February 01, 2015

Weaving with Nature - Issue 6


Text and photos by Rebekka Seale - Camellia Fiber Company

Here in the southeastern United States, seasons come and go ferociously, and with gusto. In the sweltering heat of summer, we can barely remember the pale light of winter. The golden days of autumn feel far away in the middle of a spring rainstorm.  We find ourselves wanting to hold on to seasons, afternoons, trips to the seashore, lest we forget them too quickly. Weaving with fiber and foraged bits from nature is a beautiful way to remember the holidays, seasons, and moments that we hold dear. 

All you need for a simple, rustic branch weaving is a medium-sized forked branch, several scraps of yarn, an embroidery needle with a large eye, and collected bits from nature  (dried flowers, feathers, grasses and seed pods all work very well).  The branch will act as your loom.  The first step is to put the warp on the branch (the warp is the threads on a loom over and under which the other threads are passed). Choose a yarn that is sturdy and will not break, and start at the base of the forked section of the branch. Tie the yarn to the branch and begin wrapping the yarn around each side of the branch, alternating between sides. It is a good idea to twist the yarn twice around each side of the branch so it is secure. The warp should be taut, but not so tight that the branch bends.  Next, choose a yarn to begin weaving with. Any sort of yarn works here: thin, chunky, funky, bright, neutral…there are no rights or wrongs! Thread this yarn through your needle and weave it over and under the warp yarn. A fork or comb can be used to push the woven yarn down towards the branch. When you are ready to change colors, simply cut the yarn you are using and leave a tail that can be woven in later, and add a new color. The bits of nature can be added in as well, in any order, or they can be woven in at the end. The best part of this project is that it is completely open to interpretation! When the weaving is finished, cut the last yarn, tie it to one of the branches, and weave in all the tails. Branch weavings are lovely displayed on walls, given as gifts, or added to baskets and vases.  They serve as visual reminders of moments in time that are beautiful, but fleeting.