Today, which by now is yesterday, was my Intro to Inkle class. I was expecting 6 students, two of whom I knew had done some other types of weaving. after I sent out the last minute instructions (parking, how to get into the building, where local food could be found ) I found out two of my students were very young and would be accompanied by their Mom.
I have had young students before but these were 8 and 10 so the youngest. The eldest was very interested in weaving and had done some simple weaving before.
I got an email reply from one student they would be unable to make it and the last was a young gentleman but definitely quite a bit older than 10. He had not woven before but was quite intrigued to make cloth.
I had a very brief chat about inkle looms, their history and that we had both floor (better for long projects or for sitting in one location and weaving) and table inkle looms (better for shorter length bands but much more portable to weave on) in the class. I discussed what yarn would work best on an inkle Ioom, which is Smooth with a good twist, like a crochet cotton. I had brought one of my looms that had a silk warp on it to show them too.
Since we had weavers in the workshop I made sure I had options that would weave quickly for the new students and a finer yarn that would be a bit slower warping but give more design interest for patterns. The 3 sizes of yarn to work with were; for the advanced students #10 crochet cotton, l also had #3 crochet cotton for a bit quicker warping. For those who wanted to warp the loom very quickly, I had the less tightly twisted mop type cotton. it is much faster to warp and weave and gives the opportunity to practice what the process is but unfortunately, it is not as smooth to advance the warp as the two crochet cottons.
I also had extensive notes so if they found an inkle loom at a garage sale in 6 months or a year from now they could go back and review the information we covered today. I also gave them multiple ways to do steps since some people hate the magic knot to start weaving and no matter how many times we try to demo it or say the instructions in a different way it will not stick (sort of like the evil letters for me, so no shame. They may find a eureka moment and be able to make a slip that is solid when pulled to the right some other time.)
We had one student who I know is a good floor loom weaver and likes patterns, she tried the #10 cotton. it took longer to warp but she was a much faster weaver so other than momentarily slowing down to make and use the butterflies to add 2 slits in her band, she was very fast. Butterflies always are slower since you are weaving 3 sections of the warp separately to make the 2 slits.
Everyone got a box of Smarties (an important weaving tool) and finished with a scissors necklace. We chatted about how to improve the class and had the suggestion of breaking it into a couple of evenings, rather than one long day. It is a lot of new information to take in all at once. I think we could do the warping and review a bit more about drafts on one day and return to work on the weaving on the second. If we did a third night we could probably make a second scissors necklace (it is always is easier the second time).
I apologize, two of my students were very eager and turned up before I had finished setting up, so no pre-class shots, and then I got busy with teaching. I did pull out my camera at lunch to get some shots of the looms ready to go but again forgot it when I started teaching again. Luckily Carlene, who also rights on this blog and belongs to the same guild as Ann, Bernadette and I, was there and borrowed my camera. Now I have visual proof I was there!
But first, let me thank and show you my helpful Sherpa husband who brought everything out to the car and then from the car to the studio. After class, he took all the boxes I had packed up and put them back in the car, then disappeared them into the house as I wrote this blog post for you.
1) My hubby recovering from the Kanata games club then transporting all my teaching stuff.
A few shots from the workshop;
2) Variegated yarn with a yellow border. (the variation gave an ikat-like pattern.)
3) This band had a heavier yarn for the border and the #5 cotton for the middle.
4) the class at work with 2 table inkles and 3 floor inkles.
4.1) Carlene is as sneaky at getting shots you don’t notice her taking as I am!
5) A long day of weaving for my second youngest student!
6) Another band with a solid border and variegated centre. It is fun to watch the colours change.
7) my youngest student’s Mom helping with cutting the fringe to length.
8) Carlene and her scissors necklace. *note the new Lee Valley snips! She discovered the scissors open fully so we can just slide the loop from one end of the lanyard into the centre of the scissors, rather than the knotting method the old black scissors required.
9) There is still some fringe twisting to do but a lovely first inkle band.
10) A brand new weaver! Still a bit of fringe twisting to go but now has somewhere to keep his scissors.
11) a bit of sewing up one side and hemming but a great first weaving! and he is almost 11!! (He was interested in the 12 harness countermarch loom in the studio, maybe he will be trying that after the beginning weaving on a table loom in a year or so?) I, unfortunately, did not get a shot of his brother’s scissors necklace or bookmark when it was done.
It looked like the students had fun. Most enjoyed their smarties (or found someone to get rid of the contents for them, so they could use the box.)
Eventually, we will re-run the Inkle Two workshop. We look at 2 harness weaving that you don’t normally consider on an Inkle loom but that it can definitely weave. The workshop contains lots of odd things you can do with an inkle loom such as weaving with wire to make a 3-Trim, or Boutonné weaving with a supplemental weft to make patterns with little loops or adding beads with a supplemental warp or weft thread. It would also likely be better spread over a number of evenings rather than the 2 long days, as we have run it before. You may not use these techniques regularly, but they may spark some great project ideas or maybe inspire a new weaving interest.
Maybe making an inkle band of cotton, wool, silk or wire may inspire you to make a 3-D Felted Vessel with a decorative neckband or maybe a fancy strap to carry it?