Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Learning Curve

Ellen's comment:

Regarding conferences, I think a lot of people (ok, maybe just me) think that you have to be an experienced weaver or spinner to participate. Convergence was in my hometown when I was just beginning to weave, and I didn't go because I didn't realize they had stuff for beginners.

got me to thinking this morning.

Oh, would that all conferences had beginning classes. Do knitting conferences? Do fiber festivals, like MD$&W? Weaving conferences sometimes do, sometimes don't. What a missed opportunity when they don't.

SOAR (the annual spinning conference hosted by Interweave) has in the last 5 years or so, been committed to having a beginning spinning class, taught by Maggie Casey. A very good idea, and a grand way to help enable partners and friends. Convergence, when it was held in Denver (2004) had a Learn to Warp class, taught by Judy Steinkoenig. Both of these teachers are from Boulder, CO, and happen to own Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in the Table Mesa Plaza (for you locals). They teach both beginning spinning and weaving regularly, and very well, by all reports.

Would that every area had such a resource, and if not, that every conference could provide beginning classes. Some conferences seem to try to outdo themselves with obscure classes, new work, new directions, or very advanced subjects only the esoteric few would enjoy.

Beginning weaving, inkle loom classes, Warp Your Loom classes, and cardweaving classes are all tailor made for bringing new and interested people into the fold (heh). But the second part of Ellen's comment was that she didn't know the classes were there.

Publicity. Oft overlooked, and a chore to some, obviously would have paid off here.

I'm sure there is more interest because of the internet: lists, blogs, and websites of vendors all help bring the curious and the knowledgeable together. Guilds are very good at the *one step ahead of you* enabling: the new teachers who are excited about what they have just learned, and want to share it. Some paid teachers are this too: and the enthusiasm of the newly learned process is a benefit.

But conferences could provide a knowledgeable teacher, the vendors and suppliers, as well as a gallery of works to inspire, all in one place, with several dozen other enthusiasts with which to share!

Let's hope the conference organizers take up the banner, and provide beginning classes, not just the esoteric and the fabulous multi-thousand harness aficionado classes (and then *tell* people about it!).

For Naomi, who asked about bands:

cardwoven bag

A simple bag, (this happens to be cardwoven bands, but inkle would do as well), done by sewing and folding bands together.

Now that I am on a tear, I'll do a simple tutorial on inkle weaving in a few days. Plus the instructions on how to put this bag together. In the meantime, for inspriation, go see Kathy Wishnie's beautiful inkle band bags.


Blogger dragon knitter said...

oooooooo very pretty. i love it. i think i would like an inkle loom, but don't know where to get one, or if they're available locally. there's also the small problem that i'm trying to pay for a wedding, lol. maybe i could weave a small bag formsyelf to carry during the ceremony, for the tissues? lol

8:56 PM  
Blogger kimd said...

One of my reasonably local handweaver's guild does their meetings alternating 1 month in the middle of the day, the next in the evenings. The middle of the day one will never work, as I am chained to my desk at work. The evening one is Thursday and I have school age kids, the youngest still needing a fair amount of help with homework, so slim chance in hell. And then they don't have meetings in the summer, so the 3 months I don't have to worry about homework, there's no meeting.

The other reasonably local guild meets Tuesdays at 10 am. Again that whole chained-to-my-desk thing impedes.

So I am muddling along learning to weave on my own and making some ghastly color combinations. Colors interact differently in weaving than knitting, as you know, but I am having trouble figuring out what works and what doesn't. But I have quite a stack of dark brown dish towels after over-dying.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

I can never get comfortable weaving with/on the inkle loom. I enjoy using it but can't stay with it too long because of the comfort thing. I would also like to get a new one someday. This puppy isn't very strong. I await your tutorial.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Sara, your work is beautiful. Very inspiring.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Kathy Wishnie said...

Thank you, Sara, for the link to my website. I am really enjoying your editorials on weaving and look forward to the inkle tutorial.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

Your generous heart comes through once again, trying to problem-solve more ways to make weaving and spinning accessible to newbies. I do think that there has been more emphasis on new knitters in the recent conference materials, because there has been such a resurgence of interest. Voices like yours are needed to get people to stop preaching to the choir... I am very grateful that FFG meets in the evening, even if it means an hour round-trip, as so many groups I heard of over the years were elitist in being designed for those who could afford to not work!

2:10 PM  

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