Welcome to the May Ask Me Anything blog post where we're looking more closely at a few different aspects of weaving!
I thought this would be a good way to share a little bit of what goes into running a solo weaving studio from the North East of Scotland. You can ask me anything from the world of textiles, from questions about colour and inspiration to the slightly less fun but just as important business side too! You can submit questions for next month's blog on the first of each month through my Instagram Stories or by posting in the comments below.
What type of loom do you use? I’d love to get an AVL but the price to Australia is 💰💰💰!
My main loom is an AVL A-Series with 32 shafts and a 60” weaving width. When I ordered it, I used the money I’d been saving for a house deposit so it was a little stressful!
Which weaving software do you prefer?
I usually use Weavepoint for designing and controlling the loom but do resort to pen and paper every now and then.
How much time does it take to prep the warp for your largest loom?
It varies pretty widely depending on a few factors including the length of the warp, the type of yarn, the complexity of the colour pattern and the width of the warp.
If the warp is short, narrow simple and made using a medium to heavy weight yarn then I’ll use a warping mill and wind sections (or all if it’s really narrow) of warp onto the beam at once. This usually takes a couple of days. If the warp is the opposite then I use the spool rack and tension box method (described in an earlier blog post). This can take anything from one to several weeks to set up.
How much time do you need to fully warp your loom?
I warp the loom by myself, so a lot of the time it comes down to how long it takes before I’ve had enough! The two ply wool warps tend to go on more smoothly and take a week or so to wind a full width onto the beam. The threading varies on the complexity of design but usually around a week for that too. The single ply yarns or double cloth designs take at least twice as long and I have to be careful to lookout for mistakes as I go.
What fibre and looms do you use for your workshops?
For my full day and half day workshops we usually use merino wool for the warp and the weft can be a mixture depending on what’s being woven. For the three day weaving long weekend workshops it depends on the students design but usually either a wool yarn or wool/cotton blend. I use 4 shaft Louet Erica looms for most of my workshops, they’re very versatile and can be folded up for storage when not in use.
What are you working on just now?
At the moment I’m working on a bespoke tapestry piece which combines elements of both dobby and traditional tapestry weaving with fringing tied in by hand. It’s quite a slow process and weaving a circle is pretty complicated but I’m enjoying seeing it come together!
This pic is gorgeous! What fibre are you working with?
I’m working with a range of yarns for this piece The warp, fringing and main body of weft are natural shades of British wool and the blues are a mix of merino, supersoft and Shetland wools.
Why shades of blue?
Almost all of my work is inspired by the sea so blue is a shade that appears regularly. It’s also my favorite colour and I always find it easier to create when I enjoy what I’m making!