Posts Tagged ‘loom’

plaid sky

i can only weave 2′ wide on my loom. most of my fairway is about 4′ wide, however, so for every section i need to weave two lengths that will be sewn together.

i’m making the second length of “sky” a plain weave plaid. it’s pretty easy to do — instead of measuring out one color of warp, i changed the color of the ends into random widths of stripes. then, when i weave in stripes of weft, viola! plaid.

stripey sky

getting some of the “sky” tee-off carpet woven. here it is on the loom:

i have three yarns wrapped on my shuttle, and i have three shuttles about that length. i’m alternating stripes randomly.

below is a close-up of plain weave and the measuring tape i pin to the side to keep track of how much length i’ve woven.

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….

ingredients

there are lots of bits and things and gadgets weavers need, and they all have odd english- (as in, british-) sounding names like heddle, treadle, warp beam, raddle, sley hook, and so on. reminds me of woodworking (dado, kerf, mortise, rabbet, etc). i love it — makes you feel a part of an age-old tradition.

originally, i was going to weave a very, very nice carpet with linen warp (the warp is the part that is stretched on the loom) and wool weft (the weft is the part that you weave back and forth and is wrapped on the shuttle). however, a couple quick calculations made it clear that these quality, durable yarns would soon break the bank — the linen weft alone would, even with deep bulk discounts, cost more than buying all the weft AND warp in cotton. cotton doesn’t wear as well, but as the entire carpet will be glued down to pieces of plywood in the end, and since i’m only getting $2500 for the piece, i’m going to take my chances with cotton. the upside is that there are many more colors available in cotton, and it’s well known that i’m a color whore. given my aesthetic, i figure any wear and tear will, in the end, add to the charm of the hole.

here’s my first shipment of yarn — both the 8/4 carpet warp and thicker weft stuff for the shag areas — plus a couple 30″ stick shuttles:

first yarn shipment

first yarn shipment, plus a couple 30" stick shuttles

i bought a smallish warping board from three wishes fiber arts, and borrowed a larger board from joanne, a member of the mary meigs atwater weavers guild (mmawg). here’s the smaller board with the first guide string tied on (more in this later):

small schacht warping board

small schacht warping board w/2.4yd guide string tied on

i’m weaving this green on a 4-harness schacht baby wolf floor loom rented from the mmawg. it’s really cool —  folds up for easy storage and has wheels to help move it around. here’s the warping board clamped on to the loom, which gives me a good height for wrapping the yarn:

warping board clamped to loom

warping board clamped to loom

next: measuring the first warp out. wheehoo!