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Historical weaver teaches tradition
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Terry Asper demonstrates how to weave cloth at the Great Bend Public Library on Friday. She explained different ways that people weaved fabric in historical times. - photo by Russell Edem/Great Bend Tribune

During a weaving demonstration Friday at the Great Bend Public Library, Terry Asper described some of the looms used throughout history.
“Weaving has been around for thousands of years and the principle of how items are made stays the same,” Asper said. “It takes a lot of time and practice doing this by hand, but when you are finished you appreciate your work.”
Friday’s class went over three different types of looms:
• The Inkle loom is a simple table loom, but can also be found in a larger form as a floor loom. They are designed to create long, strong braids.
• Tapestry looms, also called frame looms, are extremely easy to warp and weave, but the weaving is limited not just by the width of the loom – which is the case with any loom, small or large – but also by the length (or height) of the loom. These frame looms are ideal to make a tapestry to hang on the wall.
• Small looms and weaving cards are suitable for small projects or as a good introduction to the basics of weaving.
“These looms were used throughout history and made off kinds of different straps, handles for bags and today they can be used to make dog leashes, straps for purses and many other items.” Asper said.
Weaving is acknowledged as one of the oldest surviving crafts in the world. The tradition of weaving traces back to Neolithic times – approximately 12,000 years ago. Even before the actual process of weaving was discovered, the basic principle of weaving was applied to interlace branches and twigs to create fences, shelters and baskets for protection.
Weaving is one of the primary methods of textile production and it involves interlinking a set of vertical threads with a set of horizontal threads. The set of vertical threads are known as wrap and the set of horizontal threads are known as weft.
Weaving can be done by hand or by using machines. Machines used for weaving are called looms.
Looms originated from crude wooden frames and gradually transformed into the modern sophisticated electronic weaving machine. Nowadays weaving has become a mechanized process, though hand weaving is still in practice.
Finger weaving, lacing and knotting together of threads by hand, is still used today by many weavers. During the Neolithic Era mankind developed great skill in weaving cloth. Every household produced cloth for their own needs.
Weaving cloth remained an activity associated with the family unit for thousands of years. By the 11th century many of the weaving patterns used today had been invented. Skilled weavers developed highly specialized cloth.
During this time the task of weaving cloth began slowly to move away from the family unit into specialized work places.
Cloth weaving became a mechanized industry with the development of steam and water powered looms during the Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1815). The invention of the fly shuttle removed the need to have a weaver place the weft thread into the warp by hand.