We haven’t had a weaving workshop for ages – but that changed on Thursday 23 April, when Fiona Nisbet came over to lead a workshop on inkle loom weaving. Lambing often means that out spring workshops are a bit lighter on numbers than they would otherwise be, but there were still a good number of keen weavers or potential weavers. Fiona has led workshops with us before, so we knew it would be good!
First, we were introduced to the basics of using an inkle loom.
Several members already have their own, but others were either completely new to weaving or had not used an inkle loom before. Though they only produce comparatively narrow strips of woven fabric, these are ideal for things like bag handles:
as here, where the inkle strips make a long handle on a handwoven bag and add to the whole in a most attractive way. But Fiona also introduced us to other, wilder, ways of using an inkle loom – for instance with wire:
which was something of a Marmite technique, with some people absolutely loving it and others feeling just as strongly the other way.
But this was all very well – how about working? Fiona gave us a great tip about colour selection, which would also help with choosing colours for stranded knitting – wrapping the colours round a piece of cardboard, secured with sellotape. For weaving, you can also use this to work out the relative amounts of each warp thread, the balance between them and the pattern you want to make:
Choices were made, and people soon got on to the fiddly process of warping up:
The choices people made were so varied, with all sorts of yarns – the smoother the better, due to the extra fuzziness which can be created by the up and down movement of the warp – in use, from cottons to ribbons to ones with sequins:
Then Fiona explained how to actually weave on the inkle loom, creating the shed,
and we got down to it.
(Admittedly this was from one of our experienced weavers, but the rest of us can catch up at home!)
Here’s a gallery of the day with some of Fiona’s lovely examples to inspire us, as well as our own work. Just click on an image for a slideshow.
golds and greens
contasts (top is a natural dye)
colour choices made
ready to warp
all tied off (or up!)
from an experienced inkle loom weaver
And our next session is on bags (a show and tell, with spinning and weaving and knitting) which is a perfect follow up. Our show and tell meetings are really inspirational, so bring along as many types of bags as you can and tell us all about how they were made – wonder how many will have inkle-loom-woven handles?