Tag: lease sticks

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

 

Reed-y?

You know, thinking up a title for a weekly blog – not so easy! And sometimes, just sometimes, all I can come up with is something sounding ridiculously corny. But, I’m guessing if you’ve read this far, you are OK with a little corn and we can all simply carry on, ignoring the crazy title! And here goes! (p.s. I am up for suggestions, if a brilliant title for a weaving blog comes to you in the middle of the night… just saying!)

And here are the players for today's sleying!
And here are the players for today’s sleying!

Today is sley-the-reed day!!!! Best day ever! I love this part of the process. I’m not sure exactly what makes it so appealing. All I can figure is that sitting at a table organizing hundreds of yarns just does it for me! I like to tell folks that to be a weaver, you have to be a little bit crazy… and I would guess my prior statement puts me firmly in that category! And I’m OK with that!

Lease sticks slide in.
Lease sticks slide in.

To sley a reed, you need a reed (rectangular frame with evenly spaced slots that will fit into your loom), lease sticks (a pair of sticks with holes in both ends meant to be a place holder for the cross that delineates the order of the yarns), and a pair of scissors. That is the bare minimum. But, for me, I always include a cup of tea, my project journal to track my time, and either a TV show or a little music to entertain me!

The view from where I'm sitting (aka, the view from my belly button!).
The view from where I’m sitting (aka, the view from my belly button!).

First up, the lease sticks slip through the cross I made on the warping board. I tied everything in strategic spots so I could locate the cross once I was sitting at the table. (Those ties get cut once I start sleying.) So now, the lease sticks are keeping the yarns in order! The reed sits directly in front of me with an edge hanging off the table to make the threading easier. The trick is to avoid knocking the reed over onto the floor. You can always tape it down if it makes you more comfortable!

Each yarn is placed in a dent of the reed.
Each yarn is placed in a dent of the reed.
Lots of little ends in this project!
Lots of little ends in this project!

Because I had a lot of color changes at the warping board, I have a lot of little ends that typically pull right off before the yarn goes into the reed. (I thought this particular pile was very pretty! And sometimes, that’s all you need for a bit of happiness – a pretty pile!)

Just, yum...
Just, yum…
I made it to the other end!
I made it to the other end!

I like to knot the yarns every inch or so just to double check my math. Like most folks, I don’t enjoy the process of undoing and fixing a project. So, I try to put as many checks and balances in place as possible along the way!

Ready to go to the loom!
Ready to go to the loom!

Next up, I’ll reunite the reed and the loom, bringing it all together! It’s going to be good! Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Sleying 8

Wind me up!

We’ve traveled so far! There was measuring the project at the warping board, sleying the reed at the table, threading the heddles at the loom, and now, we’ll wind the whole project on! But first, I have to do a little tying!

Time to tie!
Time to tie!

The loom has very similar parts at the front and the back – including a rod that is lashed on to each beam. Once each yarn has been assigned to a heddle, I’ll tie the yarn to the rod at the back in bunches of about an inch or two.

Time to begin winding - easy does it!
Time to begin winding – easy does it!

Once the back is tied in place, I’ll move around to the front to get it set up. I opened up the twisted portions of the project and loosely grouped the yarn into sections. This will give me something to tug on. I’ve left the lease sticks in place to help me identify any particularly twisted spots. The goal is to catch them before they butt up against the reed. Ah, those handy lease sticks!

Here's what's happenin' at the front!
Here’s what’s happenin’ at the front!

During the winding process, the goal is to give each section of yarn a tug, straightening each little soldier out so there are no problems! I like to go left to right the first time, and then the opposite direction next. I have found that if you yank on the chunks of yarn the same way each time, you can create discrepancies in the rate that the yarn is wound on. Sounds technical, but it means that at the end of the winding process, one side is noticeably longer than the other! And you want to avoid that as much as possible!

Lots of bundles to yank!
Lots of bundles to yank!

So little by little, I do my tug-and-wind dance! At the back of the loom, I’m slowly feeding in yard sticks to keep the yarns even. (Are you sensing a theme here? Keep the yarns as even as possible. Rinse and repeat…)

Slithering from the front to the back!
Slithering from the front to the back!
We're winding, we're winding...
We’re winding, we’re winding…

Once the project is completely wound on, it’s time to tie the front! You know, now that I think about it, weaving is really a lot of winding and tying.. and threading – oh my! (And who is now envisioning a brunette in blue gingham, a tin man and a scarecrow skipping down a brick road? Just me? I’m not surprised…)

And now, we tie on the front!
And now, we tie on the front!
It's a pretty knot!
It’s a pretty knot!

I have no idea what this type of knot is called. If we have any knot aficionados in the crowd, feel free to chime in! I usually just refer to it as the “fancy” knot! A little tricky to learn, but very helpful when undoing everything at the end! Thank you, fancy knot!

Ready to weave! Yay!
Ready to weave! Yay!

The loom is set! We are all dressed and ready to go! You know what this means – next up, there will be weaving! Woohoo! And the crowd goes wild! Again, could just be me… Talk to you soon!

Run 15 Winding 12

The missing piece…

Hello! The reed has been sleyed (threaded) and is now ready to slide into the loom, bringing all the parts together!

Reed, meet the loom. Loom, reed.
Reed, meet the loom. Loom, reed.

The reed’s job is to keep the project a consistent width. The reed is now tucked into the beater bar, that will move forward and back to keep the density of the fabric consistent while we’re weaving. The beater bar sits in front of the shafts which will move up and down creating a pattern in the fabric. Lastly, in the shafts live a bunch of heddles that hold each yarn, which will move according to the pattern. And that covers the inner workings of a loom! Go forth and impress your friends with your weaving knowledge!

Fits like a glove!
Fits like a glove!

When I’m threading heddles, I like to start in the middle and work my way out. Because I have a 4-shaft loom, I have 4 different options for each yarn. I’ll be doing a stardard 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 pattern for this project – keeping it nice and simple! So, the first yarn is threaded through a heddle on shaft 1. The next yarn goes through a heddle on shaft 2. Then, 3, and 4 and back to 1! Repeat over and over again until all the yarns are safely tucked into the loom!

View from the back!
View from the back!

(By the way, shaft 1 is closest to the beater bar and shaft 4 is closest to the back. Just for a little clarification, because I know you were dying to ask… I see your hand up over there!)

Bird's eye view of the (4) shafts.
Bird’s eye view of the (4) shafts.

Here is a concept that might make your brain ooze out of your ears. Because I’m starting in the middle and moving to the right, the yarns will go in the order I mentioned before. But after that 1/2 is finished, I need to come back to the middle and move to the left – meaning I need to thread them backwards (4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1)… Yeah, it’s a little disorienting the first few times you do it! But ultimately, I want the pattern to look the same from one end to the other. Thankfully, it feels less weird the more times you do it!

Each yarn has (4) different options!
Each yarn has (4) different options!
It's a close-up. Just because...
It’s a close-up. Just because…

I like to knot the yarns together about every inch. It helps me double and triple check that I haven’t flubbed up somewhere before this! The “flubbing up” does occasionally happen… I know, it’s hard to believe…

And so it goes!
And so it goes!

The heddles are threaded – woohoo! All that’s left is to wind the project onto the loom, and then there will be weaving! Lots and lots of weaving!!! Hang tight for all the fun to come! Talk to you soon…

Run 15 Heddles 13

Making a "dent" in the project…

Hello, friends! I’ve just started a project including a variety of purples sandwiched in between sections of pale blue. I was feeling the cool colors, if you couldn’t guess! The project has been measured on the warping board and is moving to the table to sley the reed!

A warp, a reed and a pair of lease sticks walk into a bar...
A warp, a reed and a pair of lease sticks walk into a bar…

So, here are the players – the project (I have mine in 2 chunks because of its size), the lease sticks (this pair of sticks will help keep the cross, therefore maintaining the consecutive order of the yarns), and the reed (a long, skinny, metal frame with evenly spaced slots to keep the project width the same). Some weavers like to use a sley hook for threading, too. But, I’m using a reed with fairly wide slots, so it’s not too tough to get the little buggers in there!

In go the lease sticks!
In go the lease sticks!
A close up of the lease sticks book-ending the cross.
A close up of the lease sticks book-ending the cross.

When I was winding everything on the warping board, I carefully kept each yarn in order by using the “cross”. So, I don’t want to lose it now that the project has been moved! Here is where there lease sticks are critical. I’ve tied a contrasting yarn around the 2 sides of the cross so I can tell where the sticks slide in. From here on, the lease sticks will stay in the project until I’m nearly finished dressing the loom! (“Dressing the loom” refers to the process of setting it up. You know us weavers – we can’t just say “setting it up”! It has to sound old and formal and like we’re drinking Earl Grey with our pinkies in the air… or something like that!)

We're ready! Let's sley!
We’re ready! Let’s sley!
Threading the project into the reed!
Threading the project into the reed!

I am using an 8-dent reed for this project, which means I have 8 slots per inch. I’ve planned for each yarn to get their own dent, with the occasional doubling up! Once upon a time, I unintentionally put multiple yarns in a dent. Now, I do it on purpose! Funny how that happens!

Each yarn finds a home in a dent...
Each yarn finds a home in a dent…
It's all in!
It’s all in!

In the weaving world, there are 2 opposing camps when it comes to dressing the loom – front-to-back (go through the reed, then the heddles, then wind on), and back-to-front (just the opposite). I’m a front-to-back weaver, which allows me to tackle this stage sitting at a comfortable table versus leaning over a loom. I’ve always appreciated that perk! I’m sure there are various benefits to going the opposite direction. I’m just not as familiar with them. Of course, I am completely biased. So, there you have it…

Next up, the reed & the loom will converge!
Next up, the reed & the loom will converge!

The reed has been sleyed! (It always sound more exciting and violent than it actually is!) Next up, I’ll slide it into the loom and pair up the yarns with the heddles. Ah, sweet progress… Talk to you soon…

Run 15 Sleying 9