It is my goal on this project to try as many of the techniques as possible so I can describe it on the blog, in lectures or in an eventual book. So I gathered up my hutzpah to ask Justin and Kate if I could ‘drive’ the loom. They were very gracious and helped me in the steps. Open the shed, grab the shuttle, throw it through (and CATCH), beat it and start again.
As you can see in the pictures – I found this to be much harder than I thought! It is like chewing gum and rubbing your head while hopping on one foot. Opening the shed by pushing on the foot petals took strength as I am shorter than Justin. But the hardest part was throwing the shuttle. I thought it would fly out the other end and I would have trouble catching it. NOT a worry! The shuttle kept getting stuck between the two layers and I would have to stick my fingers in between the warp to scoot it along. Justin made it look so easy and fast. You can see me looking close after beating down the weft to see if the weave was tight enough there. I don’t want that ‘defect in the weave’ to be because of me!
You can see the wonderful length of woven silk at the bottom take up – he estimated it to be between 1.5-2 yards at that point. I can only take credit for maybe three or four passes – not even an 1/8″ of it! Working on the sequence, it was really physically demanding and I can’t imagine doing a piece of fabric that is wider. You need some wingspan for that!