I left the reed half-constructed in the previous post, but it was finished within the three-day workshop, I love how it looks like something maritime while on the stand, with its twin masts and hanging bobbins. There was a scary moment when Bryan discovered a problem with the width, but he corrected it with some selective pounding. Soon enough I had a finished reed!
When I got home I immediately cleared the deck to weave with it, rummaging in my weaving yarn bin to find the right warp. I chose an undyed cottolin a friend had given me, and found some handspun for weft.
I wound a long warp, more than 3 meters. When I first tied on, I had to open the door behind me in the photo, and sit in the closet. Some astute observers may be thinking that those two balls don't look like much weft, and that is correct. I was so eager to get started, I didn't even think of measuring for weft, and they were already wound in balls without recorded yardage anyway (I had the idea I would ply them with something else eventually), so I plunged in with about three bobbins' worth of weft. Needless to say, I had to spin more as I went along. But I was weaving! With my handmade reed! Longer, finer, and wider than most of my backstrap weaving so far.
Somehow the fabric felt Japanese. The width is similar to kimono cloth, but the use of this tool seemed to put the whole project into a certain cultural mode. I always like the state of mind I have while weaving, but this time it was even more transformative. Bryan had talked about the Japanese aesthetic and the deep roots of the mindset, and I felt tapped in to the sense of making "egoless cloth" with this piece.
The end result feels Japanese to me, too, in an intangible way. I'm grateful to Bryan for helping me access this way of weaving. Although I spent three years in Japan, I was not able to engage with textile making in that context, so it has been elusive for me.
Meanwhile, I went to work on another, smaller reed. We had enough supplies to make a second reed of 8 inches or so. I set this up and tied it slowly, relishing the process. I very much like doing the work of making this tool.
The second one ended up with about the same dent (22 epi), wide enough for 8 inches of weaving. I hope to to some sakiori with this one, using my stash of kimono silks as weft.
Oh, and by now I have my second large piece on the loom with the wider reed. It's handspun wool warp & weft, only about 2 meters long this time, and less than 12 inches wide (I measured the yarn this time.)