Despite my recent posts about tapestry looms, and although I have been weaving a lot lately, it turns out that, actually, my recent weaving experiments haven’t been woven on any of my looms at all. Instead, I’ve come to the realisation that (for me) weaving on cardboard is just as effective, and far more practical. Admittedly, this is primarily because I like to work on a small-scale, and would not work so well for larger pieces.
I’ve been preparing for a craft fair that is coming up at the end of November (www.thisisbazaar.co.uk – check it out!). I’ve woven a couple of small ‘pictures’, amongst other things. But instead of struggling with how to finish and frame them neatly once the piece is removed from the loom (or if not struggling, at least spending time on finishing that I would rather spend weaving) I have worked from the beginning of each piece with a piece of firm card cut to the size of the aperture of the intended frame or box mount. I guess a level of foresight is necessary here, as this does (up to a point) commit me to using that particular frame for the finished piece, rather than deciding on the best way to mount the finished piece once it is complete…
But I haven’t used anything special. The card is just ordinary card, cut from discarded packaging materials, notched with scissors. I even discovered that a hairclip makes a brilliant weaving needle, with the yarn gripped firmly in place, and a curve to the clip easing the over-under motion (a needle of some descrption is probably still best for finer work). This set me to thinking about how weaving as a craft is so simple to execute, with great results, and really doesn’t need any expensive equipment at all. In fact, if you have a small stash of yarn (or maybe a woolly jumper to unravel!) you can weave with virtually no outlay at all. It’s actually a brilliant example of the recycling-through-re-purposing ethic.
I had some friends round to my house yesterday. There was lots of crafty stuff lying about, because we were planning to play while we chatted, so I put out a box with some oddments of wool, a couple of miniature looms I had put together out of re-purposed playing cards, and a part-worked example I had been working on. I didn’t make a big thing about it, but two of the girls picked up looms and started weaving straight away. I had pre-warped them, so there was nothing fiddly to start off with. One of the girls started using the hairclip; the other was using her fingers until I showed how it worked: both agreed the hairclip worked really well.
Both made cute litte pouches, and I was so impressed with the way they turned out. The girls couldn’t have chosen more different yarns and colours from each other, so they were brilliant examples of what could be done, with a little imagination.
So when it comes to the craft fair, I’m now decided that as well as finished pieces, I will also have beginners kits, made up of re-purposed looms. I liked the idea before, but seeing the results of my girly day yesterday, proved the results could be really worthwhile even using such basic materials. Selling a kit may not seem quite in line with the re-purposed ethic, but anyone can go online and find out how to make a cardboard loom, if they want to. The simple truth is that despite our current DIY culture, many people still prefer to have everything presented to them, ready to begin. But once they have tried it out, seen what the kits consist of and how easy it is, perhaps they will be encouraged to make their own next time. Well, maybe…
I got quite twitchy at the last craft fair I did, because there was quite a lot of time spent just sitting around when I felt as though I ought to be doing something. I hadn’t been organised enough to take anything with me, and sitting around doing nothing is NOT something I generally do a lot of! This time I will definitely be weaving as I sit, and I will have some sample looms to hand for anyone passing by to try out, if they show an interest. Yesterday’s experiment has made me feel very positive about the whole thing. 🙂