Channelling is the process of drawing from the Aether and transforming it into a stream of magical energy that can be split and woven. The process is often described as opening a tap to let water flow but to those actually able to channel it this description is far from accurate. Water flowing from a tap only requires effort to open the tap, not to keep it open. Channelling the aether would be better described as pumping water out of an old hand-operated pump, requiring continuous effort. Another analogy that's common is that of spinning yarn; the channeler pulls on the aether and shapes it into a thread ready to be woven into magic.
The ability to channel the Aether is manifested in roughly two percent of the world's population. Weaving is equally common but does not overlap with the ability to channel. The majority of people who can channel the Aether aren't able to weave it and the majority of people able to weave are unable to channel. This means that people who are able to both channel and weave the Ather are quite rare. With the above numbers only one person in two thousand five hundred are gifted with both abilities.
Generally it is quite harmless to channel aether without it being woven, but under certain circumstances it can be dangerous and even lethal. The more stable the aether is the less hazardous it is to channel it without a weaver taking care of the channelled stream. However, if the aether is unstable or in some kind of motion when channelled complications will arise if the channelled Aether isn't handled properly.
The complications that can arise generally have effects similar to those associated with simple magical tricks; sudden bursts of energy, mostly thermal but sometimes kinetic or even electric. For the most part the effect will be harmless and the channeler will only feel a slight increase in temperature or a slight push in one direction. However, if circumstances are particularly bad it can be a lot worse. It is not unheard of that channelers have burst into fire or thrown through walls and windows after having channelled aether that wasn't woven.
The effect will usually be proportional to the amount of aether channelled but if the aether is especially chaotic in the area that might amplify the effect. This means that if unlucky and careless even small amounts of aether channelled without being woven can have dire consequences for a channeler.
In southern regions children are tested early on for the ability to channel so that they may be trained in it and so that accidents can be avoided. Testing happens regularly, about once a year, to see whether or not the child has developed the ability since last they were tested. Past a certain age no more testing is done as it is assumed the person won't be able to channel the Aether. It is also assumed that they are old and responsible enough to seek help should their ability to channel manifest unusually late. In the northern parts of the world this kind of testing is less rigorous as aether channelled without being woven is less prone to resulting in anything harmful happening.
Fortunately for those able to channel it is possible to channel aether in order for it to be woven by someone else. Weavers and channelers often work together wielding magic as a pair. This allows the weaver to focus solely on the weaving without having to bother with channelling. The channeller in turn receives the benefits of channelling large amounts of aether with little to no risk.