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Why are all of Marshfield's first-time students—even experienced weavers—required to take Foundations? In short, because the historic equipment and methods we use are not taught anywhere else. This class is centered around engaging with our antique looms and the techniques they’re designed for. Foundations is a fun, intensive, boot camp style class that covers several centuries of traditional weaving and the efficient techniques that tradition offers to contemporary weavers.


Class begins with an introduction to the Marshfield School of Weaving, a history of the traditional techniques preserved here, and a discussion about project planning including yarn sizes and calculating setts. Following the Monday morning lecture, students select one of two projects to weave, a Scottish wedding blanket, or nappery (toweling), scaled to suit their experience level. First time weavers will work with plied wool or cotton yarns and weave a throw-sized blanket or a pair of towels. More experienced students may weave a two-panel bed sized blanket in singles wool, or napery in singles linen. With an appropriate challenge selected, students embark on their project and will learn efficient, centuries-old methods for:


  • Winding a warp with multiple-ends and two leases, a 1/1 lease for drawing-in, and a lease of gangs for counting and beaming 
  • Beaming on their warp with a raddle and no packing (sticks or paper)
  • Drawing-in (threading the heddles) in one inch groups
  • Sleying the reed
  • Tying on the warp with consistent tension
  • Building a counterbalance shedding mechanism
  • Tying up the treadles in walking fashion
  • Working with an end-delivery shuttle
  • Pirn winding
  • Proper use of a temple
  • Repairing broken warp ends
  • Mending and burling the finished web


Students will receive instruction on how to complete the finishing of their cloth at home. Unlike a class focused on creating a collection of woven samples, this class is an in-depth look at the entire weaving process with a strong emphasis on tool, technique, and material.


Materials will be billed separately by weight.


There is no prerequisite or prior weaving experience required for this class. Students will choose a variation on one of two preplanned projects to match their experience level: a Scottish wedding blanket, or napery/toweling. To weave a custom designed project, returning students may enroll in an Open Workshop week. 

Foundations | Justin Squizzero

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