It’s feeling very spring-like now in west Wales. I love this time of year with the blackthorn blossoming and the birds shouting their joy a little bit earlier every morning. For the last couple of months I’ve been on an online course with Cally Booker – Understand Double Weave on 8 Shafts. It’s been a delight and there’s so much more I want to explore. Cally is an excellent teacher with her own ways of seeing and explaining that somehow make everything fall into place.
Choosing colours was fun and I always love warping the loom, which is something I still need to practise – a lot!
We started out making panes and chequerboards with our blocks (only two double weave blocks are possible on an 8 shaft loom – but what a lot you can do with them!). The colours on the top layer are reversed on the bottom layer, sometimes the ‘back’ is more exciting than the ‘front’.
Then we wove tubes and folds. You can use these techniques to make bags and containers. The choice of weft colour – the colour decisions you make as you weave – makes a huge difference to the colour of the cloth, and not always in the way you imagine.
After that we studied microblocks, pickup and padding. I had a lot of fun playing, padding the blocks with thrums (the ends that are left after you cut the weaving off the loom) and chunky twisted cords. Definitely something I want to revisit.
The next lesson explored more variations on the theme: weft interchange, introducing twill in one of the blocks and my favourite part – colour and weave effects.
By this point I was running out of warp, and the course had officially finished. The final lesson offers various suggestions for further exploration and the one that makes my heart beat a bit faster is double weave huck (huck is a lace weave). I haven’t yet woven huck at all, though, so my next learning project is to find out how to do that before I plunge into weaving it in two layers.