Amongst crafts, weaving is one of the oldest and most versatile forms that have managed to survive the trials that come with the introduction of modern technology. The concept of taking thread or yarn and interlacing them to create a fabric is one of the best and most simple ways of making something interesting out of raw materials. Getting warps and wefts to combine together in a beautiful marriage of symmetry, weaving takes matters to a whole new level with the versatility and beauty of its finished products.
There are many different variations of weaving and everything from the technique, the materials used and even the colours have their own special characteristics based on the region they belong to. The most common technique, using a loom or a machine that works with manual controls is the basic essence of weaving although learning the craft and exploiting it to its maximum capability is a whole lot different than simply knowing about it.
The Basic Weaving Concept
The idea of weaving is based on interlocking threads to create a tight pattern that is sturdy enough to withstand rough handling, just like any other piece of clothing. There are three basic patterns that are used across the panel, by weavers, and these include the plain weave, the satin weave and the twill. Depending on the kind of patterns you are working on, these can be combined with different colours to create some incredible designs.
The process, itself, involves the use of a loom to hold the threads in place and interlace them by moving the handles of the loom in a particular direction or way. The thread is mounted onto the loom at right angles to each other with the warp threads running longitudinally and the weft threads running at right angles to them. In a typical loom, a warp thread is held horizontally, parallel to each other although this might still change depending on the kind of loom you are using.
There are three basic actions that are repeated over and over again, in weaving, to create a piece of cloth. The first is shedding, which basically involves raising or lowering the heddle frames to create a space through which the pick, or a single weft thread, can pass through. Once you have raised it, you need to move onto the second step, called picking, which involves taking the pick and moving it across the loom.
Finally, you end by beating up or battening, which is basically the process of pushing the weft up against the cloth, along its fall. Each warp has two overlapping groups that run along two different planes, one on top of the other. The line always passes between the two, in a straight and smooth motion, that leads to the formation of the mesh.
Changes over Time
The role of the weaver has changed immensely since the beginning of the craft. While, earlier, weaving was an important part of society, the introduction of industrial set-ups in the weaving industry completely changed the game. The power loom made the hand-loom weaver obsolete and production quantities began pushing these small and slow weavers out of business and out of the industry. There were many protests against eh introduction of technology into this arena but none could make any form of difference as business owners preferred the lower labour costs and higher productivity of these massive looms.
Since men were the main users of the hand-loom, due to the strength required to use the machine, the craft started dying out. As they lost their livelihood, they had to let go of the machines too because most women weren't strong enough to work these machines. That said, weaving has been recognized as one of the most important forms of craft in human history and preservation or conservation of this craft form, by many hobbyists, has led to a rise in profile in recent times.
Not only are small and handicraft industries being promoted by governments all over the world, there is a special provision created for those who are involved in this wonderful craft. In some parts of the world, like places in South America and India, remote regions still have little access to ready-made clothing and cloth, resulting in an undeterred focus on weaving. The process is still the same and the people are still using the same techniques and the same looms that their ancestors had been using in their times. The only difference, today, is that for someone to take up weaving as a hobby, the machines have become lighter, even though they remain as complicated as ever.
Join a group of sign up for some classes if you want to take up weaving. Don't go out there and buy a weaving loom machine right from the outset. Make sure you are interested enough in the hobby to give it a shot and then, you will find that you're much more adept at getting things done and creating magic when weaving with a loom.