Sewing and textiles with Ann
Sadly, my weaving course at Sunny Bank Mills in Leeds, has been cancelled. The looms must be big enough to allow social distancing, i would have thought…. I thought it might take place, although whether or not I’d have been allowed to stay with relatives in Leeds by then is another matter.
The more i find out about Sunny Bank Mills, the more keen i am to visit. It turns out that their looms had previously been owned and used by Leeds University, at the time that i was a student there. They then somehow ended up at Fabworks Mill, which has joined my range of frequently visited websites, and bricks and mortar fabric shops. Sunny Bank Mills, being aware of the existence of these ex-University looms, then arranged for them to be re-built and installed at their site, and they have been available to use since early this year.
And now the June course that i had booked on, is cancelled.
BUT, early in lockdown, i ordered a distinctly non-essential weaving loom from HobbyCraft. As you can see, its pretty basic, and aimed at schools. In fact, i also kept the cardboard packaging in case i wanted to take the ‘Kirsty Allsop cardboard weaving loom’ approach!
So today i did a couple of trial runs, or should i say trial weaves?
First objective: set up a small warp, and do a bit a weaving. What do i learn from this?
So i wove to about maximum length, then loosened the piece and tied it off. Great! That probably took less than 1/2 hour. What next?
Second objective: Let’s push the loom to its maximum potential and see how far that takes me.
It’s given me a piece about 20cm by 17 cm. I don’t think that i can push it any further.
So then i tried with some thicker wool to see if the narrow sett created any further limitation. No – i got a piece about the same size.
I had read some reviews about the quality of the loom, but for the money, its not bad as a basic tool. Similar reviews is what persuaded me to buy it, although i haven’t had to fix any of the woodwork, as some people have.
It’s actually very quick and easy to use. The two major drawbacks are the size that can be woven, and especially the length, as there is no method of winding the warp to get a longer textile, and the sett is quite narrow. I mean, it works. I didn’t weave one row incorrectly, but i was being quite careful between warp strands as i neared the maximum length.
Next challenge: What to do with woven pieces 20cm by 17 cm?
In addition, whilst i have loads of left over fabric bits and bobs, i have very few yarn bits. The white cotton warp yarn, i bought fairly recently in order to darn a hole in a very old, but favourite jumper. I also have some bits left overs, in some cases some substantial ‘bits’ from a brief exploration of knitting a couple of years ago. I have half a jumper made in the variegated beige yarn. I don’t think i have any intention of ever finishing it. I may even get round to unpicking it and re-claiming the wool for something else.
So maybe i can make that cushion cover that i was going to make at Sunny Bank Mills but from these sample pieces. I need to stop doing trials, make some measurements and see how i get on. I can do a full size square in less than an hour……
This is not my first venture into weaving. When i was a teenager we had a similar width loom at home, but you could wind the warp to create a longer piece – otherwise known as a scarf! Or two. I don’t know what happened to the loom, but i still have two of the scarves. I am particularly pleased with the purple one; it’s in my old school colours.
Silverdale School, Sheffield, in case anyone wants to know. Maybe after making that cushion cover, i look for a loom that will make a scarf, but doesn’t cost the earth. I note that sophisticated looms are quite expensive.