You under value your work?

I have found over the last year I really enjoy the process of weaving. You can take the same yarn, change the warp or weft order and you end up with a completely different result, that’s without changing the pattern. Depending on the yarn you use it is not the most expensive hobby you can take part in

When I tell people I have taken up (is that the right term for something that as taken up nearly all my free time!) weaving. They generally ask why!!!. That is a good and not unreasonable question to ask and one I ask myself, especially when the weaving is not going correctly. I have always enjoyed crafts of different sorts , my house walls are covered in cross-stitches. There’s a wood lath in the garage and I’m a member of a carving and stick marking club. I consider the best thing about going to craft fairs is seeing people demonstrating and I often think I will have a go at that. At some of these fairs I have spoken to weavers and got the impression that it took days to thread up a loom. I did not think I could spend all that time getting the loom ready to find either,  I didn’t like the result or I did not like weaving.

Fast forward to last year when I was checking out how to use an Inkle loom (see my first post) and read about a ridged headle loom, there was the answer, you can warp it in half an hour (or so the info said). After checking out the different loom types and checking the various selling site,  I failed to find a second hand one. There was only one thing to do and that was to buy a new one. On my to my daughter’s I popped into Fibre-hut (www.fibrehut.co.uk) and after a bit of help and debate, I became the proud owner of a 60cm Ashford loom. As life goes, that afternoon while looking for info on my new and still boxed loom, what did I find, yes, a second hand one had just been posted for sale on pre-loved, and the seller was only a mile from my home (typical, if only it had appeared four hours earlier). I was so pleased when I really found that you can have it warped in half an hour, just like the info said. So there is no fear about spending days warping the loom, you can just experiment. If your idea does not work out you have only lost the yarn and half an hour of time.

To try and make my hobby (obsession!!) Self financing I have started to sell my woven items at local fairs. I find the hardest part of this, is working out the price to charge. I have read various suggestions on the web. Some say take the cost of yarn, double it and then add your time. Well that’s fine, but do people in my area, really want to pay £45 – £80 for a scarf, when they can get one cheaper in the high street shops. Do people value hand made goods to that extent??  I have retired and have some income and the weaving is an hobby should I be charging for my time (want else would I be doing?), or should I sell at a price that covers my costs plus a bit, thereby making myself happen and also the person who buys the item happy!!. I am often told I under value my work and I probably do. I’m not out to make my fortune, I’m trying to give my hobby a purpose, otherwise why make something for it to just sit in a cupboard. I have only so many friends and I don’t want to see there eyes roll when I walk in the room with a present of yet another scarf. So I sell at a price I am comfortable at and high enough so the item as some value to the buyer and hopefully they will then have some respect for it.

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Am I a weaver?

When do you become a weaver? When do you change from saying I do some weaving to I’m a weaver?

Does this change take place over night and you awaken saying “I think I’ll start calling myself a weaver”, or is there more to it!

I like weaving but have no certificate to say I can do it or I am doing it correctly, should I have one? It seems nowadays that you need a qualification for just about everything. I don’t have a studio,I have a conservatory (summer months only) or the corner of the dinning room (living room if my wife is out and I tidy up before she’s home but please don’t tell her).

As the length of time I have been weaving tips over the one year mark, am I ready for education!!! So far I have managed to learn everything from books, YouTube and of course the good old fashion way of talking to people (by far the best way). Is it time to progress, whatever that means. Will progression take the fun away? will I start to over think things?  will I have to stop just throwing on a warp and seeing want happens. Some people talk about there designs and start going on about where the inspiration came from. They remember where they were when this idea for the design hit them. This normally happens when they are trying to sell you the said item and normally for some inflated price. I don’t think my brain works like that, it’s more like this:

1.  I have some yarn,

2. I think about what I can make with it,

3. How the colours go together.

There’s no thought process trying to take into account my favourite pop singers album cover or the breach I spent my last holiday on. I like the colours and how they go or not (anyway this the only yarn I have)

The reason for bringing this up is I attended a one day workshop at the Bradford collage (funny enough, that is in Bradford UK). While speaking to the tutor she mentioned the collage runs a two year distance learning HNC course (maybe if I attend that I’ll magically be able to call myself a weaver!!).  After more discussion it would seem you can not just weave, you need to understand why you are weaving (funny that I thought I was doing it for funny). So maybe when my second or future years pass by, I may change my way of thinking and start to agonize over what to weave and think about the why, but until then I think I’ll carry on having fun, reading, youtudeing (is that a word!!), talking and maybe attending the odd course (or two!!).

Fleece Paradise

Somebody told me about a shop they had found in Colwyn Bay called The Lost Sheep Company (www.thelostsheepcompany.co.uk), which is about 30 miles from where I live.

So Saturday seemed as good a day as any to try and find this paradise. When you arrive outside the shop, you can see straight away this is not your normal wool shop, for a start, there’s not much wool. What wool there is has been hand spun and dyed, and there are boxes of fleece, ready for the spinner. The owner made us very welcome and she told us what the shop is all about. She explained that currently sheep farmers are not getting a great deal when selling their fleece. It currently costs more to shear a sheep then they get when they sell it. This shop is trying to get sheep farmers a better deal. So if you want to help support British sheep farmers, then have a look at the shop’s web site, you’ll see how she is going about it. If you live or are passing through North Wales, why not pop in and see for yourselves (the shop is open Tuesday to Saturday).

There does seem to be more and more charity shops appearing in towns these days.  One good thing about this, is if you are lucky you can find some good fibre at a reduced price. Not sure if I would be lucky or not, but as I was out, I may as well have a look and see want I can find. So off I went looking (just in case!!), After a few shops, I found three almost full cones of single ply wool. With a selling price  of £1.50 a cone, it seemed a shame not to take it home (it was looking so sorry for itself and it could rain at any time). It now sits with the other fibre I’ve liberated while browsing charity shops and car boot sales. I sometimes feel like I’m in the charity business. Well at least I don’t have to feed the strays I take home and I may sometime find a project to use them in.

Wool Wool wool!!!!

I remember about a year ago saying we needed to get rid of the cones of wool that had been sitting around the house since the days of the knitting machine(s). The cones had lived with us for at least ten years and came along for the ride when we moved house four year ago. I am now glad I don’t get rid, as it was this wool which i used to help me learn and get to grips with using my ridge heddle loom. When I now look at my stash, I can still see the small amounts that remain.

If I only knew then want I know now. The space that was being used by those old cones is nothing to the space that is needed now. The space needed seems to just get bigger, and it would be nice to get the dining room back. So this afternoon a move around took place. It’s surprising how if you try hard, you can find more space in the same house. First move the log pile then move the ironing board and rack. Take the stuff that belongs in the garage to the garage (I can sort that another day!!). Sweep and dust. Now check to see if the boxes the wool is in fits the cleared space, or if I have to move the freezer or have just wasted my time. Luckly it fits. We now have a tidy dining room, an untidy garage and a utility with no more space , may have to use the loft next.

Speaking to other crafters (knits, weavers etc) we all same to have this inability to walk past a pile of wool or shop, without checking to see, just in case there is something which you know you just need to complete that project. If there is any discount, well!!!,  then you feel the need to buy, your reasoning goes, you may not have a project in mind but you may not get the opportunity again. So the stash grows and grows. Now how do you decide which parts of the stash should be used next. This was so simple when you only had a limited choice, but now!!!!.

My wife asked me the other day if I dreamt about weaving. “No” I replied I have never dreamt about weaving. So a couple of days later and after a visit to a local sew and stitch fair, where I had bought a couple  for packs of wool (just 16  100gram balls per pack) well it was on offer. I did have a dream. I was on a  coach trip in a small mini bus. We had stopped at this a fair and I had bought my wool packs. Back on the bus ready to go, I turned to my wife and said I think I need to stop buying so much wool, as I looked around I could see I had bought so much wool, everybody was having to sit on it.  Maybe this is a sign!!!

 

Welcome home Jane

Well another week just flown by, nights are drawing in, the garden is stopping growing, so more time to do other things.

This last weekend was the Yarndale fair in Skipton Yorkshire. This annual event is based around fibre and fibre related stuff. A good thing about this event is that there was an absence of card and paper sellers. It seems at present when you go to a craft fair, most of the stalls are to do with card marketing. Well Yarndale is definitely not one of those.

My wife and I had weekend tickets so plenty of time to browse and talk to people and in some case try out new things.

When we go to these events, my wife and I normally split up, is that screams of “how do you stop her spending too much” I hear from other men,  we do this so I can take my pace looking and she can take hers. This works well, as by the time I have had my first look at all the stalls my wife is still looking at the first few. Once I have seen all, I can then take my time. Not sure if this approach is a man’s thing or not, but until you know what is there, how do you know want to buy???.

As I am new to weaving I’m still getting used to all the different fibres there are and the mixes you can get, as well as the differences in prices.

Until I went to my first event like Yarndale I was quite happy weaving cheap man made fibre, going to these events soon opens your eyes and your fingers soon start to recoil from cheap fibre. The down side is, it does not do your bank balance much good!!!!

Over the past few months I have been looking at buying a new loom to replace the 4 shaft I brought to learn how these things work. This loom has served its propose and its time to progress (well, spend more money). I have been researching the Ashford 8 shaft table loom and was all set to buy one of those. I also looked at the Louet Jane 8 shaft but discounted this mainly do to the cost. The Ashford is cheaper to buy. Well as the saying goes “only you can change your dreams but outside sources can change your plans”.  As it turned out in this case.

About 8 stalls into the event waiting for just the right person (me) was Weft Blown  (www.weftblown.com) sitting in the corner was a Louet Jane 8 shaft already to be played with. I had seen the Louet loom before at guild meetings and hoping to see an Ashford, then I could make my final decision. Unfortunately no stall had one. So you have to play with the toys your given. It was just sitting there no one was using it!!!!, so you just have too!!!!.  After a while I got talking to the stall holders. They run Weft Blown from a shop/studio in West Kilbride they sell louet equipment and run courses etc. Well it seems that a 70cm Louet Jane it self is not too heavy but can get annoying when you have to keep moving it around your shop. So the loom was on a special show discount!!!.

Sometimes these discounts are not as good as they first seem, so after more playtime I said I would have to sleep on it. During the evening i hit the web to check out the deal and it seemed a good one.

Having slept on it, off to the show again, 8 stalls in, the loom was still there and a boxed up version looked so appealing, how could I resist Jane!!. So out comes the card and oh I had better get the stand.

Its now Wednesday, Jane is sitting on the dining table. “Why not wait until you get the stand” these words have not been said but I can see them in her eyes!!!!. Don’t  be daft that could be hours/days or a week or so., how could I wait that long (we can eat your meals using a lap tray). So Jane is wrapped and 20 inch woven. All seems well and working.

 

If only it had ended there!!!!!

Hi, well how did I get to this point??

You know some people plan things, others like me just seem to stumble along and if you are lucky you end up in a good place. I seem to be one of the lucky ones, as I don’t seem to plan but have a go and see where it leads. I have tried all sort of crafts over the past 35 years. Currently I’m tying myself up with warp and weft and other terms used in weaving. This happened in the last year, but how did this happen???.

Well my wife and I where watching the  create and craft TV channel when Ziggy Rytke (www.thelucet.co.uk) was demonstrating his Lucets. I was impressed, my birthday was coming up so my wife ordered a set complete with DVD.

If only it had ended there!!!.

Later in the show Ziggy mentioned a belt he had made using some lucet cord. He said he had made it using an Inkle loom????. Not knowing want one of them was, an internet search was called for.  Now with a set of plans for an Inkle loom, of to my garage to make one.

For those, like me, that don’t know what an Inkle loom is, it is used to make straps such as the ones used on guitar.

Well after a few hours in the garage and feeling pleased with the result, off to do another internet search to find out how to use the thing.

Well I brief you wrap the warp thread around the loom and then weave across. The result is that you only see the warp treads and you quickly get a resulting strap.

If only it had ended there!!!!

During my internet search for Inkle info I kept seeing reference to tablet weaving done on an Inkle loom. This is another way to make straps but with more design to them.

So of to the garage to make the tablets needed. These involved a trip to the craft shop to get some mounting card. Some time later I had a set of tablets with the required  holes and a labels.

So more internet searching to find how to do tablet weaving.

If it had only ended there!!!!

Some of the results of the web searches mentioned using a riddle heddle loom???  So what is one of them. You guessed it, another search.

Well let’s have a go at making one of them. Well I did have problems with the tension control. Made the heddle out of cable tie wraps. Once warped I made my first item. I would not like to call this a scarf but I was long and narrow.

If it had only ended there!!!!!

A few weeks later we travelled to my daughter’s. On the way we stopped at a weaving shop ( http://www.fibrehut.co.uk). Having spent some time talking to the owners. Thats right I walked out with a 60cm Ashford riddle heddle loom. That was just before Christmas so was classed as my Christmas present.

If it had only ended there!!!!!

So a visit to the craft fair in Harrogate and back home with supplies. I spent the next few weeks getting to grips with the loom and making scarves for  Christmas presents. After Christmas the scarves kept on coming and I had to buy more boxes to put them. Well the dinning room was  beginning to fill with wool and completed scarves. Something had to be done.

If only it had ended there!!!.

Around April I was talking to a friend and it came out that he sells the wooden things in makes at the local farmers market. He also said that he could not make the next one and suggested I take his place. Which I agreed too. Well if I sell some there will be less in the dinning room.

If only it had ended there.

Nine months later I have my own stall at the.market and have started at other markets. Also joined the weaving and spinners guild. Seems like somewhere I agreed to be a committee member.

Will it never end!!!!!!

Trevor B