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And practice

Another experiment underway.

Another experiment underway.

Another finger-woven strap begun tonight, another experimental practice piece. This time I used some old acrylic worsted weight that I had lying around. I had some questions I needed to answer for myself. For one thing, as I’m left-handed, I had to know if I could do this as well with my left hand. I know this sounds strange. If I’m left-handed, wouldn’t I have been working with my left hand in the first place? Yes…and no.

I write with my left hand, yes. But there are some things that I’m more comfortable doing with my right hand, and in some cases, when I try something new, as with finger weaving, the instructions are written for right handed people, so that’s where I start. Sometimes it’s difficult to translate those instructions to my left, so once I get the hang of it with my right hand, then I can translate it over. It’s very odd. I think sometimes it has to do with size, for lack of a better term. Big things = right hand, little things = left. If I’m hand sewing with a needle and thread, that’s my left hand. If I’m pitching a ball, it’s my right. Weird. I don’t get it either; it’s how I’ve always been, so I don’t sweat it.

Anyway. So I needed to know if I could do it with my left hand, and the answer was yes. It took a try or two, but once I got it, I got it.

A finger woven strap is woven on a diagonal. It’s what the threads do, no matter what. Left-handed, it’s an S diagonal, meaning that the direction of the weave matches the diagonal of an S. Right-handed, it’s a Z diagonal. The other question I had tonight was whether or not I could change direction on a strap, or weave in both directions without splitting the strap in the middle as you do with the arrowhead and diamond patterns, neither of which I’m ready for just yet.

That question, I haven’t satisfactorily answered yet. I did try it, and the way I did it, I was weaving back and forth with the same thread, rather than taking it across and turning it back into a warp thread, which is the premise of finger weaving. You don’t have dedicated warp and weft. If you have eight warp threads, you have eight weft threads. Each pick, you take your first warp thread from your selvedge, weave it across the other seven, and drop it down beside those seven, thus becoming your eighth warp. Now your second warp thread has become first in line, and your eighth has become your seventh. You take that first warp once again, weave across, and it becomes your new eighth. And you repeat the pattern all the way through the weaving. If you switch directions, you have two things that can happen. 1 – one pick descends on an S diagonal, and your next descends on a Z, which means that you have a whole triangular section of warp threads that aren’t actually woven. 2 – it looks just like any other plain weave, but not a finger woven one.

I imagine that the second outcome isn’t that bad; if you want your strap to look like a different type of weave, you could do it that way, but why bother? If I want to do plain warp-faced weaving, that’s what my inkle loom is for, and it moves much faster than finger weaving, because the entire warp is under tension and I’ve got heddles.

The reason the question hasn’t been answered to my satisfaction yet is that I only tried it with one warp thread. I need to try it a different way before I’m satisfied that it can’t be done…or it can.

It’s probable that the answer I’m looking for can be found in a book that I don’t have, or somewhere on the net, but then I have no reason to experiment, so I’ll keep messing about this way for a moment. Hey, I’m having fun.

But now, I’m going to take a break from both blogging and weaving and go watch some Firefly. Good night, everybody!


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