Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weave wise...

It's all happening now. I got my loom's shafts tied up this morning with a little help from the kind folks at Warped Weaver's over on Ravelry. I wasn't sure my tie ups should be made exactly as charted in A Handweaver's Pattern Book or whether they should be inverted. That's because Marguerite Davison's description of the process seems to indicate she was writing about sinking shed looms, whereas my loom produces a rising shed. (I think that's why it's called a "jack" loom.) When I press on a treadle on my loom some threads are lifted up, i.e. a rising shed. On some other types of looms, pressing on a treadle causes some theads to get pulled down, i.e. a sinking shed.

The answer was that I should invert the charts in the book.

So the loom was warped, tensioned and tied up, and I was afraid to start for fear of ruining what looked like a really lovely warp! Ha! I got over my fear quick enough, reminding myself that whatever happened, this piece wasn't going to come out perfect so I might as well jump in. So I did, and learned a few good lessons.

One of the first technical problems to solve was throwing the shuttle. It didn't occur to me that it would require a little bit of practice. My first shot made it half way across the loom. Oh... I guess it requires a little more oomph. Second shot, from the right, was great. Ah, it's the left that needs practice. I've got it down now, but not before tossing the shuttle all the way to the wall a couple times! Whoops... must remember to be poised to catch it at the other end of the warp.

I also learned quickly enough that if I catch the shuttle yarn with my thumb before tossing it across, the yarn doesn't get jerked up against the selvedge. Nice little trick.

I managed to create an impossible tangle after 1" of weaving... I had to laugh about it because it was too ridiculous. Like something from a slapstick movie. Somehow--I'll explain in a moment--the shuttle picked up one of the lower threads in the shed and created a mistake. Well no problem! Just send the shuttle back to where it caught the errant thread, steer it back under and up, check all, and re-shoot. I wasn't aware of the thread exiting the shuttle--it was a bit long and loose, and was lying on the other side of the shuttle, foward of the trouble spot. When I passed the shuttle under the miscreant thread, lower threads on the other side of the shuttle were getting picked up somehow! It took me three manual passes under the lower threads to realize what was happening and by that time I had a mess. Since I was still in the 1" of plain weave header, I snipped the weft and started that line afresh.

How did the thread get picked up? It took a bit more weaving to discover how that happened. When my fell line get's close to the reed the lower threads of the shed are lifted by the front edge of the reed's bottom rail where the shuttle skoots back and forth, making it easy to catch them. It happened more than once, but now that I know what causes it, I ease up a little on the treadle when the fell is close to the reed. Also, I advance the cloth so that it doesn't get too close to the reed.

It's been a fun day, a real blast...

In this picture it looks like the horizontal bars of color are of unequal height but that's an illusion by the closer bar straddling the edge of the cloth beam.

* * *

Yesterday, Riven921 from Ravelry came over and we made soap. It was lovely, and the soap, from what I can discern is coming out very nice (it's not unmolded yet). We then spent almost an hour out back knitting. Thanks Riven921 for the great company and the tasty shortbread! Yum!


  1. That's a great weaving tale / tail, Bernard!! I love the way you describe how you tackle and conquer your new weaving difficulties. You'll have that shuttle just a flyin' as you keep on keeping on. What I see you've finished weaving is just beautiful! All the best upon your return to work..... :)

  2. How remiss of me to be so tardy... Thank you, jak! :)