The weaving you’re watching is only one step in a long process. Here are the steps that each of our scarves goes through in order to become a Silk Weaving Studio handwoven scarf:
1. Each weaver dyes her own yarn; the dyeing is done at the weaver’s home.
2. After planning the scarf series, the weaver winds the warp. This process ensures that all the warp yarns (the lengthwise ones) are the same length, and are in the proper order.
3. The warp is then distributed into the raddle, a piece of equipment that ensures that the carefully counted threads are spaced precisely to the correct width and density. The raddle is used only for beaming the warp.
4. The warp is then “beamed”, or wound onto the loom. This can be a time-consuming and patience-testing process if the warp is long. During the beaming, the weaver ensures that all the warp yarns are tensioned evenly. When she’s finished, the warp is wound entirely onto the warp beam of the loom (at the back).
5. Now the threading begins. Each of the warp yarns must pass through one heddle, the vertical guides (white on some looms, metal on others) that hang on the harnesses. Part of the weave structure is determined by the order in which the harnesses are threaded.
6. Once the heddles are all threaded, then the warp is “sleyed” – it is drawn through the reed at the front of the loom. The reed takes over from the raddle, ensuring that the width and density of the warp is accurate and consistent.
7. After sleying, the warp threads can be tied onto the front apron. While the weaver does this, she carefully tensions the yarns to make certain the yarns are even all across the width of the warp.
8. The next step varies from one loom to the next. On a manual loom, the treadles (foot pedals) are manually tied up. The treadles determine which harnesses rise and fall for each shuttle pass. On the computer looms, the “tie ups” are done in a computer program.
9. At last the weaver can begin weaving. The weaving is the fast part.
10.After the weaving is completed, the pieces are cut from the loom, and any twisting of the fringes is done. Then the pieces are “wet finished” – they’re gently handwashed and pressed. Then they’re labelled and ready for you to see.
So that’s the long answer to the question. The short answer is: A Long Time.