HOW WE MAKE WAYWARD WOVENS
CONCEPT AND DESIGN
Inspiration can come from many places. Whether it be a photo, a group of colors, or even a viral video, the process starts with an idea. From there, we make decisions about what we want the final product to look like. We choose colors and dye techniques, and often create a mockup of the warp design. Once all those elements are in place, it is time to begin working!
PROJECT AND YARN PREPARATION
All projects must begin with a warp, which is the collection of threads, "ends", that will go onto the loom. For most of our projects, we have around 800 of these ends! First, we measure the yarn for dyeing. Depending on the technique we are using, we will either measure chains of yarn in the total length of our warp, or skeins. The yarn must be prepped, dyed, batched, rinsed, and dried. This is often a multi-day process, where creativity can truly shine. If the warp was dyed in skeins, it must then be wound into balls, and measured into chains. Once all the chains are measured and secure, they are ready to be taken to the loom.
DRESSING THE LOOM
There is more than one technique to dressing a loom, and we employ various methods, depending on which loom we are using. However, regardless of which order we are doing them in, they do have steps in common. The yarn must be spread out over the width of the project, and wound evenly onto the back beam of the loom. For many of our long projects, this step alone can take many hours. Each shaft of the loom holds heddles, which have small holes in the center. Following the draft pattern that we have chosen, each end of the warp must be threaded through one of these holes, in the proper order, without crossing over themselves. At the front of the loom, there is a beater bar, which we use to press the weft yarn into place which weaving. This bar holds a wide comb, called a reed. Each end must also be threaded through a slot in this reed, to keep it spread out properly which weaving. The warp must also be tied onto a bar, which is attached to the front cloth beam. As the cloth is made, it advances from the back beam, through the heddles, through the reed, and onto this cloth beam. Once the warp is complete, it is from this beam that we unroll the cloth.
In addition to the warp yarn which runs the length of the project, we also need yarn that will go across the width of the project. This yarn must be wound onto bobbins or pirns, which will be held inside a shuttle. The shuttle allows us to throw the yarn back and forth across the width while weaving. Once we have finished dressing the loom, and have our weft yarn prepared, we must either tie up our shafts to our treadles, following the draft we have chosen, or peg the dobby bars on our largest loom. This will allow us to lift the shafts in the combinations we need to create a pattern on the cloth. While weaving, we press on the treadles in order, and throw the shuttle through the opening it creates. After each throw, known as a "pick", we press the weft yarn into place with the beater bar. Back and forth, back and forth, until the warp is finished. Depending on the length of the project, this can take days, weeks, or even months to finish.
Once the warp has all been woven, it is time to take the project off the loom. We cut the warp threads still tied onto the back beam, and unroll the cloth. After it is cut off the front beam, we secure it with a zig zag stitch so that nothing can come unraveled. Now it is time to wet finish! Wet finishing refers to the process of introducing the cloth to water for the first time. The threads full, or fluff up, and secure around each other, becoming fabric. Once the piece has been washed, dried, and pressed, it can be hemmed, and tagged. One final wash, dry, and press, and the piece is nearly ready to head home!
PACKAGING AND SHIPMENT
Each Wayward wrap is tagged with important care information and a registration card. Along with your piece, you will receive a bundle of repair threads. If a thread ever becomes snagged or broken while using your wrap, these threads will be a perfect match. Your item can be repaired seamlessly, so you can continue to enjoy using it safely and beautifully.