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

 

Once there was a little heddle…

Hello! It’s time to pair the reed with the loom – followed by threading many, many heddles! Here we go!

The reed slides into the beater bar!
The reed slides into the beater bar!

First up, the reed slides into the loom. The moving part at the front of the loom is called the beater bar. This is the heavy piece that the weaver pulls forward to make sure the yarns are evenly packed. The beater bar is where the reed goes – the knots facing the heddles.

Insert reed "A" into beater bar "B"!
Insert reed “A” into beater bar “B”!

I like to tie up the lease sticks that would otherwise be flopping around at the front of the loom. I learned this little trick from a fabulous DVD by Madelyn van der Hoogt called, “Warping Your Loom”! I highly recommend it! My friend, Madelyn, is brilliant! (We’re not actually BFF’s in real life. But, I feel like somehow we’ve connected through the tv… don’t judge…)

Tie up the lease sticks
Tie up the lease sticks

Time to thread some heddles! Heddles are tall, skinny pieces that live on each shaft in the loom and contain a eye in the middle where a yarn can go! Mine happen to be flat, metal heddles. But, they come in a whole variety of styles! So, to each his own!

From the reed, through the heddles!
From the reed, through the heddles!

(By the way, I promise you that the yarn is actually a colonial blue color, not the purplish color in the photo. Hopefully, some of the other images will be more accurate! Ah, technology…)

(4) shafts mean (4) options!
(4) shafts mean (4) options!

Heddles are very important. Why, you ask? What a good question! Heddles allow the weaver to select which shaft the yarn will be associated with, and therefore help determine the weaving pattern! And if you’ve never met a weaver, I’ll tell you that in most cases, pattern is King! So, heddles – good!!!

The right half is finished!
The right half is finished!
Making progress!
Making progress!

I like to do a slip knot either every inch, or every repeat – which isn’t always the same. As long as it makes sense in my head, it’s good. I’m sure in many cases, it is only logical to me. But, since I’m not being graded, who cares!

Bird's eye view!
Bird’s eye view!

I like to keep a certain amount of heddles on the loom all the time. This means that with some projects, I have a lot left over. (An example, I need 100 heddles for the project and I keep 150 on each shaft.) For this project, I need to use every inch of width in the loom. So, if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with a parade of heddles all squashed at the edges effecting the direct path of my yarns. To solve that problem, I like to skip a heddle, then thread the next one. It won’t hurt anything to have empty heddles rattling around on the shafts and hopefully, that will distribute enough of them to keep the yarns traveling straight through the loom! Fingers crossed!

So many heddles, so little time...
So many heddles, so little time…

The heddles are threaded – woohoo! Next on the docket, I’ll tie all the lovelies to the back and begin winding on! So much excitement! Talk to you soon…

Run 12 Heddles 13