About Hand Weaving and History

Handweaving is referred to as the art of creating woven textiles by use of hand using various weaving techniques in the world. It consists of knitting two separate threads or yarns at right angles to form a cloth or fabric.

The two threads are known as weft and the warp. This is distinguished from looping and Knotting Techniques, which produce fiber out of one piece of yarn like is the case with crochet or knitting.

Fabric is usually intertwined on a loom- a device that holds the warp threads still while the weft is knitted through them.

There are also several weaving techniques worldwide, and any method that is not industrial or automated is regarded as hand weaving. However, let’s travel back in time and look at where weaving started and how it became trendy.

History of Hand Weaving

Humans well knew hand-weaving since the Paleolithic era. For instance, flax weavings are in Egypt, dating from 5000BC. This was the first type of weaving in ancient Egypt, which was afterward replaced by wool at around 2000BC.

At the start of counting time, hand weaving was well known in great civilizations.

By 700AD, vertical and horizontal looms could be located in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Similarly, there also existed pit-treadle loom with pedals for operating heddles.

The pit-treadle loom was first found in Iran, Syria, and Islamic sections of East Africa. Islam religion entailed the covering from neck to ankle, which enhanced the demand for cloth.

In Africa, the affluent wore cotton clothes while the poor wore wool. In 1177, however, the loom was advanced in Spain and rising on a more substantial frame. The weaver’s hands were now free to pass the shuttle, while the feet operated the heddles.

In medieval Europe, weaving was conducted at home and traded at fairs. Weaving then spread rapidly, and guilds were established. Plague, famine, and wars reallocated the manufacturing of fabrics to centralized buildings.

America depended much on Great Britain for manufactured goods. They, therefore, started knitting cloth from locally produced fibers. Wool and cotton were widely used, but due to the labor-intensive process to split seeds from cotton fiber, wool was typically used.

With the invention of the cotton gin- the machine that easily separates seeds from their cotton fibers, the process changed. Hemps and flax were commonly used as a fabric material. Plaine Weave was also ideal in the ancient times with decorations knitted woodblock printing or fabric.

The industrial revolution transformed weaving from hand to machine. In 1733, the flying shuttle was invented by John Kay. It enabled fast and efficient weaving of broader fabric. Also, the first factories for weaving were put up in 1785. In around 1803, the Jacquard loom was discovered.

It could be programmed by the use of punch cards to facilitate faster weaving of obscure patterns. White dyes were first printed with natural dyes, while synthetic dyes came in the second half of the 19th century.