber Fest and Spin In. In the process, we each took a turn at the individual steps involved, including the actual weaving of fabric out of Red Heart Supersaver and Lion Brand Homespun yarns.

Within a relatively short amount of time, we each had a square of our very own weaving to take home. That is when it occurred to me that, rather than knitting certain large and/or tedious objects, weaving them would be faster. And, I think, result in a better finished product.

Take place mats, for example. Dissatisfied with what is available in stores, I've contemplated making my own, but the idea of knitting rectangle after rectangle dissuades me. However, one could string the warp on a loom long enough for three or four (or more?) place mats and weave them in practically no time at all, compared to how long knitting would take.

Of course, sewing would take even less time, but I sew only under duress. I'm not very patient when working with material and thread, and I'm sure whatever I managed to put together would look wonky and ragged.

Besides place mats, I can see weaving table runners, tea towels, rag rugs, cafe curtains, even clothing and accessories. Knitwear would still be preferred for certain things - hats, mittens, sweaters, etc. - but weaving would be an excellent alternative for appropriate projects.

Of course, to weave, one needs a loom. Also, more experience than what I gleaned from a few hours on a Friday morning. I have some books on hold at the local library, and plan to attend the Black Swamp Spinners Guild Market Day and Fiber Fair in a couple of weeks, where I know there will be opportunities to purchase a loom. And I am not averse to planning vacations around fiber fests where there are frequently workshops.

But where would I put a loom? Right now, I don't even have a dedicated space for my spinning wheel. At one point, yesterday's instructor spoke of his dream to open a weaving studio, where people could come and use one of his looms. He lives far enough away that I would not find that convenient. But I really glommed onto the idea of having a fiber studio of my own. I live by myself in a three-bedroom house, you would think there would be space. I'd have to convert the guest bedroom, which would mean getting rid of a double bed and making the rare guest sleep on a twin in the room currently reserved for my g'daughter. Or I could usurp the g'daughter's room, merging her crafts into mine. It's not like she lives here (although sometimes it seems so).

Toward that end, I started rearranging the yarn and roving stash. O.M.G. Where did all that fiber come from?!? I can't spin or knit fast enough to make a dent in it.

But maybe I could bust that stash with weaving?

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