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Learning to Weave, auf Deutsch

I saved some links and info for today’s post earlier, and then got busy doing other things. When I opened the file to actually write the post, I had to chuckle at myself. I knew that I was doing it at the time, but when I gave a title to the post I did it in German: Weben Lernen (Learning to Weave). It just seemed a little more succinct that way.

Anyway, Wood and I have moved around a lot in our married life. We lived in Switzerland for three years at one point because Wood had a temporary company transfer. That was quite the experience, and perhaps I’ll write more about it at another time.

Now here is a little background information to make sense of my story. The biggest grocery store in Switzerland, Migros, has an interesting history. While we were there I had no idea that it was a cooperative that someone could buy into. I just knew that its stores were all over the place. I remember that you could tell how big the store was on the inside by the sign outside. It goes from “M” to “MM” to “MMM”, the largest having the most letters. I just googled the store by our apartment, and couldn’t see how many M’s it had, but it might have been two.

Not only does Migros offer groceries, but they do a lot of other things. They offer a variety of other “products”. One such is the Klubschule. You can’t quite call them evening classes, because their locations are open from morning into the evening. Apparently a lot of people are enrolled in at least one of their classes. The graphic shows Klubschule locations, and a current number of ?classes? offered.

While in Switzerland I made friends with a lady that worked with Wood. She and I had a lot in common. At one point she decided she would take a weaving class at the main Klubschule in downtown Bern. I decided that sounded like fun. Somehow we found an opening, and I was able to attend with her.

In those classes we learned how to measure a warp (the longwise yarns in the cloth), dress a table loom (put the warp onto the loom), and weave. When each weaving project was done we were charged for supplies based on how much everything that came off the loom weighed. Some people took the same class from the same teacher over and over because they had no other access to a loom. As I recall my friend and I took the class two times. I know that I wove my first fabric in addition to planning and weaving another fabric.

My friend and I each decided that we needed looms of our own. I think it was my friend who knew of a good place to go look at looms, and it wasn’t too far away. So, husbands in tow, we went to Zürcher & Co (current name Zürcher Stalder AG).

We both were looking at two looms, one that would fold down to give more room, and a jack loom. It turned out that she bought the folding loom. Wood has always been interested in how wood products are put together, and encouraged me to get the jack loom, since it looked like it could withstand the fabric being beaten out. (In the long run my friend traded in her folding loom for one just like mine.)

Then I needed to learn how to use my own loom. I had some choices to make. The weaving classes I took were given in German. I lived in Switzerland, but planned on returning to the United States. To buy books and supplies to further my pursuit, I could go English or German, with metric or English measurements. I chose the option that seemed most logical at the time: English books to teach myself, and metric for all my measurements. I was able to get good prices for metric reeds; ones using the English measurements would have been much more expensive at the time.

Upon returning to the United States to stay, I discovered some quirks in my weaving experience. When talking about weaving, some of my first-choice words were German words. Sometimes when I translated them they didn’t come out with the standard terms an American weaver would recognize. Take the German word “Kamm”. It translates to “comb”, the same word both for the thing we use on our hair, and a part of the loom. However, in English, that part is called a “reed”. I guess they were made from split reeds for a long time and acquired their name that way. Nonetheless, when I am talking to an English speaking weaver about that part of the loom I have to be careful which word I use. And I always have to translate any American weaving instructions from English measurements into metric. We can choose our actions, but not their consequences.

The image for this post is a scarf I wove for someone before we left Switzerland.

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