Where does the process of weaving begin?

Threading the rainbow

I have a bad habit of saying that I want to hurry up and get the loom dressed so that I can weave. When I say that, I am treating the entire preparation process as something of lesser value than passing the shuttle back and forth. Yes, to weave means to create cloth out of warp and weft, but the process of weaving begins long before that.

It begins with inspiration.

Colors.

Patterns.

Sketches.

Diagrams.

Pouring over catalogues, sample cards, web sites. All in search of the right yarn.

Measuring the warp has a flowing rhythm. With the right music, it becomes a dance.

Threading the heddles and sleying the reed are harder to love, but they are necessary parts of the process. This is the time when I learn to sing the cloth’s song 1-4-1-4-1-2-1-2-3-2-3-2.

I try not to think too much about beaming and tying the warp. I feel like I need three more hands for this stage of weaving. The lease sticks take on a life of their own, and in the end we compromise and agree to make a neat roll on the back beam, a jelly roll of brown paper with thread filling.

Then, finally, I can pick up my shuttle, but I have been weaving all along.

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