Ontario Handweavers & Spinners: Unit 1 Master Weaver

Ever feel like you took something on and then look back at your past self and think, “What was I thinking?” Yeah. That.

But in the best way possible. I never thought that I would be thinking about, let alone taking on, something like a program like this. I began to feel quite empowered to do so back in the Spring 2021 because members of the Wool n’ Spinning community were eager to learn more. Having had the opportunity to meet and befriend some of the executive of the OHS, I felt even more motivated to find out more.

The Master Weaver is made up of 18 study units that are generally self-study. I am really excited to share the journey with you here! I am about a 1/3rd of the way through the first unit. After reading through the Unit Workbook, I started to get ready to warp. I chose one of the Briggs & Little yarns that was recommended because it is quite easy to source near me.

Going with the primaries warp, I would the warp onto my new-to-me Louet Jane loom and get to weaving the samples.

Threading heddles and sleying the reed to get started on Unit 1 samples that create the bulk of the work in the first module!

After I’d started weaving, I found that based on sleying the reed at 1/2 the wraps per inch (WPI) of the yarn (20) worked into a beautiful 10 ends per inch (EPI) and 10 picks per inch (PPI) balanced cloth, which is called for the samples. It was easy to beat moderately and obtain this cloth, creating some small amount of yardage that I was quite comfortable with relatively quickly.

Tabby or plain weave initally on the Louet Jane samples

From there, I went into weaving the samples themselves, including basket weave and 3/1 basket rib, which was absolutely lovely and really surprising. Actually, several in the community have commented on their surprise about this particular weave structure and I have to echo it: It is just lovely!

I don’t have a photo of it at this time but I will share it with you once I have my finished photos and do my final reflections!

Moving into the twills as part of the study – more pattern, texture and colour play!

Next, I re-sleyed the reed tp 13EPI for the twills but the fabric and structure was too firm. I re-sleyed again at 12EPI and it’s really amazing how just that one end can make all the difference. I think weaving these twills at 10 or 11 ends would have worked really nicely too.

I was amazed at how quickly these went and, while not for the faint of heart, as it’s a lot of weaving, I soon ran out of warp! My samples were woven off and my drawdowns done but my original samples of colour, texture and pattern still need to be done so I have to wind another warp and get that onto the loom. Whaa whaa. Note to self: Wind a longer warp than you think you will need!

I’m quite smitten with the texture of this particular twill – it was incredibly satisfying to be honest!

While I am not a fan of the primaries on their own per se, I can honestly say that I have learned so much from just this small amount of weaving that I am left so excited for what’s to come! I hope you are enjoying your initial foray into your study – I’m looking forward to your sharing your process as well.

Happy weaving!

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