Friday, February 19, 2010

Putting the District Check Warp on the Loom

Emma checked her warp one last time before tying it off.

Clarice helps her get it started on the Baby Wolf loom. She told Emma that Norman Kennedy, the workshop teacher, will be so excited that she is milking a cow. He was the head weaver at Colonial Williamsburg for many years. Emma is hoping that he can teach her some Scottish milking songs in addition to the weaving songs he will be teaching at the workshop.

I still don't know what her pattern will look like. I started reading a book on Scottish Woolens, and it said that the patterns should not be reproduced without permission because they are the property of the estates. I've not gotten far in the book yet, but it sounds like the lord of the estate had the pattern designed for his livery. So each district check is associated with a particular estate.

Clarice also told us that the waulking tradition includes drinking a shot of whiskey after each time the head weaver measures the cloth. I'm not clear on the waulking process yet. I think it involves wetting the fabric; then the weavers gather around the table that it is on and beat it with their hands to shrink it. I guess it has to shrink a certain amount, and that's where the measuring and shots of whiskey come in. The singing is to keep everyone in rhythm as they beat the cloth. Emma suspects that the shots of whiskey were only for men weavers. I'll let you know on Monday.

Clarice told Emma to hold the yarn like she was driving a team while she got the other end rolled up. It must have been a runaway team, because Clarice had to tell her twice, "Not so tight!"

Emma describes the process of threading the heddles as "tedious".

The completed heddles look like this from Emma's side of the loom.

Now she begins sleying the reed.

Can you tell she is happy to be finished? She started at 2 and finished about 6:00. Now we have today to plan our picnic lunch that we will take with us tomorrow.

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