weaving

From Afraid to Fearless: My Journey as a Weaver

For the last few months, I have been writing about the projects that I did while studying weaving for 15 weeks in the Vävstuga Immersion Program. You can read about the start of my journey here. Today, I would like to reflect on how far I have come since beginning the program last August.

Placemats from the one and only project I did on a floor loom prior to the immersion program.

One year ago, I was afraid of my loom. Although I had had a floor loom for a few years, the only time I had warped it was for a workshop. I found the whole process very intimidating. I usually don’t find learning new crafts difficult, but weaving was an exception. Although I had made some placemats and little coasters, mostly using a rigid heddle loom, I could barely consider myself a weaver.


Handspun coasters done on a rigid heddle.

While I was at Vävstuga, I learned the foundations of weaving, everything from reading a draft to designing, to dressing the loom, to weaving with different fibers, to finishing a piece. The length of the program allowed me to repeat what I had learned over and over again, so that it stayed with me.

Wool blanket.
Linen tablecloth.
Linen damask tablcloth.
Rep rug.
Opphamta drawloom.
Damask drawloom.

However, the most important thing that I learned while I was at Vävstuga was how much I love weaving. I love that designing woven cloth is somewhat like solving a math problem. I love the physical act of weaving, the rhythm of the treadle and shuttle bringing a design to life. Most of all, I love how useful cloth is. For me the most beautiful thing of all is a marriage of function and beauty. I want to make rugs that you admire as you wipe your feet on them. I want to make towels that look good hanging up and do a great job drying the dishes. I want to make the warmest, softest blankets that get covered in cat hair because they are the cat’s new favorite bed. I want to make clothes that get worn over and over because they are so comfortable.

The gable of my big loom, packaged up to tie to the top of my car for it’s journey to Illinois.

Even before the end of the program I felt so confident in my weaving ability (and in my desire to weave) that I purchased a used 60″, 8 shaft loom before leaving Massachusetts. I wasn’t even sure how I was going to get it home, as it did not fit in my car, but I bought it anyway.

My big loom, next to the Schacht baby wolf loom that I have had for a few years.

After getting my loom home, I set it up all by myself, even though I had never set up a loom before. I definitely am not afraid of my looms anymore. I jumped right in designing and weaving. I have made towels, a priest’s stole, baby blankets, a tablecloth, yardage, and runners. Two of my projects have been commissions. I am of course still learning; one of the great things about weaving is that you can spend a lifetime learning new things. But now that fear is no longer holding me back, I have so many things I want to weave.

Very first warp on the loom!
Hand-manipulated phoenix inlay runner.
Beaming a full-width warp.
Twill tablecloth.
Summer and winter baby blanket.

I want to weave many more things than I can actually use. So, I have decided to be brave and take the next step and start selling my work. I’m starting small, with just kitchen towels, but more items are coming soon. If you are interested, you can check out shop.kirimade.com. I don’t know where this next part of my journey will take me, but I am excited to find out!

Plain weave towel.
Twill towel.
Detail of twill towel.
Twill towel with design based on DNA.

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