by Karen McDougall
WAXHAW – Contemporary art takes many forms today, but one of the least common is weaving on a loom. Nevertheless, Waxhaw’s Pat Lundeen is passionate about her weaving.
Having been weaving for almost all of her life, she got into the artform at age 7, making potholders in the back of the car, driving from Chicago to the Grant Canyon. She then went on to macrame and today enjoys embroidery, cross stitch and “any kind of fiber art that does not involve a sewing machine.”
Pat has fun using a variety of yarns. She buys most of her yards online.
“When I travel, if there’s a yarn store, I always stop, if I can convince those I’m traveling with,” she says.
Primarily, she uses cotton yarns, which is suited for placemats and towels. She also likes to order yarns from Turkey. Since she travels a lot, she is able to pick up interesting yarns elsewhere. But a person can use something as simple to weave with as old clothes and denim, which also make rag rugs and coasters, she points out.
Weaving is an ancient art, done today mostly on giant mechanical looms. But crafters still do it by hand on looms on which one hand ties the vertical threads, or warp, and weaves other threads – the weft – between them, usually using a shuttle to slide the threads through. Pat does this on a floor loom with four shafts, each handling the threads.
As Pat explains, “with weaving you have three categories for making variations – pattern, color and the texture of the yarn itself, such as wool, chenille, bamboo, etc. It’s always best to work with [only] one or two of those variations, for example, color with contrasting color. With color contrast, the weave pattern stands out more.”
The biggest difficulties for Pat regarding weaving are 1) finding time to weave and 2) warping, or dressing, the loom – putting the vertical threads in place. For example, it takes 177 ends, or lines of yarn, each 6 1/2 yards long, to make 6-8 placements, and each end of the 177 threads must be tied to the apron rod of the back beam of the loom, then threaded through heddles and the reed, and then affixed tautly to the apron rod in the front of the loom. Then she must put paper between the layers of threads, so that the threads don’t lock onto each other. After all of this, the weaving can begin.
After weaving her placemats, she must wash and iron the mats, then cut them apart using a rotary cutter, to create the fringe.
In the future, she plans to work with a friend who sews and try to make unique vests and simple clothing using her hand-woven fabrics.
Want some crafts?
Waxhaw Bible Church holds its annual craft fair Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 6810 Pleasant Grove Road. Available will be artwork, weaving, quilting, jewelry, soaps, salves, cards, handmade wooden toys and many other crafts, as well as be baked goods and hot dog lunch. There will be hourly prize drawings and a free children’s craft table. Free entrance and parking.