These are my first puny attempts at warp face fabric that turned out reasonably nice. They were done on a BACKSTRAP loom, much as primitive cultures have done for hundreds and hundreds of years. The fabric that this kind of loom creates is called warpfaced. This means that all you actually see is the up and down threads. (The warps for those who don't weave.)
Usually I do weftfaced fabric, (only the horizontal threads show) called tapestry. Most of the clothing we wear is called a blance weave. Meaning you see warp and weft and it has more drape than either of the other two, at least most of the time. Weftface / tapestry weave is even what is referred to as a 'boardy' fabric. This means it is somewhat stiff. Some are VERY stiff. Often it depends on the yarns thickness or fineness as to how much drape the end product will have.
One of the reasons I have pushed myself to learn is type of weaving, is that the loom is simply made up of sticks, and a strap that lashes around your body low on your hips. You can actually create one for NO MONEY! I have even seem them made from tree limbs. I really feel as though when most people think about weaving they thing 'Large floor loom', BIG money, complicated machinery. Not many people realize that even the simplest loom and keep the happy and challenged for many years for basically no money.
I was lucky, when I was introduced to weaving, my friend KraftyMax loaned me a state of the art loom. It was indeed a bead loom. I found that for myself, I prefer needle and thread bead weaving to loom bead weaving and one day warped it up with yarn. I was hooked from that day on!
When the nice fancy loom had to be returned I started reading up on the subject of Tapestry weaving, You see the fancy loaner loom was a 'Mirrix' Tapestry loom, on the expensive side really. I discovered that I really liked the way the Navajo Indians wove and kind of figured that if a Navajo can find a way to do this for hundreds of years with just what they could find in the desert, I should certainly be able to do it with the help of the local hardware store.
Believe me I went through a LOT of wood until I got my loom the way I wanted it. Drove the guys at my local Home Depot store crazy too. But eventually I had a PERFECT free standing loom that was a cross between a traditional Navajo loom and a Mirrix loom. I eventually even came up with a design for a tensioning device. But I digress.
The point is that if I can find ways to weave for minimal money, my students can be taught to do the same. Thus passing on this ancient art form.
I have determined though, that backstrap weaving is too hard on my body due to a bad fall a few years back. After many sleepless nights I have even found a way to do warpface fabric on my tapestry loom. This loom is predisposed to do weftface fabric so I really had to do alot of thinking and re-thinking to figure out a technique to make my loom conducive to this type of weaving. After much research, and a very sore back after weaving on the backstrap loom all day, last night I finally had success warping up the tapestry loom for warpface weaving.
Below you will see the blue and green bands that came off of the backstrap loom, they are complete, it somewhat simplicstic. Then you will see pictures of my tapestry loom with a piece on it that is indeed warpface. I am even going to try some supplementary warp patterns on this piece. It works kind of like inlay or brocade if you are familiar with these terms.
I have had tremendous help along the way from a lady who writes wonderful tutorials! Her name is Laverne Waddington and she has a blog and is active in Weavolution and Weavezine. I have no books of my own on backstrap weaving, so EVERYTHING I have learned about it came from this gifted weaver and the sites that we both participate in. Thank you Laverne.
I hope in some way I have inspired, or a least educated you a little to the fiber art of weaving. Watch for information on spindle spinning coming soon as well. I built my spindles also and even have an idea for a much prettier one. Stay tuned!
Here are the pictures I promised.