Friday, July 23, 2010

Blanket weaving 2010

Last week I was fortunate to be able to conduct a workshop through EdVentures. EdVentures is a series of summer workshops that are run through tourism Fredericton. They are a half day to five days long and cover a huge variety of disciplines and interests.  Go check it out, I'll be here when you get back.

I taught a five day blanket weaving workshop geared towards beginner weavers. No previous knowledge necessary. I had only three students so it was easy to give them all individual attention.

We went over the basic parts of a loom and a quick word on the difference between plain weave and twill, point twill and straight draw. We did up warp calculation sheets and then ran down to the store to buy yarn. We started making warps that afternoon and finished Tuesday. I know how much time designing takes so I did up about a dozen designs on the computer and had the students chose which ones they liked the best.

Joanne like the plaid. She chose colours that were her daughters favorite with the intention of giving her the blanket when she was finished. She was rethinking her generous offer by the time that she actually started weaving.

Lise came from Quebec. Her sister lives in town and had told her about the EdVentures program and weaving was something that she had always wanted to try. She chose what I called a progression design. It started with one colour and gradually blends into a second colour before shifting into a third. Lise chose a dark blue, light blue, and white as here three colours.

Angela chose a point twill with different colour stripes at each of the different points. It took her the longest to warp because she had so many colour changes.

I told my students on Monday that I was going to work them hard. It is possible to weave a blanket in a week and that I knew that they could do it but that it was going to be a lot of work. And they all managed to cut off by 3:00 on Friday. It was a little tighter than I would have liked but we still had an hour to go over sewing in ends, fringing and washing.

And here we all are with our blankets! Because there were only three students, I though that I would have enough time to weave on too. I chose a point twill pattern and used some brown yarns from my stash. I have enough two ply worsted wool to weave another 20 blankets so didn't want to  buy any more. I also knew that if I didn't finish it would be easy for me to go back the next week and finish weaving it.
On Thursday afternoon, all of the people from the different workshops went around the school and talked about what they had done. Most of the other classes talked about the great music and conversations that they had been enjoying. I felt bad for my students because there was very little conversation and no music. We were all counting and didn't want to be distracted. First counting the warp colour changes, then counting the heddles while threading, and then counting treddles and/or colour changes while weaving. After everyone cut off, they all started laughing and talking and I felt much better.  And everyone was pleased. It was a successful week!


Christine said...

All 4 blankets are so beautiful and your students look so happy! You must be a great teacher!

I want to take a blanket weaving course now!


David T. Macknet said...

Some day we'll come participate in one of your Tourism Fredericton events. Or just, you know, enjoy your Elephant Mud. :)

tanita davis said...

I think if I ever made anything that looked like that, I would be GOBSMACKED, count it a successful week, and be happy as the proverbial clam, whether I'd gotten to talk to anyone or have music or not. Socialization be darned, those are gorgeous blankets, and I know your students are well pleased with what they accomplished in such a short, short time!

Julia said...

This looks like a very productive and successful week and by the smiles on the faces everyone looks well pleased. Good job everyone, students and teacher.
Beautiful products.

I can picture in my mind a little fast tract movie of all the activities of the week with the instructions, the trek to the store to buy the yarn and wrapping and weaving back and forth and the removing the blankets from the loom and finally wrapping yourselves in the beautiful blankets.

Cold Clothing said...