Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The old pro weaves. chpt 1

Chapter one: my first and last loom. I bought this loom in Denmark from a nice fellow who made them in his spare time. It's not the biggest loom I've ever owned or the most complicated, or even the sweetest-working loom, but it's small, portable, and does all I need. I sold all the others when I blew out my shoulders. Enlarge the photo and take note of the names of the parts. The breast beam is the part of the loom that is closest to your breast. I just didn't have space for the words up above. The counterbalance beam is a roller that lifts one harness as the other harness is pulled down when you tromp the treadle.
The harnesses hold the heddles. Each heddle will hold one thread of your warp. How many threads? Well, first, decide how wide you want your work to be. (Say 10 inches) then decide how close you want your warp threads to be (say 10 threads to the inch - a good sett for worsted weight yarn) So you will need 100 threads plus 10 % for draw-in or 110 threads. Make sure you have at least 55 heddles on each harness. (If you are weaving with fine thread, you can work with over a thousand heddles on occasion)

The beater will be used when you start weaving For now, let it rest against the breast beam.

You will start by making a dummy warp. Your loom can be used as your warping board. Using waste yarn, make a figure 8 over and over across the breast beam.

Count each figure 8 as four ends. When you have enough ends (Plus a few for a fudge factor) slip the ends of the 8 off the breast beam and tie an overhand knot in the middle.

Fasten the dummy warp to the back beam. (You should have a lot of loops of string on the back beam. Slip-knot the dummy warp onto one of these.)

Cut the ends of the 8. You now have a giant long tassle hanging on the back beam.

Draw a thread through the first heddle on the right on the back harness.

(This is a very simple loom. You won't have any fancy draw to worry about here.)

Draw the next thread through the first heddle on the right on the front harness. Alternating front and back harness, continue drawing threads through the heddles.

Every ten threads, I tie a slip knot to prevent the warp from accidentally being pulled out. Also, every knot is ten threads, so it makes counting easy. And, for my own fudge factor, I skip a set of heddles before I start drawing in more threads. That way. if I make a mistake, I have repair heddles handy. For a two harness loom, this isn't that big a deal. For a twelve harness loom with a complicated draw, it's a Godsend. Get into the habit. It will save hours of re-draw headaches.

Tomorrow - tie on your warp.


  • At 8:14 AM , Blogger Wannietta said...

    Wait a sec - what was that 1st thing again?
    Better you than me Roxie - I'll totally be sticking to my humble and un-complicated knitting!

  • At 9:14 AM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    Okay--if I had a loom, I could follow this...I want to see the end product to see if I should start dreaming about another obsession... (It's interesting either way!)

  • At 9:54 AM , Blogger Willow said...

    I've seen your end products Roxie and they are all beautifully woven! OK, I've GOT to get my loom set up! AHHHHH--I just don't have time right now....

  • At 12:09 PM , Blogger Willow said...

    just found
    she' weaving unmercerized cotton tea towels. Have you ever used cotton? How does it differ from wool/wool blends to weave?

  • At 1:52 PM , Blogger Warrior Knitter said...

    In just this same way I was SUCKED into socknitting.

    First it starts with pausing to admire the weaving ON the hand looms on the tables at the LYS. Somehow, it progesses to admiring the hand looms themselves and trying to puzzle out what the heck is going on there. Then one day you wander (quite by accident, I assure you) into the coned yarn and hand loom bits and pieces section of the LYS.

    Next thing you know, one of your regular SAFE blogs starts posting about setting one up and with photos and descriptions and a how-to for gosh sakes.

    Until you're done with this weaving thing here I'm reading your blog with my eyes closed so I won't be tempted or warped or anything.

  • At 5:26 PM , Anonymous Dave Daniels said...

    See, this is REAL weaving, not that stuff I was doing on rigid heddle looms going back to the 70's. Now, be really careful of your shoulders and stuff. TAKE IT EASY!

  • At 7:17 PM , Blogger Kate said...

    Good gravey! And the warping up is yet to come!!! Obviously this is an addictive hobby or you wouldn't be contemplating starting it again in the face of physio/chiro bills. Good luck with it and don't forget to pace yourself.

    Thanks for the support re memory and BSJ. Have proceeded in blind faith fashion!!

  • At 7:47 PM , Anonymous MonicaPDX said...

    Ok, see, we never used dummy warps in my weaving classes at the Portland Parks Bureau, so I've learned something new already! And the skipping heddles bit is a really neat trick too. Whee, new info!

    Just take it easy on those arms... (Oh, and LJ is down due to power outage or something, so - thanks much re comment, glad you got a good laugh, and oh man... a country girl book would be marvellous!)

  • At 6:20 AM , Anonymous Laurie said...

    Wow, I've been weaving for years and I've never seen a warping technique like this. I used to warp back to front and now I warp front to back. I must confess that I have no idea what a "dummy" warp is! I don't understand how you keep your cross - do you even need it? Can't wait to see your next installment.

    Oh, and the extra heddle idea is brilliant.

  • At 7:32 AM , Blogger The Queen of the Snow Cows said...

    Hi Roxie!

    You really make me miss my weaving days back in college. I wanted to keep weaving so badly that I actually thought about buying a loom. Between the prices and my lack of space it never happened...but now I can live vicariously through you! YAY!


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