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​Beginner Weaving Class Student Review

Warped, Woven & in Love in 5 Days

“You should take the class,” my husband said. He was absolutely right. We had driven 5 hours to another state to pick up a 1972 LeClerc floor loom, and I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. But the Beginner Weaving class was also recommended as a refresher course. What if I was the only clueless one in the bunch? I wasn’t even sure which part was a heddle, and which was a shaft.

Warm Welcome for Weavers

Instructor Tom Knisely met us in the parking lot in his trademark Birkenstocks and welcomed our group of six women to Red Stone Glen. Inside, the fires were stoked, the welcome bags and the floor looms were ready. “Come on, gang. Gather round the table,” called Tom. And so we began.

Turns out several students had previous experience with floor and table looms. It also turned out that three of us had convinced our husbands to drive pickup trucks across state lines to get us floor looms in the past few weeks! We were all at different levels, but close enough that it didn’t matter in the least.

Active Learning at the Loom

The group was lovely and camaraderie was encouraged from day one. We’d eat lunch together daily, commiserate when we’d make a mistake, and gather around each other’s looms to learn everything we could.

Like Mrs. Mallard’s ducklings, we’d follow Tom from loom to loom, and then we’d each try “swimming” at our own loom. And we were all amazed when we took thread and made actual cloth. Not just any cloth, but dish towels and samplers with intricate patterning.

Mistakes Happen. And that’s Okay.

Now, I did get mine wrong when one of my tie-ups on the foot treadle decided to hitch a ride on its neighbor, and my pattern looked nothing like Rose Path, but an awful lot like morse code, but Tom was right there. He calmly explained what happened, and how to fix it. As an instructor, Tom oozes positivity. His joy in weaving and teaching seems endless, and he is quick to notice when a student is confused. Better still, he made sure we actually “got it” before moving on.

A Perfect Weaving Match

One of the things I appreciated most was the pairing of student to loom. I had just gotten a LeClerc, and that’s what I got to use in the studio for our big project. Even if Red Glen didn’t have your exact loom, they were able to match you up with a very similar loom to give you good practice before you headed home to weave solo.

There’s More to Weaving Than Just the Loom

As a newer weaver, I’ve been the recipient of random fiber from my knitting friends. Most of the fiber was unlabelled, and some class time was devoted to understanding the differences between protein and cellulose fibers. How to weave with them, how to wash them, and how to mix them.

Was the Class Worth It?

Absolutely. I learned an amazing amount of material in just 5 days. Not only did I learn it around the table, each step was presented in manageable amounts, and then we practiced hands-on. The result? I learned how to plan projects, how to measure materials, how to follow patterns, how to warp a loom, how to weave several different pieces and how not to be overwhelmed doing any of it. And I went home with a dish towel, a gamp or sampler, and a beautiful scarf, all wrought by my own hand.

There is a quiet meditation in the act of weaving. The repetitive motions calm the mind and reduce stress. Weaving makes no attempt to be technology-forward, folks have used the same methods for ages, to great success. This Beginning Weaving class was truly just the beginning for me. In a world that moves so fast everywhere else, time spent at Red Stone learning this ancient art is time well-spent.

I Want to Learn More. Join Me?

The new class calendar for 2020 goes live on January 16th. Along with all the favorites, Sarah has some new classes in mind to bridge the gap between mindfulness and weaving. She’s also cooking up plans to take advantage of Red Glen’s glorious 50 acres, complete with beach and sisterhood circles around a campfire. There’s so much 2020 will have to offer, and I plan to be there, learning and connecting along the way. Care to join me?

8/2 unmercerized cotton sampler

December 2019 Beginner Weaving Class at the Glen