I was privileged over the last two days to take a beginning backstrap weaving class with Laverne Waddington at the delightful and well-stocked Sheep and Shawl in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. It was wonderful! My brain is so full, I can't be terribly articulate, but I'll say this: Take a class from Laverne. Just do it.
Over the two days, we worked on four warps:
From left to right: The first warp was already prepared for us by Laverne. The photo shows both ends of the warp. This warp was just to get us used to working the loom and to accustom our fingers to the process. The left-hand side is my first end; the right-hand end is after we turned the warp to the other end. I improved!
We wound the second warp, the brown and orange one, in class and used it to practice simple, 6-end pickup patterns. The photo shows the back of the band; can you see where I wrapped the warp from side to side? Oops.
At the end of day one, we practiced making a warp again and too the warp home to work on. I only got a little ways along, just playing with pickup patterns, but I will finish this off. I plan to finish all of these warps, just for the practice.
On day 2, we wound a wider warp and learned to make heddles over a stick. Then we practiced two supplementary weft techniques. For the first one, the extra weft goes all the way from one side of the band to other. I did the blue and (incomplete) red motifs that way; you can see how I didn't crowd the white warps closely enough to really hide the colored weft. The second weft technique just inlays the weft from side to side of the motif, with the turning of the weft forming a narrow line up the sides of the motif. Mine were in copper and just a little wonky.
I am so pleased with everything I learned! I'm going to practice a lot more, just to cement all these techniques in my brain, so expect to see lots of little bands in the months to come. Someday, I aspire to weave something like this, one of Laverne's many, many samples she brought to show us:
Fantastic, isn't it? I might turn out to be a bag lady after all.