Friday, June 28, 2013

I Am a Handweaver


What does that mean? Of course, it means I weave, by hand: I weave cloth.

There are many things to weave: rugs, tapestries, mats of all kinds, for tables chairs and floors. Towels, bath and kitchen, hand and body. Upholstery, for chairs and as cushions. Baskets.

But I weave cloth for clothing.

This week, at Olds, it was driven home to me once again how little we examine the cloth we use and wear, that is all around us, everyday.

Most commercial cloth for clothing is simple in structure: plain weave or twills of some kind. Most commercial cloth is all of a piece: all over patterning, yards and yards of the same weave structure, the same color, cut and sewn into garments or pillows or chair covers, or divided into mats or napkins....

But I am a handweaver. I can do things differently. And I do. When I plan a fabric for a garment, I know what garment I will be making. I can make the fabric suit the garment perfectly (pun!) and one of the ways I do so is by using color placement:

layers of silk

The fabric is not the same selvedge to selvedge. In fact, it can look decidedly off balance as woven:

silk fabric3


But the color is planned to appear in a specific way on the finished garment:

I am accustomed to weaving fabric on the loom that does not look symmetrical. It will, though, when sewn into the garment. The garment will not look like a purchased garment, if only for the fact that the plan, the colors, the weaving, is custom. Custom to that shape, that particular style, that particular piece of clothing. The color placement can be bold or subtle, clearly, I lean toward the bold end of that spectrum!

It is one of the things we can do, as handweavers. Bespoke cloth, so to speak: cloth woven specifically for a particular end use.

I love this. I hope to continue exploring color and clothing this way:


But I may have to find a bigger closet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love. love. love this!!

9:06 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Ahem. I have empty closet space. You know, in case you need storage space?

Also, I now have lots and lots of wonderful new books that you recommended - thank you!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Beverley said...

Hi Sara,
I am new to spinning and weaving, and just took a 2 day course in spinning on a wheel. We also had a little try at weaving which was lovely too.
I sew quilts and clothes, but don't like knitting.
I am pondering whether to buy a wheel and also a loom. I like the Ashford Joy which folds easily to travel, but also felt lovely to spin on.
What sort of loom would you say is best for a beginner. My teacher said rigid heddle are good, at maximum of 24 inches. Do you have any hints and tips for a beginner please. I don't want to waste money and don' have piles of room. British houses are not as roomy as American ones.
Very Best Wishes

6:51 AM  
Blogger Freyalyn said...

My copy has arrived. Now I just have to find time to study it. And then time to weave....

1:20 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Beautiful post, Sara. Isn't in interesting how we are confirmed in our path when we spend time with our "tribe"?

Just finished reading your book, Spin to Weave...thought I "saw the movie" first ;^) I liked that you brought different things out in the two formats.

Thanks for sharing your work.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

oops...that should be "though I saw the movie".

7:57 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

And, one can weave cloth that functions as required. Here woolen for warmth, and there some worsted Blackface at the cuffs where it rubs and wears.

11:12 PM  

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