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June 28, 2010 By Andy Ross

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Learning to weave

This weekend, after spending a good day making a small pattern on a cotton warp, I decided to learn how to weave properly. I have had a very basic set of lessons from Melanie Venes, who taught us at the Handweavers studio in London. Melanie is excellent if you are looking for a teacher and the new Handweavers is great for your weave purchases. For Handweavers, goto www.handweavers.co.uk.

This has all been prompted by a project which involves a weaver from Unst, Tim Hardin. Tim has started coming across to ASF Shetland to work with us on new patterns and designs, and we have been chatting about the way he warps up and weaves. It is very interesting to me because he warps front to back, being from Texas, and I know back to front and raddling. We have spent a few hours now with me teaching Tim the way I know, and he is going to teach me the way he knows.

I have wanted to weave "properly" or at least learn more because, as we have the Ann Sutton Foundation, I have access to excellent equipment and resources. Plus I really like making the warp and dressing the loom, and seeing the finished patterning come out. A few years back, I used very bright, rich colours to make some lengths of fabric which are going to be trimmings for a performance coat. These have been sitting at home, waiting for me to get my coat made, and give me a great deal of pride and pleasure when I see them.

My goal is to make something that we can be proud to sell to raise money for the Ann Sutton Foundation, to allow it to continue to do its work, and to encourage others to come to the Centre and work alongside us. My own personal goal is to learn something new that I can use practically and that will give me a lot of enjoyment.

I am sure it is going to be a frustrating and challenging experience, but always fun!