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Crazy Eights

winding WL & JC on the back beam

New weavers pretty universally hate the process of warping the loom. I used to, too, but no more. In fact, doing all the planning, calculating, measuring, beaming, and threading is the most creative part of the weaving process. At least for many weavers. Those who do saori or other more freeform types of weaving include lots of artistry in the weft as well, but for weavers like me, by the time we get to throwing the shuttle, most decisions are made. What will the finished fabric be used for? What fiber will we use? What colors? How will those colors change across the width of the piece? How close together will we sett those threads? And many more questions, too.

When I do custom weaving, like all my baby wraps, there’s a collaboration involved. The mom and I go through a series of iterations, trading one color for another, changing the proportions of colors, trying out different wefts. These decisions are made in a virtual world on many levels. I’ve never met any of my moms in person; most live thousands of miles from me. So we work from yarn samples and weaving software, with images and reactions flying across the continents.

I still find it exciting to open a box of newly-arrived yarns and always smile looking at the depth of colors inside. And while using my warping mill to measure the yarns is a somewhat slow process, I get to see the color palette develop in real time. The moms remain in a virtual world for days or weeks until a completed wrap reaches their mailboxes. But not me. I’m lucky to be able to see the colors and feel the softness of the cotton, to watch the interplay of warp & weft as weaving proceeds. This is the lucky life of a weaver.

WL's wrap with black silk

I’ve now got the 8 colors of WL & JC’s warp on the loom and I’ve got about 3/4 of W’s wrap woven. It will be quite luxurious, with a black silk weft. Only the second wrap I’ve woven with silk, since it adds quite a bit to the cost and the care requirements. But wrapping your baby in silk? Totally worth it!

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