When I was in third grade, my crafts teacher allowed me to use the full-size loom in the school basement. It stood in a small back room next to the crafts classroom. I remember the smell in there, the dust and the weird, cold, fluorescent light. Like on so many other occasions, the tetris devil reared its hypnotic head. I spent the lunch breaks down there weaving, as soon as I had wiped the ketchup off my little snout I paddled down to the loom and had at it. In the end I had a rag carpet, half a meter wide - and about six meters long. It fit nowhere in our house. The hallway outside my mum's office was the only place I ever saw it laid out in its full length.
Since then, I have woven absolutely nothing. Tablet-woven bands do not count in this matter. I like the simplicity of a minimal toolkit. The needlebinding needle is my personal favorite - with that tiny item alone, you can make almost anything. I love the spindle above the spinning wheel. The needle above the sewing machine. And then there is, of course, my original toolbox love above all others: the alphabet. With just 28 characters that take up no space at all, or can be easily fitted into a pocket, we can shift the entire world.
Weaving, on the other hand, frightens me. Theoretically I could whittle a needlebinding needle from shit I find on the ground within the space of ten minutes, spend an afternoon with someone learning the basics and then tinker on my own to learn more. But I can't make a loom myself. I can't even really figure out how it works by looking at it. There is no way I could learn how to use it if left alone with it. It takes loads of material. There are instructions that you have to read or hear. The stakes seem just a little bit too high, especially for someone like me who can't even successfully detangle my iPhone headset.
For the longest time I felt that weaving was something I would not bother with, that I would stop short of making my own fabric, and most certainly never ever buy a loom. Then, a few summers ago, I was given one as a gift. Fantastic! The universe supports my hoarding! I was genuinely thrilled, and the loom now awaits my time and courage, but it's there. In the meantime I've found a toy loom at a flea market, and decided to use it for learning purposes. If I could manage that, maybe the full-size version wouldn't seem so frightening after all.
So how come it turned into a UFO? Brio may know their way around when it comes to retro toys and little wagons and stuff like that, but they know shit about looms, apparently. The pitiful excuse for heddles included in this one are made from floppy cotton string, don't keep straight, weigh nothing and don't do a damn thing. Even with Vix's patient warping, the shed is practically nonexistent, making for a very slow and tedious workflow. I had to fix it to ever be able to finish even this puny scrap of fabric.
|What would MacGyver do?|
|Ten points for trying, no points for style.|
By now it's possible to create a minimal but workable shed, and I can actually produce a strip of fabric about 15 centimeters wide. The below picture makes it look like burlap or that kind of 1970s fabric wall coverings, "vävtapet" in Swedish - but it's actually a medium brown, sort of ashy rather nice color. Same weft as the warp for now, until I run out. Then I might use some scraps to get stripes. Can't wait to see if this could actually become something, will keep posting.
|Yay! Looks itchy though.|