weaving

 

When I heard that Heather Johnson-Bork, a talented artist and weaver from the neighboring Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, was going to be teaching weaving at the Lower Elwha I knew I wanted to attend. I took a weaving class a few months ago and really enjoyed it. But Heather was going to be teaching a four evening “advanced” class. I wasn’t exactly advanced and as always, Elwha Klallam people had first preference, but I signed up and kept my fingers crossed.

The day the class was to begin, I called, and was told that the class was full, but if I wanted to come down and see if someone didn’t show up, I could do that. It is a 30 mile trip, but one I make often and I was excited as I drove down. Sure enough, there was a spot left for me.

wool

A pile of soft wool

wool heather

Heather separates the wool into useful sized pieces

spinning

Heather spins the wool into yarn using a whorl, as was done by the ancestors

 

winding yarn

Heather winds the wool into balls

We each started with a pile of soft brown wool. She showed us how to separate it into smaller piles suitable for spinning. Then she demonstrated how to spin, using a whorl, in the traditional Native way. Not easy! Fortunately she had some wool that had already been spun and we were able to begin the weaving without spinning enough for our entire projects.

With looms the size available she told us we could make a small blanket, about 20 x 40 inches, or we could make something smaller. I decided to go for it, and make a small blanket. With help, I set up a loom.

at the loom

Setting up the loom

 

harmony

Harmony at work

 

ashley

Ashley setting up her loom

My aching back

My back is aching already!

The weaving style, called Coast Salish, and involves going over and under two threads at a time,then  alternating them, so a diagonal design is created. You can alternate which way the diagonal faces but I opted to keep it simple.

It seems so simple, two over, two under, but somehow I got confused a lot, especially in the beginning. But finally the design became clear.

weave

Now you can see the pattern

When the class finished, four days later, I had about six inches of weaving done, 34 to go. We were given the looms to take home, so it is now in our family room, where I can sit for a minute and do a row or two.   I have now finished 23 inches, past the half way point.

loom home

Loom set up at home

weaving for blog

Hard at work

weaving

I love the feeling of accomplishment

I am so grateful for this experience. It is fun and relaxing and I love the feel of the soft wool. It makes me appreciate the patience and dedication it takes to create even a small simple project.

Here are some images I found.

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