Weaver to Beaver.

This post actually has not so much beavers as weaving.
My first woven object:

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Because I could not stand for a fiber hobby I couldn’t do, I decided to learn to weave. It’s been on my fiber bucket list (which, due to a lack of the list’s existence anywhere other than my head, is actually pretty short) since I decided to learn to spin yarn.

Meet my loom and my first project!

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I figured out how to calculate yardage and weft. I had picked out yarn for warp and weft before I learned they were a bit too thin for the type of heddle I had. So I decided to go for a loose weave. The scarf wound up a bit too loose for my liking but first projects are gonna have issues.

Warp: with a loom project, your warp is the yarn that runs vertically on your loom. You prepare the loom with the warp, tying yarn onto it and winding it up onto the bars at the end. For my warp I used a few cottons from Knit Picks. I planned out a stripe pattern, so the stripes of green, brown, and blue run vertically on the scarf.

Weft: the weft is the yarn that is woven back and forth, horizontally, as you perform the weaving action on the loom. I decided to use some yarn I’d spun. It’s BFL wool that was dyed and spun to gradually change colors. I had hoped to go from blue to green to brown, but wound up only using enough yarn to go from blue to green.

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Heddle: the heddle is the device that you string the warp through. Half the threads go through the long slots, and half go through small holes. The holes and long slots alternate across the heddle. The heddle can be in the upper, lower, or neutral poison. When in the lower position, the threads in the holes are below the threads in the long slots. This makes a gap. You take your weft yarn, shown here wound onto a shuttle, and pass it across your project horizontally going through this gap. This photo shows the heddle at an unusable angle, not in position to weave, but let’s you see how the threads would be separated so weaving could occur.

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After you bring your yarn through, you take your heddle and beat the yarn down snug against the project in progress. (It’s called beating, but you actually do it pretty gently.) Then you put the heddle in the upper position, and the threads have all switched positions. You pass your weft shuttle through the gap again. You beat the thread into place. Then you put the heddle back into the lower position and repeat the whole process. Several hundred times later, you finish of your piece, careful take it off the loom, tie it up, and…

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There are more steps than that, and lots of tricky tensioning methods. At the beginning, my tension was too loose. You can see that in looking at the finished object. The blue end was the start, the green was the end, when I’d learned a few things about tensioning the project.

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The looseness of the project amplifies tension issues throughout. My edges, or shelvages, are pretty wonky.

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The good news is that now I know putting two stands of the yarn I was using through each slot and hole will make a thicker and tighter weave. I have plenty if yarn left to do that. So I am considering eventually redoing this project, and making it wider, so that the whole color shift of the gradient yarn will be shown off.

And the beavers: Beavers are actually pretty cool. They are also the Oregon state animal. So here’s some beavers building a dam in Oregon.

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