Sometimes there are days when you know you should just stay in bed.
I was late getting into the loom shed today, although it was still technically morning, just, and was set to make headway into the tweed that had been tied in the day before.
Yesterday evening had involved “pulling through” the myriad of freshly knotted yarns, a slightly nerve racking affair involving manually winding the threads through the heddles and dents of the reed and onto the the front rollers to be woven. A ratchet wheel to the side draws knots through like tiny herring on a thousand feathered lines and there’s always a slightly tense moment as they strain through the balleen teeth of the beater. A successful pull through is a fine thing, to see every knot take the strain and hold fast. And it was and they did.
Warp prepare to meet thy weft.
Weft bobbins sit on a rather inglorious side table into which various holes have been drilled and nails perfunctorily driven. The bobbin table is like the nerdy little brother to the big loom and I always feel the designers could have made it much cooler, given it some flair or at least a bit of paint. But it does its job geekily enough and that’s all that matters I suppose.
There was only to be one colour of weft thread but good practice stipulates that the weaver uses two alternating bobbins to ensure a ubiquity of colour as the cloth progresses. Two threads from these bobbins get strung up, through, over, between, around and into a maze of holes, grips and bars until they finally spring through the wiry, Claptonesque fingers of the guides that eventually direct them into the maw of the rapier to be bound in the grip of the shed.
(Riveting stuff huh? Well you were warned…)
Now it’s time to saddle up, check your bells, pump the pedals and ride, weaving just a few inches at first to check the pattern emerges correctly and everything is behaving as it should, all is in the right place, things are tickety-boo. And they were. A nice left-to-right plain twill emerged in tradition tweed colours, natural, mottled, tasteful. A Zen master, had there been one handy at this point, may have whispered the word “Shibui…”
So the planets appeared aligned, a new Harris Tweed was ready to be brought into the world, on a croft in the Outer Hebrides as tradition and law dictates, the Gods had spoken…Let It Be!
But either my karma was do-lally or I’d got sinful fluff in one of the looms’ chakras because it all went downhill from this point forward…