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.





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.

Meet the looms – 2

When I saw the Weavettes looms at Rhinebeck in 2002, I was living in a pied-à-terre and really missing my floor loom at home. I thought that weaving these small patches might give me solace. I also thought that I might be able to weave on the train.


Weaving on the train proved to be impractical.  The weaving needle is quite long and so is the warp thread at the beginning of the block. In 2002, people were still very skittish about weapons on transit, so I put aside the idea of weaving on the train, and made a few amulet bags from the blocks I wove at home.

Last week, I bought the 4 x 4 Hazel Rose loom, and am tempted to try again. These blocks look great when the finished object is fulled (felted) vigorously. There is a really cute purse in the January/February 2009 issue of Handwoven magazine. I will use 4 of the rectangular blocks in lieu of 6 square ones, so nothing is wasted. I won’t weave on the train, but I could weave while I’m waiting in the station.

If any reader is interested in trading a 4 x 4 Weavette loom, in very good condition, for this brand new Hazel Rose loom, please let me know. I prefer the light weight and compactness of the Weavette brand, but the Hazel Rose was in stock. The Hazel Rose is a beautiful hand-made loom compared to the Weavette (made in China), but I’m willing to consider it an even trade.


Maker – Buxton Brook Looms

Model – 4 x 6 Weavette, 2 x 4 Weavette

Age – 7 years

Weaving Mode: Continuous warp and weft

Sett: 8epi

Wood – Maple


Hazel Rose

Maker – Hazel Rose Looms

Model – 4 x 4 Multi-loom

Age – just purchased

Weaving Mode: Continuous warp and weft

Sett: 8 epi

Wood – Maple

Meet the looms – 1

Don’t ask me how many looms I have in my studio, because I’ll give you a different answer every time.  If I’m not thinking, I will say ONE, because I have one floor loom and it’s too big to forget.  Given a little more time, I might say THREE,  remembering the Journey Loom and the inkle loom. A few minutes later, I’ll say FOUR, acknowledging the big Tri-Loom that is stored under the sofa.  Actually, the right answer is SEVEN because there are three little Weavette and Hazel Rose looms that are so small that they are easily forgotten.

Webs was my local yarn store when I bought my floor loom in 1990 and Barbara Elkins guided me through the process of selecting the right loom for my weaving interests. I am more interested in color and yarn texture than I am in weaving complex patterns, so a 4 harness loom was right for me. 

Floor Loom


Maker – Schacht Spindle Co.

Model – 46” Floor Loom

Age – 19 years. This loom was made on December 28, 1989.

Weaving Mode: Jack

Harness /Treadles – 4 harness, 6 treadles 

Heddles – flat stainless

Reeds – 12 dent

Options and Accessories – high castle, lamp holders, Schacht bobbin winder, bench with accessory bags, Purrington Angel Wings

weaving width 46” 
Height – 46” 
Width – 53” 
Depth – 38” when opened, 26” when rear leg is folded in. 
Weight – 118#

Shed – Rising

Wood – Maple


Welcome to tromp as writ. I’ve always found this humble weaving instruction to be a magical phrase, conjuring the image of a weaver whose feet are dancing across the treadles in the familiar pattern of the threading she has just completed.

I have been weaving since the hot summer day in 1972 that I lugged my handmade tapestry loom up the hill at the community college, to sit at the feet of Eszike Stouffer and learn the basics of the craft. It has been a very interrupted journey, full of stops and starts and broken threads.

The warp that’s halfway on my floor loom right now has been sitting there for over two years. I want to do better than that. Having an audience to share in my triumphs and console me in my setbacks always helps.  That’s where YOU come in. Tell me about your weaving triumphs.  Ask for a hug when things aren’t going well. 

We are weaving the web of life.  Interconnected. We are the weavers. We are the web.