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A Loom Lesson

The warp yarns are the ones attached to my floor loom. The warp’s threads are wound onto the rear warp beam and threaded through individual heddles as they make their way around to the front beam of my loom. The warp threads are like the foundation or supporting framework of my weavings. They must withstand the agitation of being raised and lowered, paired and unpaired with other warp yarns, and moved from the back to the front as I weave my textile yardage. In my latest weaving, I wanted to use some very thin, fragile yarns in my warp. I did it knowing that warp yarns must be durable. But I thought, somehow, I could weave and they wouldn’t break this time. Yet, before I had completed six inches of weaving, most all of those delicate yarns had broken. They were tangling and wadding up, thus creating quite a mess and disturbance for the rest of my weaving. When teaching, I always want to (and sometimes did!) skip through the “warping” process of establishing foundational classroom policies and procedures. I guess I thought my students would just read-my-mind this time! When I did skip setting up a “durable warp” in my classroom, I would have to continually deal with the breaking and tangling that occurred. Like my warp, I would have to either tie on new yarns to the broken ones or just cut them and leave the gap. Classroom policies and procedures can be presented in creative and caring ways. They can express what is important to you and why you are setting them up. Students can be told how your classroom routines will benefit everyone and why you are willing to enforce them. In the long run it will save you lots of time and energy. I will have a few broken warp ends with every weaving I create, but my latest messy encounter was a result of my own mishandling!

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