7. Taking the denim off the loom

 Hand dyed, handwoven denim, being taken off of the table loom. 

Hand dyed, handwoven denim, being taken off of the table loom. 

Cutting the indigo-dyed yarn from the table loom

That was scary. Finally, after months of work and pure stubbornness, the five yards of cotton twill was ready to be cut off the loom. We brought it in to the Swedish Cultural Center to cut it off with Lisa, who had helped us learn the ins and outs of weaving since the beginning of this project.

The releasing of the material started at the end, after the last weft fill had been beaten down. Some sources suggest putting in a few passes of thicker yarn to prevent the yarns from unraveling, but since we were planning on cover stitching the edges soon, we went ahead and cut directly after the weft. 

Each crisp snip of the warp yarn carried with it a sense of finality. The warp yarns that had heretofore been taut, animated, and sturdy fell limp and lifeless off the loom. Some of the most recently added wefts began to inch towards the loosened ends. We gently folded the material and pulled it out of the front cloth beam. The dowel that had been holding the warp yarns came loose of the beam and we cut along the knots, releasing the material completely from the wooden loom that had been its home for so long. 

Carefully removing the header yarn, we cover stitched the edges on an overlock machine to prevent any more yarns from unraveling. 

Handwoven denim, unfurled

Unfurled, the material stretched to a good 4.75 yards. We admired the irregularities of the weave, creating blue gradations across the fabric. The material had a surprisingly soft hand and silky drape to it. Lisa told us that we needed to run it through the wash so the yarns would tighten up and become the stiffer denim material that we were accustomed to. But for now, we gazed at this material, which was greater than the sum of its parts.  

 3x1 twill on a table loom. 

3x1 twill on a table loom.