Friday, August 30, 2013

Repairing a Broken Warp Thread on the Loom

I was weaving along on my third towel on my current warp when I noticed a loose thread.  Sure enough, my nice strong warp had a broken warp thread.
Here is the culprit.  A lovable little fuzzball?  NOT!  A bit of fuzz made two of the threads stick together and one broke.  If you need to make the photo bigger, just click on it.
Here is the break by the back beam.
The first step is to isolate the broken warp and heddle.  This one happened to still be threaded.  I used my homemade warp separator, which is simple enough to make, but are available for purchase.  Google search warp separator.

Tie the broken end to the repair piece.
I am generous in cutting the repair piece, so I cut mine with enough to finish the towel I was working on plus some extra.  How much is needed depends on whether the break is in front of or behind the heddles, and how far into the piece the weaving has progressed.

You don't need enough to finish the entire remaining warp.  The object is to get back to using the original warp thread and do away with a dangling weight behind the loom.

Since I am weaving a hand towel that is only about 30" long, I will finish this towel before getting rid of the repair warp and fastening the original warp thread back onto the cloth.

Once the two ends are tied together, I pull the knot through the heddle.
Gently pull the knot through the reed.

I like the flat daisy head pins to attach the broken warp thread to the cloth.  Start the pin about 1/4" away from where the warp thread should be and bring the tip up 1/4" from that.

Wrap the repair warp around the pin 2-3 times in a figure eight and then anchor the tip of the pin in the fabric so it is not exposed to draw blood.
Sometimes photos are a good way to find errors.  As I was viewing my photos, I noticed the last orange weft thread wasn't doubled.   I was able to go back and fix that error and reset my pin.
Finally, go to the back of the loom and tie the other end of the broken warp to the repair warp.  Suspend a weight that gives the same amount of tension as the other warp threads.  An "s" hook works for me.
On a little more personal note, I have had one chemo treatment and my hair is gone.  It started falling out about nine days ago so I had a friend shave it off.  I have been working on crocheting a couple chemo hats (the white and turquoise ones) and my mom knit the pink one for me.

The weather has been pretty warm in Charlevoix, so I have become more comfortable going without a hat.  The cool weather will be coming soon though, and I am thankful for all the nice hats and caps  friends have given me.  They will all get put to good use!

I am feeling fine, my energy is almost back to normal, as is my appetite because my last chemo was over three weeks ago and it has been over six weeks since surgery.  I was supposed to get my next treatment yesterday but it was cancelled because my blood count was too low.  Hopefully it will be up enough to have the chemo next Thursday.  Right now, I am in a self-imposed semi-isolation.  I can't afford to get anyone's germs.  The up side to that is I am getting a fair amount of weaving done.  

Now, back to the loom!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Good Day for Teaching Weaving

Our son David and his family came for a short visit last night on their way to the UP to go camping.  This morning, while everyone was getting ready to go, I had an opportunity for another teachable moment with granddaughter Morgan.  She got to help me with finishing my last rug on the Weaver's Delight.  When we ran out of fabric for the tubes, I made some more strips and she helped me prepare them into a long strip to load into the tubes.

Here she is on the pink pony, finishing loading a tube.  I think she thought it was a pretty neat tool.
After finishing that project, we heard a commotion outside and walked out to the road to see a car burning a few doors down.  Just a little bit of excitement to start the day!  I have no idea whose car it was or the cause of the fire.  We watched (from a distance) as the fire spread more and more and eventually blew out three of the tires.
 I have had my sister-in-law Mary's Leicester Dryad countermarche loom for several years.  It was the first loom for me to ever use.  She was over recently and I asked her if she was ready to learn to weave.  Since I'm home all the time now, it is easier to fit into our schedules.  After everyone left for camping, we got to business winding a warp for a rayon chenille scarf.

Mary is a great student and grasped the warping concept right away.  I was able to go about my business doing other weaving things while she wound her two bouts of warp.

After we had lunch, we brought the warp to the loom and got it wound on the the back.  Having an assistant certainly makes the warping and winding go faster.  I showed her the back to front method.  We used the lease stick holding device and a 1/2" spacing raddle to spread the warp.

That was about all I was able to do in one day.  I was happy everything went so smoothly.  On Mary's next visit, we will tackle threading and sleying the reed and running a small sample of both plain weave and twill.  I am going to try 20 ends per inch, but think it may be a little too much at least for the plain weave. After doing a little sampling, we may end up resleying the reed to spread it out a little.  I'm looking forward to having someone come weave with me.  My project is on the loom next to hers on the left side of the photo.

If you think this loom looks a little odd, you are right.  It is only good for short warps because the front and back beams are also the cloth beams.  It is not a good loom for long warps because of the thickness that builds up on the beams.  It also doesn't have a brake release, so I will be showing her how live weight tensioning will solve that problem and make the loom very easy to use.

Now I am tired and it is nap time!  All in all, a great day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making a Repair Heddle and Adding a Warp Thread

Life can change unexpectedly.  Four weeks ago today, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  A week later I had major surgery to remove the masses.  After a week or two of healing and waiting for my chemo to start, I was thankful to have some weaving in the works that wasn't too heavy for me.  It is something I enjoy and can occupy my mind with something other than being sick.  I make dishtowels for all my girls every year for Christmas and I had started that project just before my diagnosis. I had part of it threaded, so was able to pick up where I left off.  I finished the threading, and then..... 

Oops!  I missed a warp thread right in the center of my warp and I discovered that fact after the whole warp was threaded through the heddles.
The loom I am using is my Leclerc Jano table loom.  It has wire heddles, so to do the repair, I need these handy diagonal cutters which are available in any hardware store.
 To get a better view, click on the picture. 

Clip the top and bottom loop on the heddle in the center.
Here is a better view without the cutter in the way.  This is just one of the extra heddles that were pushed off to the side.  Gently remove the cut heddle without unbending the wire too much.
Insert it into the proper spot on the heddle frame.  Tighten the wire loop a bit so it won't slip off.

Prepare a warp thread a bit longer than the other warps and thread it through the repair heddle from the back and incorporate it into the bundle of warp threads where it belongs.

Since everything was threaded, I tied my warp threads on to my front rod at this point.
When everything is tensioned correctly, I take the added warp thread in the back, and wind it around my fingers to take up most of the length.  Wrap some of the warp around the loops, fold it in half and insert an S hook into the to loops.

The warp thread dangles off the back of the loom.
The hook might be enough weight but if not, add fender washers until the right tension is achieved.  It should be the same as the adjacent threads.  If it is too tight, you will notice it when you start to weave because it will pull at the fell line.
 This is a handy little gadget used to spread the warp threads if any break while weaving or if you discover a threading error when you start weaving, or if like me, you miss a warp thread.
Insert it where the error is to hold the adjacent threads out of the way.  I made this today in about 30 minutes with a cedar shim, a utility knife and some sandpaper.  If you prefer to buy one, search for a warp spreader.  I have seen several that are made with nice hardwood.

If I happen to break a warp thread while doing these towels, I will do another post about that type of repair.