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Photo of woman working a loom
Traditional weaver Leota Davy

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The Mountain Weavers Guild and Fiber Art Traditions in the Potomac Highlands
A Local Legacy

Look at the clothes you are wearing. Everything is made of some kind of woven fabric. Did you know that before the days of machines, fabric was woven by hand?

Weaving is the interlacing of two strands of yarn so that they cross each other. Weaving can also be done on a device called a handloom. In the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, the Mountain Weavers Guild keeps the tradition of hand weaving alive. Members of the guild are assisted by instructors at the Augusta Heritage Center and sponsored by Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia.

Beginning and intermediate weavers learn how to thread a loom, wind a warp (lengthwise yarn), and weave on different types of looms. Advanced weavers explore more detailed weaves and designs. The history of weaving and the study of fibers and threads are also covered. There are so many different kinds of weaves, including satin, twill, jacquard, and ribbed, that there is plenty to learn. If you think about all the clothes you wear and all the different fabrics, just imagine learning how to weave each of them!

Today there are still people interested in the art of hand weaving -- hand woven fabric is highly valued and often considered an art form.

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