Speed Weaving

Is weaving quickly something to strive for?

Susan E. Horton Nov 27, 2019 - 3 min read

Speed Weaving Primary Image

Designing in the reed as I did for this blanket is not a speedy process. Photo by George Boe.

The other day a weaver in a rigid-heddle Facebook group posted that she had woven a scarf in less than 2 hours. She wasn’t a production weaver. In fact, in response to other group members’ queries about what she did with all of her scarves, she said she either gave them as gifts or gave them away to homeless shelters. I was stunned for three reasons:
• I can’t even decide on what colors I want to use in less than 2 hours much less make all of the other design decisions such as length, width, and pattern.
• Even on the rigid-heddle loom, it takes me at least an hour to warp, sometimes because I am still making design decisions.
• But mostly, I couldn’t understand why someone would want to weave quickly.

For me the point of weaving, is weaving. Of course, I think it’s great to have an end product—beautiful kitchen towels, napkins that match my dishes, and scarves for every occasion—but there are many times when the weaving of the thing is more important to me than the thing. It’s the peace and quiet of the loom while I thread and sley and the rhythm of the shuttle and beater as I weave that most appeals to me. I will admit to aiming for efficiency, but I don't aim for speed. Many of my favorite things to do at the loom slow my pace to a virtual standstill.

I take my time when I weave. That’s probably why I hem and haw when someone asks me how long it takes to weave a scarf or towel. The truthful answer would be, “I have no idea, and I really don’t care,” but I try my best to come up with something that doesn’t make me look completely insane, as in spending 5 hours to weave a kitchen towel. Yes, I get it, maybe not everyone cares that I did three rows of ladder hemstitching on both ends, but I do, and I’m happy about it.

I’ll leave speed weaving to anyone who wants to do it. I'm going to continue to weave, just to weave.

Weave well,