Quick recap – measured the yarn on the warping board, sleyed the reed, threaded the heddles, and now, we wind! This is a shorter project than my normal bolt of fabric. Thus, the winding on will take a lot less time – yay! Once the yarn is wound onto the back beam and tied on the front, the loom will be officially dressed! (This can be your little trivia for the day. Setting up a loom is called “dressing the loom”!)
The loom is set up with a brake that keeps the back beam from moving. When I’m weaving, everything needs to stay tight and under tension. So, when I’m winding on, I have to release the brake (which is in the front) and crank the back beam at the same time. It’s a lot like Twister – left hand red, right foot green. Let’s just say, it’s a good thing I do a little yoga so I don’t hurt myself! (Someday, I’ll include a picture! But not today.)
Meanwhile, at the front of the loom, I have broken up the yarn into small bunches. Each bunch gets a yank to straighten them out before I forward the project.
So, there’s a little dance that goes on – tug the yarn at the front, then shift to the side to contort your body such that the brake is released and the back beam moves a turn. And what I learned early on, is that when you tug on the yarn, you want to protect your hands! If you don’t, blisters settle in fast!
Oh! And while all this is going on, I’m feeding yardsticks into the back to keep the yarn from creating mountains and valleys, which would mess with the tension.
And so it goes until all the yarn is on the back and I see the ends coming up the front!
The knots are next! When I learned to weave, I was taught a fancy knot for this step that I use most of the time, provided I leave myself enough yarn!
So, before I begin weaving, I have to be sure the loom is set up correctly for the pattern. To do this, I have to crawl under the loom. (Again, where the yoga comes in handy!) The pedals under the loom (they are called treadles) and the shafts (frames that hold the heddles, which hold the yarn) are connected. I have to be sure they are connected per the pattern I’m following. A little tricky to explain. But, at least you can see the underbelly of the loom!
And once this is done, I am ready to weave! About time, right? Soon, very soon, there will be weaving…