First Weaving

As promised, this post is dedicated to my newly finished, first post grad weaving project. I made a tote bag, as it only seemed right since that was the first under grad thing I wove. Before I took my weekend trip to Oklahoma, I had put the final coat of stain on my warping board that my husband and I were working on. And when I came home, he had finished putting it together and I was ready to go! He’s so sweet and supportive!

Here it is in all it’s beautiful glory! It’s not perfect, but it will definitely do what I need it to. And it should hold up to 14 yards of fiber if I am lucky! Which I won’t wind that much on at one time every time I make something, but it will come in handy when I want to make 5 scarves out of the same warp, without having the re-thread my loom.

I had my fiber measured out and the loom was dressed all in just under 3 hours. I did a pretty easy pattern and it was a short weaving so that cut down my prep time.

Then I set out on the actual weaving which in total took me about 3 hours and 20 minutes. [I am trying to keep track of my time so that when I begin selling things I will have a better idea of what to charge.]

This is nearly the end of the bag. After I finished it, I kept going and wove straps and a little extra piece after that. I purposely left myself extra length so that I could add on, and I really wanted to see if I could eliminate some of the loom waste. In school my professor always told us to makes sure we measure out 36 inches of loom waste when we are warping, and I thought maybe with this smaller loom I could get away with less… but she is the master fiber artist, and she was right. I still needed about 36 inches of loom waste. It’s just sad to have to throw that much away at the end of the weaving. And none of this probably makes sense anyways, because I’m not the best at explaining things, but the loom waste is for tying the fibers onto the loom so you have the knots on the front and the back. Plus at the end when you get close to the back knots, the fiber gets too tight to do anything with, so you have to stop before you get to the knots, and then you can’t really do anything with that part, so it’s waste.

Once I finished, I took my woven material off and sewed some stay-stiches on the edges so that I could wash it and work with it and it wouldn’t just completely fall apart. So I washed the fibers, and let them hang dry. Then, I sewed a lining to my long strip of woven material. Next I sewed the handles and attached them to the bag, then folded up the sides of the bag and hand stitched them together with the same fiber I used to weave the bag.

I did this mostly because the presser foot on my sewing machine is really short and I knew that it wouldn’t be able to take this much bulk, so I opted to whip-stitch the sides together rather than machine sewing them.

And here is my finished project!

So there you have it. A green and white woven tote bag! I am not 100% sure on what the total time it took me.. I kind of forgot to keep track of the sewing time.. But I know it was probably at least another 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours. So all together the whole project from start to finish took me about 9 – 10 hours. And for those of you wondering, No, I did not do it all in one day. I started last Wednesday and finished up yesterday afternoon.

It didn’t turn out the exact size that I wanted but that was my own fault. I drew in the sides a little too much while I was weaving, and the bag turned out a little more square than I wanted. I was going for the width to be more than the length. But I think I could make another one relatively easy. And this seems like it is a good fiber for a bag. It can be packed pretty tight, making it a good sturdy weave. And you can buy it from Walmart for like $7 for a big cone! So that would definitely keep the price of the bag on the lower end. It’s not perfect by any means, so I probably wouldn’t sell this particular one, but if you are interested let me know.

cheers.

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