Sunday, November 13, 2011

Never So Thankful To See A Warp End!

This was one of my most hated warps!   I didn't have too much trouble with the paw fabrics or the first fabric, but this last fabric for T11 was nothing but trouble.  There were so many warp breaks, that I decided to measure another warp just in case I decided to throw in the towel with this one.  It sure was tempting, but I don't give up easily.  This was a very welcome sight, though, when I finally had enough woven.  Thankfully, the fabric is fulled and then fused with interfacing on the back, so it should be pretty stable when finished.
All these weights dangling off the back of the loom except for the two on the edges were weighting broken warps.  It's a good thing I had lots of hooks and fender washers.
The whole time I was weaving T-11, I was thinking I would use the side that I could see, but after finishing it and getting it off the loom, I decided the backside would be more suitable for a young man (my oldest grandson).  So here is what it looks like.  I was able to pull all the broken warps to the back, trim them fairly short, and then got the interfacing fused.  Marking, cutting, and sewing will come later this week.

 I dislike using table looms for anything but workshops, because they slow me down.  Someday, this little Glimakra Victoria will get a set of treadles, but for now, I'm doing what I can to make the weaving simpler.  Table looms have such a short area to actually weave, about an inch at best, that I was having to stop to release the ratchet too often.  Thank goodness I took a class from Kati Reeder Meek and learned about live weight tensioning.  It's such a sweet technique, especially for table looms.

I used a small cotton cord (less than 1/4" diam.) from the hardware store and some barbell weights that were not being used.  The cord is wrapped three wraps around the backbeam with no overlaps.  The heavy weights are hung on one end of the rope and a lighter counter weight on the other end.

So, which end gets the heavy weight?  On my loom, the warp is winding off from the inside of the loom, so that end of the rope gets the heavy weights.  If the loom had the warp coming off the outside of the loom, the heavy weights would go on that end of the rope.
Here is a closer photo.  The beam has to have a clear space in order for this to work.  This warp, which is only about 12" wide, has one five pound weight, two three pounders, and one two pound weight on the heavy end, and one two pound weight for the counterweight.  I tried eight pounds at first, but it wasn't enough.  Once the weights are installed and dangling, then the back ratchet can be released.  Now when I need to move my warp forward, I just turn it from the front.  I don't have to release anything, and it stays a constant tension.  I love it!  Thanks Kati!
Since this was my first time using the loom, except for a doubleweave class, I looked through my book of eight shaft patterns and picked a dornick twill because I liked the looks of it, and because the treadling had leavers grouped together.  I figured that would help speed things up, and made for a logical progression of leaver pulls.

I am quite happy with the resulting fabric, and am probably destined to add another bear to the Griswold bear family. 
This photo is more accurate for the color.  For scale, the woven black area is only 1" deep.  The fine gray yarn came from my Alice Griswold collection, and the black is from my stash.  It is a 9/2 size wool and is a bit thicker than the gray wool warp.  I need to weave about 52" for a bear, not counting the paws, and so far, I have almost 18".

Next photos will probably be when I finish T10 and T11.  Hopefully soon!


  1. You are always showing us great tips for making things easier! Thank you for those. I was happy to hear that the fabric with the breaking warp ends is finished. That had to be extremely frustrating. I agree about using the back of your grandsons bear, too (not that you need anyones agreement). :) I, too, think it looks more masculine.
    The new fabric is looking very nice, as well.

  2. More lovely twills! I love how they come up when brushed, too.