Learning To Weave

From a very early age I was interested in weaving, and particularly in rug weaving. So my childhood efforts in this direction consisted of making pompons which I sewed to a piece of canvas with a printed pattern. A pompom rug. Then there were the latchet hooked rugs, again with a preprinted pattern. And finally I moved on to braided rugs. All this was in the 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Then came a gap – many other activities took precedence. College, graduate school, first jobs, etc. Knitting was about the only textile/wool craft which appeared sporadically.

Late in the 1960’s I married and before long I was the mother of 3 young sons. Our young family went to St. Lucia in the Caribbean for 2 years. A magical island. It was customary to have a maid and this left me free to do ……..what? I turned my thoughts to craft work – I could obtain canvas and a hook but not the appropriate yarn. I turned to sewing, with a new sewing machine. And embroidery on a printed canvas. But I wanted to finally learn to weave.

So our next overseas adventure was to Fiji. I had time in Dublin (our home in between overseas assignments) to get prepared. I saw a box containing a child’s weaving loom made by Spears. It was high up on a shelf in Nimble Fingers, a toy shop near us in Stillorgan. If I recall correctly it cost about 5 pounds?? Really very inexpensive and just the thing to ship to Fiji along with our other belongings.

(A side note here – Nimble Fingers also stocked the precut packs of wool for making a latched hooked rug. These supplies were not prominently displayed. One had to sort of root around, which I was happy to do!)

So when we arrived in Suva, Fiji, survived our struggles with the epidemic of dengue fever (not nice), unpacked our belongings – I began to weave. Tiny beginnings but I soon progressed to a 4 shaft table loom and then a floor loom. And with a floor loom I could actually weave rugs. At last!