10 down, 40 to go . . .
There is a saying Necessity is the motherhood of invention and it has been around for at least 600 years when William Horman, the headmaster of Winchester and Eton, included the Latin form Mater artium necessitas in Vulgaria, a book of aphorisms for the boys of the schools to learn by heart, which he published in 1519.
This saying is never more true than in weaving. Weavers face a challenge and often come up with creative and innovative ways to solve it . . . like a student that weighted loose warp ends with car keys during a workshop (and fortunately, remembered to return to retrieve them before we locked the doors at the end of the day) . . . and many pass along advice based on their experience, like Don’t cut your fabric at night (Yes, Kathy . . . I ignored your advice one night and now understand why you advise others of this.)
Here are a few resources that share tips and techniques that may help a weaver when faced with a challenge:
Fixing a broken warp end at Knittinghelp.com – As a young weaver, I was taught to repair a broken warp end by taking an additional length of yarn and tie a knot near the break, weight it off the back of the loom, and continue weaving . . . then, after the fabric was woven and cut from the loom, I was then to pull out the repaired warp end and reweave a new end in. No disrespect to anyone, but that was not great advice! Over the years, I’ve heard and seen a number of different methods to repair a broken warp end . . . but, my all-time favorite method is a Russian Join. This is a great way to connect two yarns together that is about as invisible as as it gets . . . not only have I used it for repairing a broken warp end, I’ve also used it for connecting two wefts together of that oh-so-special yarn that is too valuable (or modest in quantity) and I need to eek out every precious inch of it. Fortunately, there’s a great website (knittinghelp.com) that has a video of this technique (there are other wonderful tips and techniques on this website). Click on the link and scroll down about half way and look for the title Joining a New Color Yarn . . . one of the techniques below this title is the Russian Join. http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/knitting-tips
Weaving Today’s Tips & Tricks – Handwoven magazine’s website Weaving Today is a wealth of information, including one area that provides some tips and tricks, including A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn and making a repair heddle. http://www.weavingtoday.com/media/g/tips-tricks/default.aspx
Peggy Osterkamp’s 100 Great Weaving Tips – If you’ve been around weaving for more than a a year or two, you are probably familiar with Peggy Osterkamp’s books. What you may be unaware of are the multitude of weaving tips available on her website. Click on the link and you may just find that little tidbit that will make your next project easier. http://peggyosterkamp.com/100-great-weaving-tips/. Thank you, Peggy!
Ruth Stowe’s Collection of Weaving Resources – This website is one of the first internet-based weaving-related resources I encountered years ago. It’s full of information, including an area for tips. There are some real beauties here . . . such as techniques to help wind a sticky warp and an organic way to moth-proof your fabric. http://www.weavingworld.ca/tips.htm
There are some books and videos that contain incredibly insightful and helpful information. Below are a few that I have found brilliant . . . Unfortunately, I believe a couple are out-of-print, but used copies may be found by a simple search of the internet.
- Erickson, Johanna. Rag Weaving Gimmicks and Tricks.Watertown,MA: (1999).
- Gilmurray, Susan. Weaving Tricks. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981. (ISBN – 0-442-26132-2)
- Griswold, Alice. Weaving Solutions: Shortcuts, Tips and Ideas for the Handweaver. Milan,MI: A & G Publications, 2000. (ISBN—0-9700223-0-1)
- The Weavers Guild, Boston, MA. Weavers’ Wisdom: 250 Aids to Happier Weaving. Monograph Two, 1980.
- Guy, Sallie. Tips, Tricks & Problem Solvers for the Handweaver. Victorian Video Productions. 1989. (ISBN – 0-9-36225-22-X) – very helpful for weavers that have looms with plain beams)
- Guy, Sallie. Warping and Loom Preparation. Victorian Video Productions. 1997. (ISBN – 0-936225-47-5)
I have believed for a very long time that every weaver, no matter how long they’ve been weaving, is sitting on a gem of a tip or technique. I hope there are some within these resources that you find helpful . . . and help you recognize the value in some of the things you may be doing.