We met in Cary so we could drive to the mountains together. Sue came in from Connecticut (she had planned to fly, but had to drive because her flight was cancelled) and Jackie came up from Pinehurst). We packed up the car and headed out on our road trip with no real idea of what to expect.
The Folk School was founded in 1925. It offers year-round 5-day and weekend classes on a large variety of topics including music, arts, crafts, and some unexpected subjects. During the week that we were there, 140 people attended classes in weaving, nuno felting, enameling, jewelry making, Italian cooking, writing, mandolin playing, wood turning, wooden mantle carving, blacksmithing, watercolors, chair caning, woodworking, and book arts.
Classes actually began on Friday evening after registration and dinner in the dining room. After that we had daily class for four days each morning and afternoon with optional sessions in the evening after dinner. We were treated to stories and music at Morning Song each day before breakfast. All meals were served in the dining room. There were many optional activities at all times of the day including morning walks, tours of the campus and studios, chair massages, clogging demonstrations, contra dances, and the list goes on.
The best part, however, was the class itself. None of us knew anything about deflected doubleweave. Lisa (Elisabeth) Hill was a wonderful, generous instructor. She came with 2 tables full of yarn for us to use, pre-wound warps for anyone that chose to use them. We used gorgeous tencel, silk and wool, alpaca and silk, and merino yarns to warp our looms with beautiful 6-yard long warps that were 10” wide.
We had a 2 part mission: weave a sampler and weave a scarf! Our first assignment was to weave a nice long sampler using 2 different treadlings and a total of about 16 different treadlings. We cut the samplers from the loom and washed and dried them so we could which decide which treadlings to use for a scarf.
Decisions made, we tied back on and wove our scarves. We had time to twist our fringe, wash and dry (or almost dry) our scarves so they would be ready for the big presentation on Friday before everyone went home. Thirteen scarves, thirteen completely different threadings and colorways. (Number thirteen was woven by Lisa’s pretty wonderful assistant, Lillian). Pretty amazing results!
When we first learn to weave we usually are taught to tie up our treadles from left to right just as they are written in a typical draft.
Traditionally, you would set up the treadles from left to right as they are written in the tieup:
Treadle 1 2 Center 3 4
Lifting 12 23 34 41
Foot --Left-- --Right--
To weave this pattern, you would use your left foot to weave treadle 1 followed by treadle 2, then switch to your right foot to weave treadles 3 followed by treadle 4.
Walking the treadles is a much more comfortable, ergonomic alternative to this. The treadles still lift the same harnesses in the same order in order to get the same pattern. The difference is that the treadles under the loom are not tied up from left to right. They are tied up so that you can “walk” the treadles left-right-left-right from the center out. Your odd numbered treadles will be on the left, even on the right.
Advantages to walking the treadles:
I have been happily weaving since my son was born in 1988.