Monday, March 21, 2016

Northwest News 
Association of Northwest Weavers' Guilds
Volume 19 Issue I              Fall/Winter 2015-2016
Shuswap Spinners and Weavers Guild an artical written by Judith Glibbery
Salmon Arm, British Columbia, nestled along the shores of Shuswap Lake, is home to the Shuswap Spinners and Weavers Guild. Our guild has always enjoyed creating guild projects that will be inclusive of all members and all levels of experience. The latest project of choice was a group blanket weaving/waulking project. The weaving took place in our guild room on our 60-inch Woolhouse Loom. Our experienced weavers would provide assistance, if required, for our newer weavers. As well, because we always have a high profile presence at our local fair, it was decided the waulking would take place at our Salmon Arm Fair in September. The fair venue would provide an entertaining and educational experience for both the public and our members. A lovely goose-eye plaid was chosen for the blankets, using five colours. We set to work, warping the loom for five blankets, using Briggs and Little, Regal, with a sett of 10 e.p.i. During the weaving process, the weavers used a short -cut process that kept all the blankets joined together with twisted fringes before the removal of the web. Once one blanket was woven, the weavers hemstitched the end of their blanket, moved the warp ahead allowing for the appropriate length of fringe, and a new weaver started weaving the next blanket. After a couple of inches of weaving, the beginning of the blanket was hemstitched, and the weaver returned to the warp threads of the previous blanket. The weaver started to twist the bundles (while still on the loom) in one direction and, once twisted, twisted each bundle of two in the opposite direction until they could not twist anymore. A strong yarn was put through the remaining holes in order to maintain and secure the twist and left there. Then the weaver continued on. The result? Five blankets, joined together with fringes already twisted. A neat trick to cut down on the usual tedium of twisting fringes after removing the web from the loom! The joined blankets were soaked in hot water with Dawn dish detergent in preparation for the waulking. Waulking usually takes place with Celtic music and singing to assist waulkers in picking up the web, throwing it down, and moving it to the person next door in a consistent rhythm. We had no access to such music, but one of our members kindly provided some great rhythms for us on her accordion. It worked out just fine and the web kept moving around the table in splendid style. Every so often the waulking stopped and our coordinator checked the state of the fulling until we had it just right. Special attention was given the already-twisted fringes to make sure we were fulling the twisted fringes adequately. Once the waulking was finished, the excess moisture was squeezed out of the web by hand. Our coordinator used a quilting ruler and rotary cutter and expertly cut the twisted fringes evenly between each blanket. Members took about 30 minutes, brushing in both warp and weft direction on both front and back of the blanket while wet, to sufficiently raise the nap. Individual blankets were then taken home to rinse all the detergent out and do the final blocking. A variety of ways to do the final rinsing were used, ranging from laying a blanket on mesh wire and using a garden hose, some used a bath tub, some rinsing and spinning out excess soap and moisture in a top loader washing machine. Our members were thrilled with their beautiful blankets and the public thoroughly enjoyed watching the process. Enjoyable? You bet it was. We’ve already got members names on a list to do another set. Greetings from the Shuswap Spinners and Weavers Guild in beautiful Salmon Arm, British Columbia!