Posts Tagged ‘heddles’

how to warp an earthy loom from front to back, abridged

1. tie the bouts you’ve measured to the front beam.

2. sley the reed.

3. thread your heddles:

4. as you’re threading your heddles, tie every ten ends with a knot:

5. tie your knotted ends to the back apron rod.

6. beam your warp (wind it up on the back beam). make sure you pull it tight every few turns, and separate the threads with stiff paper or sticks:

7. tie eight ends at a time to the front apron rod with surgeon’s knots:

6. tighten and re-tighten all your knots to give an even tension over the warp:

7. throw a couple shots of thicker or doubled-up yarn to spread the warp out. these shots will be pulled out in the end:

8. ok: now weave! yalla, indeed!

oh no — a broken warp!

if you weave, it’s bound to happen: a warp thread breaks. here is one of mine doing exactly that:

this one didn’t totally snap, but a few of its plies seemed to have broken, and as a result it became much, much looser than the neighboring ends.

to fix it, i pinned a new warp end to the fabric, threaded it through the correct heddle, and tied it to the good part of the broken end closer to the back beam:

then back to weaving, hemstitch it up, and i’m done with grass no.2.

the herringbone grass

my second strip of grass is going to be woven in a herringbone twill with a color-graduated warp. here’s the first bout (first 150 ends of the 300 ends i need) measured out on the warping board:

the high-tech little method below is what i use to keep track of the count. for every 10 ends, you wrap the yarn. i need 150, so 15 wraps will do me. the yellow thread at the very bottom is my guide for wrapping on the warping board… for instance, if i need 3.2 yards, i measure a guide thread to that length, figure out the path between pegs that works perfectly, then follow that path for my measuring.

next is a photo i took with a cool little iphone app named hipstamatic that my sister turned me on to. yeah, its fun, but i quickly realized it doesn’t serve the purpose of clear documentation very well. in any case, this is the second bout measured out, and you can see i’m beginning to tie it up with all the various knots that help keep it from tangling up after its taken off the warping board.

below is the first shot of green, and you can see the herringbone pattern and graduated colors of the warp. to get this pattern, i had to switch up the threading of the heddles from 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 (straight) to 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 (point). the new threading took me quite a while to get used to, and i spent a fair amount of time double- and triple-checking my work, making it go pretty slow.

then, to make matters worse, i hadn’t foreseen that, compared to a straight threading, double the amount of heddles would be needed on shafts 2 and 3, and about half as many on shafts 1 and 4. i noticed this when i was about 3/4 done threading the first bout, but waited til i had used up all the heddles on shafts 2 and 3 before moving some over from shafts 1 and 4. can you say HUGE pain the ass? it is WAY easier to move heddles when you don’t have over half of them threaded. blah.

this is my weavie helper, mahana, making sure the weft yarn on my shuttle doesn’t get out of hand.

the end of grass no.1

i’m almost done with grassy strip no.1. the whole thing is woven in 2/2 twill with the randomly striped warp and lots of weft striping.

here it is wound up on the front beam:

below is the back apron rod. you can tell i’m pretty much done because this is the end of the warp, and it’s getting super close to the heddles.

you can also see my “fix” for a mistake in threading at the beginning of this strip. twills really benefit from a “floating selvedge,” a weft end on each side of the fabric that is not threaded through a heddle (so it doesn’t move up and down with the shafts). you wrap the weft around the floating selvedge on each shot in order to avoid long pieces of selvedge that aren’t incorporated into the fabric due to twill’s pattern. it’s a little hard to describe, but becomes readily apparent while weaving if you forget.

so, if you need to add a weft end in after you’ve already warped the loom, you can use a weight to hang the end over the back beam, giving it the same tension as the other ends. the weight i’m using is a thick block of kiln-formed glass i made in a class taught by my friend, glass artist sarinda jones (props to my mom, cindy, for the class!). i wrapped the yarn around the center of the block and held it in place with a rubber band. worked like a charm!

the fabric is hemstitched in yellow and cut off the loom:

all done and ready to be pulled off:

my fairway is going to be really, really big sampler

yes, i’ve been “gone” for quite a while… the super short version is that i have moved from utah to colorado. the move has taken up the bulk of my time since my last post, but i’m back on the loom and whipping carpets out once again.

i’ve decided this fairway, on one level, is best approached as a large sampler. i really like this idea… it brings to mind the samplers that women would produce for both decoration and practice, and it will also provide a somewhat linear example of weaving techniques as my fairway progresses from tee-off to hole.

in the sampler spirit, the first piece i weave has a one-color warp (all white) and will be woven in plain weave with a striped weft. below are some photos from warping the loom for this first bit of “sky” tee-off rug.

this is my hand holding the cross, which is the “X” i got from the warping board. the cross helps me keep the ends straight while i thread the reed.

i use a sley hook to pull each end through the reed, which, when i’m done with one bout (150 ends), looks like this:

you can see the next bout tied to the front beam, awaiting their turn. once the reed has been sleyed (sounds so medieval, no?), we have all the ends ready for threading the heddles. in the next photo, the sleyed ends are draped over the shafts, just kinda hanging out:

i’ll have to post a photo in the future of the rest of the warping process… never fear, i will have plenty of opportunity to take more pictures of it.

nothing more fun than warping a floor loom!

now, for the task i have to admit i’ve been slightly dreading: warping the loom.

it’s not rocket science to warp a loom (did i ever mention i was on a short list to be in a nuclear engineer for the navy?). there are simple steps, and if you follow them one by one, with patience and time to spend, you’ll have a warped loom, guaranteed.

1. tie your measured bouts to the breast beam
2. thread the reed
3. thread your heddles
4. tie on to the back apron rod
5. beam your warp
6. tie on to the front apron rod

simple, right? ha.

the good news is, i pretty much went through this process with no major screw ups. i didn’t double-thread any reeds or heddles, i lined my warp up pretty even on the loom, and ended up with a nice, even tension across the width. pretty sweet, really, when i consider how many times i had to re-warp a 6″ wide scarf i wove last winter. the only thing that i really need to tighten up is the time spent — i’ve calculated that i need to warp the loom 12 times in the next 6 weeks, so i’ve got to get it down to an art.

i think i can, i think i can, i think i can….