Sunday, March 18, 2012

Emily Starts Weaving a Scarf

A couple weekends ago, the weekend of the big snowstorm, our granddaughter Emily was over, and asked if she would be able to weave a scarf.

She picked out some pretty chenille yarn, and I helped her design her warp.  She picked white, a varigated purple, and mint green, and got most of it on the warping board before she had to go home.

Emily was back over this weekend, so I showed her how to tie her warp, so it could be removed from the pegs without becoming a tangled mess.

Here she is starting to wind the warp on the back of the loom.  She's  learning lots of new terminology along the way.

Here she is with the warp almost all wound onto the back.  Three pound weights helped keep everything under control.  No glitches so far!

I helped her with the threading, with one of us on each side of the loom.  We did half the warp on Saturday night, and then today, we reversed positions, and finished the threading.  It gave her some experience with choosing the next yarn from the cross on the lease sticks, and then choosing the correct heddle and threading it with the hook.

I showed her how to tie the warp onto the front of the loom, but did it myself, since she hasn't mastered the tight knot-tying skill yet.

Here Emily is starting the weaving.  This is an odd little loom (a Leicester Dryad, 4 shaft countermarche), with no brake release. While she got started with the weaving, I set up the live-weight tensioning on the back (note the bar-bell weight dangling down on the rope).  With the live-weights, this has been an ideal loom for the kids, since they can easily wind their work forward without help.

This is an easy weave, with just plain weave, so she can concentrate on learning the proper way to hold and throw the shuttle, and where to put her hand on the beater.

 I'm having her use paperclip temples to help keep her edges straight.  She was able to get about 5" woven before we had to stop for dinner, and go home.  Hopefully she will have it done soon, or at least by next winter!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Removing Samples or Projects From a Long Warp

When I weave a new project design using yarn I might not be familiar with, or want to check the sett or shrinkage, I wind extra warp and weave a sample.  This is a pictorial guide to removing the sample in a way that minimizes warp waste, and doesn't require the warp to be tied back onto the front rod.  This is not my idea, just my photos. 

Weave 1/2" to 1" past the sample.  It depends on the yarn thickness--thinner yarn needs less.  Coat that area with Tacky Glue or equivalent and allow it to dry for about 30 minutes.  While it dries, go do stretches, check your e-mail, run a load of laundry, eat lunch, call Mom and Dad, or any number of things being neglected. ;^)

Cut the sample off, leaving the glued strip on the loom.  It's a good idea to remove any individual thread weights from the back of the loom before cutting.

Pull the rods forward, over the breast beam.

Carefully cut the sample from the tie-on rod.
I have already cut one towel off before this one, so my tie-on knots aren't in this photo.  If this was the first sample, this is where the knots would be.

Slide the rod closest to the reed out of the remaining strip and tie-on cords.  I use Texsolv cord to attach my two rods.  Some weavers lace on.  This warp is only about 16" wide, so I only used three tie-on cords, one at each edge of the warp, and one in the center.  The end cords should be as close to the warp edges as possible.  The rod will bow if they aren't close, and that will throw off the warp tension.

While holding tension on the warp, insert a wide stick into a tabby shed.  This is an extra step, but will make it easier to insert the rod, especially if you are doing it without help. 

Find the center of the warp.

 Mark the center with a pencil, on the glued strip.  If lacing is used, or more tie-on cords, mark the spacing on the glued strip.

Insert the rod into the first tie-on cord and then into the shed formed by the stick.  A bit of tension on the warp, and an extra hand helps.  Bob helped me out so I could shoot a picture.

Bring the rod through the warp at the center mark (or at your first mark if you are lacing or using more cords).  Attach the second cord, and then feed the rod through the rest of the shed.


Attach the final cord close to the end of the warp.  Make sure the rod goes through the proper hole in the cord, unlike me, in two pictures above, where I put it in the second hole, instead of the first.  I caught it before I got too much tension on the warp.

  Remove the wide stick, center the rod, and tighten the warp tension.  If you weight your selvedges separately, do so now.

 Weave three picks without beating.  Don't worry about getting them tight against the selvedge threads.  Close the shed and beat multiple times.  The three picks will come together, evenly spreading the warp, and pulling any uneven tension toward you. 

Repeat again, bringing the weft closer to the selvedges.  If it draws in more than the width in the reed, unweave, and do it again.  In most cases, the loom should be ready to weave your project.  I usually weave a few more rows, so I can add my paper clip temples.

I have a lot of baggy warp threads on this piece, because I had been weaving lace with a pick-up design in the middle, so the warp take-up was different across the piece.

The advantages to this technique are:  very little loom waste, no lumpy knots to cover, and the sample can be wet finished before starting on the project.  It can also be used to remove projects before running out of warp.

I hope the photos are helpful.  

Here is a photo of the project I removed from the loom.  It's in taking a bath right now, so the finished project photo will have to come later.  It is Atwater-Bronson lace done with pick-up on a four shaft loom.  The design will show much better after the bath.