Monthly Archives: November 2011

Another Learning Experience

And here’s where experience trumps book learning.

Everything I had read said to use the reed with the dent closest to the sett you intend to use, so I warped up my 15 epi wool with a 15 epi reed.

The selvedges frayed.  Badly.  I was breaking threads five inches in. Sizing didn’t help.

Frayed Selvedge

Frayed selvedge

It’s funny.  I had no evidence of fraying on my sample piece.  Then again, I did that in a 10 dent reed.

So, to reduce friction I’m we threading at 15 epi in a 10 dent reed.  I also added a doubled warp thread on each side to the last end (effectively tripling the last thread).

Reed Changeover

Changing the reed

Better Selvedge

Much better!

I’m glad I added an extra yard to my warp just in case.  :)

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Warping the Loom

In case you are interested, here is the procedure I used to warp my loom.

The following may be helpful:

1) Winding the warp

The goal here is to produce many lengths of yarn that are all exactly the same length. Using a warping board, I wind the threads back and forth. Near the top, I create a cross – this keeps all the threads in order.


The warp on the board

I do this in batches, so the warp doesn’t slip off the pegs. When removing the warp from the frame, I first add ties to preserve the cross and then wind the length into a basic crochet chain to keep things from tangling.


The warp ready for the loom

2) Prereeding

Rather than using a raddle, the process uses the reed to ensure that the warp is spaced correctly before winding it on the beam.  I use lease sticks to preserve the cross.



3) Beaming the warp

The warp is attached to the back beam while still threaded through the reed and lease sticks. This is made easy by the fact that the ends here are all loops – I just thread the stick through the loops and attach it to the warp beam. The warp then goes over the back beam, through the lease sticks, through the reed, and over the breast beam, around the foot beam, and up over the warping trapeze. This step requires an additional person, or a warping trapeze, to provide tension on the warp while it is being wound. I have the parts for a trapeze, but it’s not built yet.

I then wind the warp onto the back warp beam (inserting beaming sticks as I go), leaving enough at the front to thread through the heddles.

Beamed Warp

Beamed warp

4) Threading the heddles

This is fairly self-explanatory. The pattern I intend to weave determines the number of shafts and the pattern the heddles on those shafts should be threaded. The shafts are held steady in temporary holders.


Threaded heddles

5) Sleying the reed and tying up

The reed is threaded (or sleyed) in order to achieve a particular number of threads per inch. The sett of this yarn is 15 ends per inch. It’s usually a good idea to try to have as few threads per dent as your reed collection will allow. I happen to have a 15 dent reed, so that’s one I’ll use. The lease sticks are removed and the warp is then attached to the front cloth beam with as even tension as possible.

Tied up

Tied up to the front beam

6) Countermarche tie-up

The countermarche controls the raising and lowering of the shafts. The countermarche unit it placed on top of the loom and the cords are attached to the shafts and lamms.


The vertical countermarche system

7) Treadle tie up

After this, the lamms are attached to the treadles. The short lamms control ‘down’ and the long lamms control ‘up’. For each treadle, one lamm per shaft is attached to the treadle (either a ‘down’ or an ‘up’). That means that when a treadle is pressed, all of the shafts move.


Lamms and treadles

8) Final adjustments

All that remains is to ensure that the shed is nice and even. If I was careful in the previous steps this shouldn’t need too much adjustment.


A good clean shed. If this is out of alignment the shuttle will catch.

I do a sample of the pattern in a contrasting colour to make sure everything is threaded correctly. I am now ready to weave.


Ready to go!

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Norse Garb – Running Tally

Time spent working on project:

– Warping the wool: 17 hours
– Winding wool bobbins: 10 hours
– Weaving wool: 39.5 hours
– Finishing the wool: 1.5 hours
– Sewing the aprondress: 24 hours

– Warping the linen: 18 hours
– Winding linen bobbins: 4 hours (I got a new bobbin winder – it’s much faster)
– Weaving linen: 22 hours
– Finishing the linen: 6.5 hours
– Sewing the underdress: 31 hours

– Sewing the cap:4  hours

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It’s Official

As you might have guessed, I’ve been planning on challenging into the White Wolf Fian.

It’s now official.  I have applied and my challenge has been accepted. I have until Feast of the Hare next year to complete it.

The summary of my challenge is as follows: A Norse underdress, aprondress and coif hand sewn from handwoven fabrics.

Expect many blog posts as I go.

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Rainbow Towels Finished

Rainbow Stars Towels

Finished towels

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