Learning to Weave: First StepsFrancesca Palange
With this captioned photo story, and the following glossary, No Serial Number gets a glimpse into the world of weaving.
Once upon a time, weaving was an essential activity. There was easy access to the raw materials (yarn) and having a loom in the house was a necessary part of life.
Weaving was an activity reserved for women, who used it to produce all the textiles that their families needed.
There were certainly those who still wove at home up until the first half of the previous century, as we can see from the trousseaux and trunks full of woven fabrics, safely conserved in family houses both in the country and in towns.
In those days there were textile mills and manufacturers. Today there is the textile industry.
To understand this transformation, we need to take a look at the history of this important sector in society, and at the changes that led to a loss of control over production, from the raw materials to the finished product – these days often made from manmade fibres.
In the following photo story, shot by Franca Fantuzzi, the passionate and tireless creator of Il Mondo di Aracne (The World of Arachne), comes a personal story about a first encounter with the loom and yarn.
The photos were taken during a course run by Franca Fantuzzi at the start of June 2015 at l’Ostello sul Tratturo (Navelli-Civitaretenga, province of L’Aquila, Italy) and are testament to a renewed interest in the world of weaving by those who believe that direct access and knowledge is key in a world now dominated by industrial production, synthetic materials and labour exploitation – whether that is ‘at home’ or ‘elsewhere’ does not fool or reassure us.
These are important issues that we have begun to address in our quest for sustainable paths (e.g. with the interview with Andrew Morgan, on his documentary The True Cost, that was released in the second issue of No Serial Number) and we will continue to deal with the help, the experiences and testimonies of our readers and friends.
1. The work begins by planning the first sketches of the textile we wish to create, using pen and paper
2. The warp is prepared following the paper plan, using table top warping pegs
3. As above, the warp is prepared following the paper plan, using table top warping pegs
4. Once the warp has been prepared using the warping pegs, the warp is wrapped around the warp beam at the back of the loom
5. The warp yarn is inserted into the heddle eyes
6. Inserting the warp into the heddle eyes, according to the plan
7. Once the warp has passed through the heddle eyes, the yarn is threaded through the reed dents
8. The warp is fastened to the breast beam on the front of the loom
9. Warping is complete and the shuttle is prepared with the weft, ready to begin weaving
10. After following the techniques according to the plan, the textile is taken off the loom
11. Planning a colourful weaving project on paper
12. Preparing the warp for the ‘Scottish project’
13. Weaving a 2/2 twill to make tartan for the ‘Scottish project’
14. Changing the colour of the yarn while weaving a 2/2 twill
15. Removing the woven fabric for the ‘Scottish project’ from the loom
16. Once the tartan has been woven and removed from the loom, the finishing touches are applied
17. Making the fringe
- Breast beam: part of the loom on which the finished fabric is wound.
- Cloth: woven textile created by a network of warp and weft threads.
- Heddle frame: the part of the loom which supports the heddles, through which the warp is threaded.
- Twill: woven fabric with a diagonal weave.
- Warp: the set of vertical threads in a woven cloth.
- Warp beam: part of the loom on which the warp is wound.
- Warping peg: tool used to prepare the warp.
- Weaving draft: graphic pattern of how the warp threads should be drawn through the heddle.
- Weft: the set of horizontal threads in a woven cloth.
Text by Franca Fantuzzi of Aracne Tessitura
Translation by Fuschia Hutton