Goldenrod

The loom has rods in it and the project includes lots of gold colors… That’s the best I’ve got! I’m up for other “gold” related titles! Send me your brilliant ideas! And we’re winding, and winding, and winding,…

Trusty yard sticks!
Trusty yard sticks!

When winding the yarn around the warp beam at the back, the goal is to provide an even surface for the yarn to wrap around. I like to use yard sticks since I have a 36″ wide loom – the math makes me happy! If you don’t use something (sticks, heavy paper, etc.), the yarn will pile up on itself, creating mountains and valleys. This scenario, in turn, will alter the rate at which the yarn unwinds while weaving, causing tension problems. Yadda, yadda, yadda… bottom line is, yard sticks – good! Nothing between the layers of yarn – bad!

Smoothly winding on the back!
Smoothly winding on the back!

While I’m focused on winding the yarn onto the back, there is plenty of excitement going on at the front! I’m slowly straightening the yarns (sectioning off chunks of yarn that each get a gentle yank before they make their way through the loom) and keeping an eye on them as they travel to the back. You can see the end coming when the tips lift off the carpeting!

The view from the front
The view from the front

Once the lengths becomes very short, it’s time to knot the project onto the rod at the front! I cut out the lease sticks because it’s time to give them a rest. And then, I generally grab about an inch-ish of yarn at a time to create my knots! I’ve found it’s easiest to start in the middle. (How many times during the process have I said, “start in the middle”? Clearly, I’m a creature of habit!)

View from the front, with everything tied on!
View from the front, with everything tied on!
And closer...
And closer…

My weaving instructor taught a complicated knot for this step, which I still use! It’s very easy to undo when you are ready. But, because of the type of cotton I use, I sneak in a simple knot first, and then do the fancy one. I get nervous that the fancy one won’t hold the yarns in place. And nervous weavers are definitely something to avoid! (Ask anyone in my family…)

Closest!
Closest!
See all the lovely knots?
See all the lovely knots?

It’s time to weave!!! Woohoo!!! You’ll need a little filler to spread out the yarns before you dive right in. So, my poison of choice is toilet paper! Matter of fact, I’ve found that the cheap stuff works great! Because it is perforated, it is much easier to remove than a fat yarn or strips of fabric. And, it’s not a huge investment! A friend from the local weaver’s guild gave me a 12 or 16 roll pack once upon a time and at the rate I’m going, I’ll never use it all! So, if you live near Northwest Indiana, give me a buzz and I’ll share with you!

A little TP before we weave!
A little TP before we weave!
About 5-6 rows will do it!
About 5-6 rows will do it!

Ooooh! I love this part coming up! I’m loading up the shuttle and getting ready to let it fly! Isn’t weaving great??? Stay tuned for more fiber goodness…

Run 13 Weaving 1

Gold futures

Laura – I love it! She had all sorts of “gold” titles for me! Thank you much! I’ll be taking ideas for next week! So, send them my way! Let’s finish threading the heddles, shall we?

So many lovely heddles!
So many lovely heddles!

I’m taking each yarn and threading it through the eye of a heddle on one of the shafts. My loom only has (4) shafts, so not too many choices! The pattern is really straightforward, making my job a little bit easier!

One of my favorite heddles pictures - ever!
One of my favorite heddle pictures – ever!

I like to include a few images from various angles to present a different perspective. Especially in this case! Because, you can see the yarn travel from the front, through the beater bar which holds the reed, and lastly through the (4) shafts that hold the heddles – all the really critical elements in the loom! If the yarns aren’t in the proper spot, the weaving process can quickly become less than fun. And no one wants that!

Bird's eye view
Bird’s eye view
The path through the belly of the loom.
The path through the belly of the loom.

Now that all the yarns have been matched up with a heddle, it’s time to tie everyone to the back of the loom and wind them on! First up, extending the back of the loom! I had everything condensed so I could sit very close to the heddles. Now, I have to let the loom stretch back out to it’s full size!

Time to extend the back!
Time to extend the back!
Voila!
Voila!

Next, I’ll tie the yarns to a rod that has been lashed to the back. You want to unroll the rod and take it over the “rear oval beam”, which is the beam at the top, versus the beam that the project winds onto. So, confession time… I tend to call both the “warp beam” and “rear oval beam” the same thing – the back beam! In rare instances when I need to differentiate, I just rephrase the sentence to work around it! Ha! Now you know my dark little secret! Don’t judge. And definitely don’t tell anyone who thinks I know what I’m talking about! It can just stay between you and me, right?

Tying the yarns to the back
Tying the yarns to the rod
Let's wind it on!
Let’s wind it on!

When you wind the yarns, you need to release the brake first so all the loom parts will move. I always look like I’m playing a strange game of twister when I do it! Because you release the brake with your left foot, turn the crank with your right hand and I usually use my left hand to keep the lease sticks level with the eye of the heddles so everything moves as smoothly as possible. Let’s just say I recommend doing a few tree poses beforehand to help with your balance!

Release the brake!!!
Release the brake!!!

(In the picture below, you can see both the rear oval beam and the warp beam. The warp beam is easy to pick out because the white cords are already winding around it. The rest of the yarns will soon wind around it, too! Whereas, the rear oval beam is just a place holder that the yarn travels over. It’s at the top right of the image. See how I’m practicing my new vocabulary already?!!)

Heading towards the back beam.
Heading towards the back beam.

And let the winding continue! Between you and me, this is not my favorite part of the process. Mostly, because it means I am SO close to weaving! So close! But, it’s essential and with any luck, I will be happily throwing the shuttle in no time! Stick around to see the fun! Talk to you soon…

Run 13 Winding On 4

Wind it up!

Heddles are threaded – check! Let’s wind ‘er up!

Here’s the view from the back of the loom. It’s completely collapsed because I was sitting really close so I could comfortably reach the heddles.

Starting position...
Starting position…

Next up, I’ll shift the entire back portion of the loom out away from the body and tighten up the supporting pieces.

The back extends open
The back extends open

And then, the back beam slides right on! Ready to wind!

The back goes on!
The back beam goes on!

My loom is equipped with a rod that is lashed to the warp beam. (I think in the past, I have confused the names of the various beams. So, for those loom experts, forgive me!) Because of the way this is configured, it allows me to weave as many inches as possible, forgoing lots of waste!

Rod wraps around the beam
Rod wraps around the beam

The yarn is tied to the rod. (I’m using the same knots/groupings as I have through the whole measuring process.)

Tying the yarns on!
Tying the yarns on!

And then, I’m ready to start with the moving parts!

All tied on!
All tied on!
Here's what's happening in front!
Here’s what’s happening in front!

Part of my goal when dressing the loom is to situate the yarns so that they have the clearest, straightest path possible from front to back!

Overhead view
Overhead view

In the winding on process, I have levers and cranks and ratchets – oh my! It’s a twisty dance that goes on. Release this pedal with your left foot while lifting a lever with your left hand, all while hanging on to the back with your right! Twister has nothing on this! I recommend a little yoga tree pose beforehand to help with the balancing!

Here we go!
Here we go!

Little by little, the yarn moves from the front, through the heddles, and around the back beam.

A little closer view of the back!
A little closer view of the back!

As you can see from the pictures, I have cords to contend with. I don’t really want them to interfere with the yarn. So, yard sticks to the rescue! I tend to go a bit crazy with the yard sticks. But, I would rather have many, many sticks in the project versus not using enough and having tension trouble later. Tension trouble – bad! Very, very bad!

And still closer...
And still closer…

It’s just getting good! I’ll have more winding loveliness next time! And then, bring on the weaving! I can’t wait! Talk to you soon!

Run 9 Winding On 16