Sprang at the Textile Center

I like taking classes and learning new techniques. I enjoy the process of learning, and I’ve tried various things over the years. This time, I tried sprang, a technique that has been used throughout much of the world and dates back to at least the Bronze Age.

The Weavers Guild of Minnesota offers a series of Try It! classes, and sprang was my second time learning a technique through this kind of survey class with them. The class was taught by Karen Searle, a local fiber artist particularly known for her figurative crochet, and with an excellent teaching reputation.

Sprang is an odd thing. You work in the middle, and the weaving (and any ensuing mistake) then happens at both ends. You can use your fingers, which is what I did, or an extra thin stick – which is what is needed at the middle when there isn’t enough room for fingers. Also, anything wider than your hand wouldn’t really work without a stick, I think.

What’s needed to weave sprang is an adjustable bar to hold tension at each end, and four smaller dowel-type things to hold the weaving in place. This is a frame for a canvas, with cotton twine to hold the end bars, and two pairs of knitting needles. The wooden ones are much better than metal or plastic, which can slide out. I broke a pair of plastic ones; this is under tension. As it looks now, it appears to be a warp-faced weave.

When you’re done, you take it off the loom and use some method to keep it all from unraveling. Chain stitching it works, or you could weave with some extra thread. This is linen.


Folded at the center chain, and the sides laced together into a pouch, with the twine through the end loops created by the rods of the loom.

Spread open. The standard weave is the top part of the pouch, changing directions is the variation in the middle. The lower left? A mistake. At this point, I’ve taken it back a couple of times, and I don’t expect to use it, but keep it as a sample piece (along with the actual sample with variations that I made in class). I saw the mistake a couple rows past, and decided to leave it.

I’m going to continue to explore new techniques, just for fun. One in the Try It! series I hope to schedule sometime is spindle spinning. I have three spindles and some roving in my stash, waiting for me. I would definitely take another class from Karen, she was a great teacher.

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