Creative talents, like houseplants and celebrities, wilt without proper attention. Flourish your creative ability with today's Groupon: for $39, you get a four-week Learn to Weave course at The Weaving Shed (an $80 value).
The expert entwiners at The Weaving Shed instruct pupils on the subtleties of loom-assisted cloth shaping via Learn to Weave classes. In the four-week weaving workshop, students become acquainted with the two-shaft, rigid heddle loom and create up to four woven pieces to show off at home, wear to work, or proudly display on a pet mannequin. After learning the basics of loom manipulation and warping in the first class, students use the second lesson to familiarize themselves with various weaving fibers and fabric-manipulating techniques (a $20 material fee). In week three, weavers forge a scarf from a choice of cotton (a $15 material fee), chenille (a $25 material fee), or wool (a $30 material fee), providing protection against freak dog-day winds or hiding hickeys from tattoo guns. In the final class, students take turns trying their hands at the large four-shaft floor loom, which culminates in the creation of a table-protecting mug rug.
Each session caps its number of participants at six, ensuring students will receive ample instructor attention to ask questions or create student-teacher secret handshakes. Though looms are provided at The Weaving Shed, attendees are permitted to bring their own. Although not included in this Groupon, The Weaving Shed also carries yarn for knitters and crocheters.
The Weaving Shed
The rigid heddle loom is a relatively simple machine. Jennifer Baum, The Weaving Shed's owner and a juried fiber artist, likes it because a beginning student can set it up and start a scarf within 45 minutes. Along with the loom's simplicity, Jen appreciates the therapeutic value of its rhythmic, back-and-forth cadence. As students work the loom to steadily pull fiber threads into a hand-woven item, they also shed the stress of their day. Jen sees these transformations—both in the progress of the project and the demeanor of the student—as she guides the technique and lends tips to the up to eight students that attend each class in the newly-expanded studio.
Along with classes, The Weaving Shed also spearheads a Farm to Yarn program with local farms. The natural or hand-dyed sheep's wool or alpaca fleece becomes a sustainable, specialty fiber for weaving, knitting, felting, crotchet, and spinning projects. This interest in cultivating local fibers hits especially close to Jen's home, AKA Sunny Knoll Farm, where, with her husband and children, she helps raise an ever-growing alpaca herd. She describes the alpaca as a very "zen-lifestyle animal," even though scientific journals refer to them as "respiring shag carpets." Along with laughing at the "fun family adventure" that the experience has been, she also praises the hypoallergenic qualities of the fleece and its 22 naturally occurring colors.