So, here are my looms hanging out in the craft room. Also, you can see my dappled fuchsia walls in the background. I don’t believe I’ve blogged a pic of them yet…
I have now dressed the little loom and am enjoying myself doing some leno; a project that’s long been sitting in the wings.
The only difference – and slightly strange thing – with the little loom, is that it only has a single heddle kit. I’ve had the double heddle kit on the big loom so long I’d forgotten how different they are!
It’s finally happened. The loom stork has visited and I haz a new loom!!
Not just a new loom, but a baby loom (half the size of my first loom). It’s unbelievably adorable, like a puppy or a baby lizard. Though I didn’t get it because it’s cute… I got it because it’s practical. My other loom is very portable, but large enough to be awkward in many situations. This little guy is super-duper portable.
Also, my projects often don’t utilise the width of my bigger loom. So, the baby will mean I can do my ordinary scarfs there, while leaving the bigger loom free for double weave and other fun stuff! Well, that’s the theory.
Who is the baby? Well, he’s another rigid heddle loom that folds up into a neat carry bag; known as the Ashford’s Knitters’ Loom. He’s just smaller (30cm/12″) than my other one (70cm/28″).
Something I did on my recent pattern that needed string heddles, was to try a different way of doing making the heddles. Didn’t like it as much as my usual way! I’m sure it could be refined though, so here is a comparison of the two methods…
A: As outlined in my older string heddle post, this involves using a continuous length of yarn/thread and pulling up loops with a hook, or finger tips. The dowel/shuttle/knitting needle – whatever you use as a backbone – is inserted through the loops. Finally, stick down with tape.Pros – I find this fast to set up, easy to adjust so all the loops are the same height (giving you even lift of warp threads) and your string heddles cannot come undone.
Cons – If you make a mistake you often have to undo all the heddles to that point to fix it and you have to start from scratch for each project.
B: You take a rigid heddle (or put two nails in a bit of wood a “heddle distance” apart) and you wrap your yarn/thread around to measure a loop, then tie the ends together to close the circle. Each loop you make is one heddle. You then squash the loop and put a twist in the middle. Feed one end under the warp thread you need to add to that shaft and slip both ends of the loop over your dowel/shuttle/knitting needle. Finally, stick down with tape.Pros – You can reuse the loops in future and the loops are easy to redo/adjust if you pick up the wrong warp thread.
Cons – I found the loop lengths varied making the lift a bit uneven, the knots occasionally came undone (I also broke one, but that might have been my thread choice) and they pulled sideways more, causing my tape to lift in places. Now that last point doesn’t matter too much, except it seemed to contribute to the knots coming undone.
In my very non-scientific single attempt with B heddles, I also thought it caused more abrasion of the warp threads…so overall, not a success for me. But, I did see a weaver online somewhere using this technique – cannot remember where – so others go okay with it!
Might need to try both methods side by side in a half and half to really test which works best…
A have a whole lot of weaving drafts that have the words “wacky threading” in the title. Because that’s how I warn myself that however pretty the pattern is, getting it on the loom will require mental gymnastics and, probably, string heddles.
Case in point: my most recent project. I’ve mentioned it a few posts back, but I thought it was worth a more detailed look at how I do these kind of patterns – ones with varying sized bunches of threads on one shaft – on a rigid heddle loom. Because that’s the thing… on a bigger loom the threading wouldn’t be wacky at all. It’s the “rigid” part of rigid heddle that creates the challenge.
In this pattern I had a warp that essentially had sections of plain weave, basket weave and… whatever you call groups of triple warp ends…on one shaft. Ditto the second shaft.
Option 1 is to use a reed meant for double the yarn size, so the basket weave (two warp ends together) keeps its normal spacing. Means you get a bit of an airy weave in the plain weave (single warp end) areas and crowding in the triple warp end areas, but that might settle out of the cloth when you full it, depending on your yarn. It usually means that your floating selvedge – generally a must with patterns – will be on a wider spacing than is ideal, too.
Option 2 is to ditch the reed and use string heddles and/or a pick up stick. This removes all spacing issues. Though it introduces a bit of a beating issue and your threads may twist/cross as you work. The first of these can be solved by having a reed – using only slots – though this can lead to lines where the heddle creates gaps between warp threads.
I went with option 2 because I was planning on working with wool and so didn’t think the open/crowded spacing would wash out. And I did leave my reed in place for beating.
The trick is to do a few other things to get around the problems a slot-only, string heddle solution introduces…
run two rows of plain weave, using scrap yarn and a needle, just in front of the back beam, to keep your threads from twisting (as you wind forward, wriggle these to the back so they don’t squish your shed)
whether you use one string heddle or two, use pick up sticks to make your shed every time (i.e. just use the string heddle to insert the stick), as this gives you a bigger, cleaner shed and is easier on your body!
whenever you insert a pick up stick, insert a strip of card into the shed at the fell line to check you haven’t missed any threads (if you have, check you haven’t broken a string heddle)
use your reed to beat, but have a needle handy to reposition any warp threads that are developing a gap
And, of course, if you’re using one string heddle and one pick up stick, then remember the string heddle needs to sit between the reed and the stick or you won’t be able to push the stick to the back beam and lift your string heddle.
With floating selvedges, remember not to include them in your string heddle/s!
As you may know, I didn’t do much weaving in 2018. It was a low project year. But 2019 is looking not too shabby as we head to the mid-point, with three completed projects and one on the loom… so much fun!
What started out as a plain weave scarf, ended up – due to plain weave fatigue – as an experiment in using up some thrums doing… well… it basically tapestry. Can’t wait to see how it fulls.
Then I decided that I should do something with my vari-dent reed… poor thing has been unloved since I bought it. Of course I didn’t use it for different gauge yarn – why would I use something for it’s intended purpose?! – instead I used it to play with spacing. Very pleased with the result!
For the first time in 3 years or so, I did twill. Just a 3 shaft, straight treadling, but it was useful to find all the things I’ve forgotten about twill! Pic might come later… accidentally deleted the pic of it on the loom… ahem.
What’s on the loom right now is an optical illusion 2 shaft pattern… soooooo enjoying this. And it meant I got to do string heddles and have all manner of fun with calculations… but, honestly, I’m in it for the way it messes with my eyes!
It’s been a while since my rigid heddle loom has been dressed and I gotta say there’s an itch growing.
Unfortunately I’ve been a laggard about painting my walls, so the craft room is still drop-sheet land. I do have my test patch done though and I think it’s going to look a-maze-ing!
When the woman at the paint shop popped the lid for the mandatory inspection, the two other customers at the counter made various exclamations about the… um… intensity of the colour. One bloke commented that you wouldn’t want to wake up to it with a hangover! Good thing I don’t sleep in the craft room, ey?
I like my walls to have visual interest.
As evidenced by the metallic, coffee paint I used in my guest bedroom. No one quite got it until they saw the end result. I’m thinking that’ll be the case for this room too, because everyone seems terrified of the fuchsia.
Anyways, I’ll be weaving again before xmas… hopefully.
You might have guessed that I haven’t been weaving much recently. Thus the lovely sound of “crickets” on the bloggy. But just because I’m not weaving, doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about weaving, or looking at the loom and going “you’re naked – you need dressing”.
Today, however, I had to pack the loom and all the bits into it’s nifty carry bag and it felt wrong. Like I was saying out-loud “no weaving to see here, move along”.
Of course no weaving can happen in my craft room while it undergoes a bit of renovation – that’s why the loom is in a bag for a few weeks.
What are the odds that I will end up dressing it and weaving in the loungeroom again? Just to prove the point that I don’t agree with this enforced non-weaving period. Yep, that’s quite likely.