The weaving and dyeing process

The process for creating scarves and shawls is very involved. First the warp is measured out, then soaked to prepare for dyeing. The dye is applied by hand, then rinsed and dried. Once the warp is ready, it is threaded on the loom. Each warp will make 3 scarves or shawls.

Dyeing

Carrie and Mindy work together to choose the unique colorways for their luminous scarves and shawls. Each colorway contains 4-5 colors which are blended along the length of the warp yarns during the dyeing process.

Always experimenting with color, the fiber artists often add new colorways to fit the current fashion trends.

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Weaving

Once the warp has been dyeing, washed and dried, it is put on the loom, with each strand of yarn threaded through a different heddle on a sequence of harnesses determined by the chosen pattern. All warp is then wound on the back beam of the loom under precise tension.

The weaving process is controlled by the computer-driven dobby mechanism. The weaver throws the shuttle and beats the weft yarn into place, changing the shed with the loom treadle. This repetitive process produces an almost zen-like mood, as each throw of the shuttle produces another row in the pattern. The change in color as the warp is pulled forward and the weaving progresses is always a surprise.

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Finishing

Each scarf and shawl is hemstitched on each end, and then the fringe is twisted and secured before washing. After drying, each item is steam pressed to produce the wonderful softness and shine that is characteristic of these scarves and shawls.

Pattern design

Both fiber artists design the woven patterns on computer, drawing from traditional patterns and creating many original patterns. The preferred weaving software is WeaveMaker, which works on both Macintosh (Mindy) and Windows (Carrie).

The computer is used with their compu-dobby looms to assist in controlling the loom treadle system which defines the patterns. These compu-dobby looms are descendants of the jacquard looms of the 1700s, which many consider to be the first computers because of the use of punch cards to control the woven pattern.

The carefully designed patterns and the weft colors crossing the changing warp colors produce the luminous shimmer that is characteristic of Loominarias scarves and shawls.