Today was a weaving day. Normally, Patricia Martin has class on Monday afternoons. But this summer she has opened the doors to her intermediate and advanced students on Tuesday.
These days are fun. Some in the group have been there for several years. Some are new as of this year. All are now a little more experienced and we have gotten to know each other. There are retired teachers, a retired librarian (who is a real kick), a San Francisco “refugee” and me, the retired lawyer.
On any given day the rooms at the studio might be silent of human voice but full of the clatter of looms. On other days, the human voice cannot be squelched. And on really wonderful days the sounds of looms, the laughter of friends, and the verbal exchanges mix to a happy, joyful cacophony.
Today was one of those days.
One of our number finished the weaving of a long but satisfying project. Another nearly followed the first and has only a small amount of weaving left for next week.
But the big deal this Tuesday was the Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan. Everyone at the studio feels invested in this project. Everyone is just as excited as I am.
The rooms actually went quiet as I placed the tail end of the warp on the raddle and began the process of putting the warp on the loom.
The raddle is a long board with nails that are placed at 1 inch or 1/2 inch intervals. It is placed on the back beam and the warp is carefully placed around the nails in equal amounts. The purpose is to spread the warp threads evenly and help in keeping the threads properly aligned as they go on the warp beam.
The back beam is where the raddle sits. (That pokey looking thing is the raddle) and the warp beam is the round piece under the back beam. Get it? Got it? Good. (That’s a Danny Kaye reference for those of you who are totally confused by all of this)
Once the warp was set on the raddle and secured by the wondrous technology of rubber bands, I counted and recounted every thread. I had to be certain that the number of threads in each color was correct and in its proper place. It was rather amazing how quiet the studio became.
That is when Patricia Martin, our instructor and my fellow student Jan Milsop helped me wind the warp. That is the process where someone puts gentle tension on the warp by holding it firmly while another slowly winds the warp beam. This pulls the threads, in order and under tension, onto the warp beam. As it is wound onto the beam the warp is shaken and straightened without “combing” the threads. They know where to go but need a little tug once in a while.
It took a bit of time and a lot of help from my friends but the Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan is on the warp beam!
The next step is the threading and tie-up of the loom.