Sunday, March 2, 2014

Room with a View

Jacquard, 40-shafts, automatic advance, rotary temple, fly shuttles... I get a bit overwhelmed with the advances in hand/home weaving technology, distraught at the cost, and plenty envious. I have never seen any of these in action, though there is a chance I was once in the same room as a weaver weaving with a fly shuttle. I tell myself if I had all these, I could weave the kind of cloth I can be proud of, cloths which are technically well-crafted. Even tough there is no guarantee it will happen; these are mechanical enhancements; my body size and dexterity will remain the same.

While some of you may be too polite to say, "What's she on about, with 16 shafts, a computer-controlled, and a husband that let's her run around wild," and yes, I take your point!  

The Kiwi way is to make do, to not rely on what's readily available for purchase, but improve our skills and if need be make our own widgets. And you wouldn't believe how many weavers and weavers' husbands do just that. (Or, not worry about it;I think that's an option.) So I, too, feel I must better myself and achieve the results I fantasize the enhancements would for me. 

Blah blah blah, self-talk, blah blah.

And then I sit behind bars, and think...
I don't want to thread a draft with more than 16 shafts, 24 tops; there is no way I could fix a threading mistake as it's hard enough already on 8, 9, and 10. I am so terribly near-sided, have bad astigmatism on the left eye, and now presbyopia. And I have short arms and fingers.

And all looks good. (Until I hear about the latest biggest and baddest.) This is my parameter. This is my life.


  1. Um, you're making me feel kind of bad about my 4-shaft threading errors...AAR!

  2. We are NOT in competition... And it's more about arm length that's in question, dear!

  3. Strange - I was telling some brand new and nearly new weavers yesterday that having fairly basic weaving equipment was no bar to creativity, pleasure and exquisite creations, then came home, looked at Complex Weavers Journal and broke out in a sever case of shaft envy myself! And I have this conviction that the more high tech the equipment, the better the end product when I have seen evidence with my own eyes that it isn't necessarily true...What you know with your brain and feel with your spirit doesn't always match!

  4. I get it, though I'm no longer a weaver, Meg. It's the same with me and cameras ... and a better studio with windows/better light/more room ... and better paint brushes. I know. I could paint with just my hands. But I get brush envy. Studio envy. Fancy $5000 cameras with awesome lenses. Oh well. This is my life.

  5. I made do with my 8 shafts. Advancing Twill patterns and Network Drafts gave me all the variations and possibilities I needed. I simply can't imagine threading a loom any more -- it was back breaking work, and I'm glad to be done with it. Any more than 8 shafts would have been murder!

  6. Laura Fry said on FB, "It's not how many shafts you have but what you do with them," and of course in a way, it's true, I get that. But as Jane D said, and the kind of Jacquard-y cloth I like to make does require more shafts. I think when we think of "make do with few" we could also be thinking, weave different kinds than what I/you already have in mind. In all my attempts to reduce my ideas into 16, they have become diluted and different from what I had in mind. Not always for worse, but in my mind, not always for the better. For example, I've experimented with including/mixing texture rather than pursuing a flat, same-thread-all-over, Japanese/Chinese kind of "gorgeous, allover-patterned" cloth, and it's not the same. Well, yeah, they are different. And because I've always had a specific kind of flat cloths I wanted to weave, it's very frustrating.

    I think in the end cost is going to dictate my decisions. Postage alone to the bottom of the planet is nothing to be laughed at. And then there is the small problem of no real support down here; in some cases, not even in Australia. So if I do have problems, I have to rely on emails and the vendors' good will.

    Arrrrrhhhh. I thought it was only computers and televisions that kept chanting. Now it's washing machines and telephones and even weaving equipment that keep coming up with new enhancements!!!!!


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