Tag: dressing the loom

What's weavin'? 

When I first started the blog, I only focused on my weaving projects. And these days, I’m branching out to include “day in the life of an artist” types of stories. But, I don’t want to cut out all the fun weaving going on simultaneously! So, I think the plan will be to sprinkle projects in randomly, providing much needed color/pattern/texture into our lives. Yay! 

Last week, I wrapped up my green project on the demonstration loom. I had originally set it up for the American Craft Council Show in Atlanta in March. But, it’s been sitting around looking pretty ever since! So, I finally finished it! 

Birdseye view of green project
Cutting off the project

I am about halfway through dressing the floor loom with a new project, which is always exciting! It’s a little red & sky blue action this time! 
Red project on the warping board
Adding choke ties before I take it off the warping board
Sleying the reed
Ready to go into the floor loom

And that, my friends, is what’s weavin’! I’ll keep you posted on how things progress! 

How are your projects going? 

The birth of a project 

Here are the steps I go through to set up the loom before each event!

These were the winning colors!
Measured the yarns on the warping board.
The lovely warp – ready to go!
Sleyed the reed!
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Threaded the heddles.
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Tied the yarns on to the back of the loom. 
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Started winding the yarns through the loom. 
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Tied the yarns to the back.
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Put a few spacers in place (toilet paper) and it’s ready to go!!! 

Bob & weave…

We aren’t boxing today. But, I do enjoy weaving phrases that have nothing to do with working at a loom! If you come across any, feel free to send them my way! Always appreciated!

TP in first!
TP in first!

The loom has been dressed (set-up) and is now ready to go! First up, I’ll put in a little toilet paper to act as a spacer. You only need a handful of rows to even everything out. I like TP because the perforation makes it easy to remove later and I use the cheap stuff so I’m not investing too much. I try to save my money for yarn – lots and lots of yarn!!!

About 5 rows should do it!
About 5 rows should do it!
Bring in the weft!
Bring in the weft!

I’m going to kick things off with some green yarn – my favorite go-to! The plan is to take the colors in the warp (yarns in the loom) and mimic them in the weft (yarns in the shuttle). Plus, I’m occasionally throwing in a few strips of recycled neckties for good measure!

Green is a great place to start!
Green is a great place to start!
Rolling the fabric forward!
Rolling the fabric forward!

When you set up a loom, you start with all yarn on the back, and end with all fabric on the front. Imagine with me – you are weaving along and run out of space. The shuttle no longer fits through the tunnel of yarns. At that point, you release the brakes and roll the project towards you – with my loom, it is about 6″. Lock it back down creating the appropriate tension, and weave a little more! Rinse and repeat! You know the project is completely done when you can’t forward it any further!

A little necktie action to give it interest!
A little necktie action to give it interest!
Watching the magic happen...
Watching the magic happen…

I’m still playing with the idea of a combination fabric – part traditional materials, part recycled. So, this bolt is another attempt at finding the right balance between the two! You know what they say about practice… eventually you end up with some kick-ass fabric! (Maybe that phrase should go on a pillow somewhere in a counted cross stitch pattern!)

A little tail!
A little tail!
Aerial view!
Aerial view!

I am weaving right along! Next up, more weaving! (I know you are shocked…) Stay tuned to see what happiness comes next!

Run 14 Weaving 9

All wound up!

It’s time to do some winding, my friends!

The view from the front!
The view from the front!
Lots of yarn ready to move!
Lots of yarn ready to move!

I find that winding the loom is a deceptively difficult part of the process. On the surface, it seems really easy! Give each group of yarn a yank, unlock the loom, roll it onto the back and repeat for the new few hours. But, like many things in life, there are pitfalls to watch out for. Am I pulling some yarns harder than others? Are the yarns spreading out too far on the back so they don’t fit on the yard sticks? Am I getting the twisted yarns out of the way so I don’t break them going through the reed & heddles?.. But, if you are beginning weaver, ignore what I just said and simply yank, unlock and roll! Piece of cake!

Love me some yard sticks!
Love me some yard sticks!
Closer look at the back beam...
Closer look at the back beam…

Of course I have to take a moment to reiterate my love of yardsticks! I have a 36″ loom so they fit perfectly at the back, keeping the yarns winding on smoothly! And I don’t know of anyone else who uses them these days. So, I feel like I could be the official champion for the lowly yardstick! They are awesome! (This impromptu advertisement was not endorsed by any yardstick company. But, could be in the future… call me!)

View from the back!
View from the back!
It's the aerial shot!
It’s the aerial shot!

If you will note, I still have my lease sticks in the yarn. I have found that they come in very handy! They are a sort of early detection system for snarls in the yarn! It’s better to catch and fix the twisty bits before they hit the reed!

Time to tie it up!
Time to tie it up!

I like to start in the middle when tying up a project, grabbing about 1-1/2″ of yarn for each knot. The goal here is to create equal tension in all the yarns throughout the width of the project. I think it’s one of those things you wrestle with forever! I’ve been weaving for 9 years and still do a bit of agonizing over it each time I start tying things! But according to my girl, Madelyn Van Der Hoogt, I should just breathe through it and relax. She’s sort of the zen master of weaving – at least in my book!

Ta-da! Dressing the loom is finished!
Ta-da! Dressing the loom is finished!

And we are done! The loom is all dressed and ready for weaving! Let’s see if I can make some good thing happen next. Love the weaving magic! Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Winding 18

 

And now, moving on…

Hello! I am eyeball deep in heddles! (See now, that’s a phrase you just don’t hear every day…) Each yarn gets its own heddle, which sits on 1 of 4 shafts in the loom. And I’m currently somewhere about 3/4 of the way through the project!

Bird's eye view of the heddles.
Bird’s eye view of the heddles.
They look very tall from this angle, don't they?
They look very tall from this angle, don’t they?

The heddles (especially the metal ones) rattle around in the loom and some folks find it loud and distracting. For me, I don’t even notice! I think it’s like living near a train or on a busy road – you don’t even hear it after living there about a week!

Here, you can see all 4 shafts that hold the heddles!
Here, you can see all 4 shafts that hold the heddles!
Almost done!
Almost done!

So why thread heddles, you ask? Well, astute student, each shaft in the loom has the ability to lift up, separating some yarns from the others. When you thread a yarn into a heddle, you assign it to that particular shaft. For instance, I have a green yarn in the middle of the project that gets threaded through a heddle on shaft #2. When I am doing a weaving pattern, I know that this specific green yarn will lift up with all the others on shaft #2. This helps you establish your pattern! (Not the most graceful explanation, I know. But, rest assured, it is an important part of the process!)

Hundreds of yarns are involved!
Hundreds of yarns are involved!
Each yarn gets their very own!
Each yarn gets their very own!

So once the heddles are threaded, it’s time to unfurl the back of the loom and tie the yarns to the rod. Part of the reason I love my Schacht loom is that the back collapses and the back beam lifts off. Meaning, I can get as close as I want when threading the heddles. Then, it is easy to expand everything back out when it is time to start winding! Go, Schacht, go!!!

Expanding the back of the loom
Expanding the back of the loom
Tying the project on!
Tying the project on!

You know, each step of the process has little things to watch out for. Once, I had a project where my cord holding the rod to the beam snapped! I kept wondering why things seemed loosey-goosey! Thankfully, it’s an easy fix (not mid-project, but if you catch it at this stage it is!). You tie the ends together, even everything out, and carry on! Just like life, right?

Ready to start winding!
Ready to start winding!

Next, I’ll begin the winding process. And after that, there will be weaving – woohoo! I love the weaving… Have a lovely week and I’ll talk to you soon!

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