Posts Tagged With: loom thoughts

Warping the Drawloom

I few people have asked to see the steps needed when warping the drawloom compared to doing it without the drawloom attachment.

1) Adding the loom extension

The second set of harnesses requires more space, so the back beam needs to be extended.

loom extension

The new back posts are extendable much further, but this is all I need for now.

2) 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. 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.

Winding the warp

Warp on the warping board

3) Presleying the reed

Rather than using a raddle, the process uses the reed to ensure that the warp is spaced correctly before winding it on the beam.

Prereeding

I forgot to take a picture of this, so I’m using an old one.

4) 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.

Beamed warp

Here the warp is fully beamed (wound around the back beam)

5) Mount the drawloom apparatus and thread the cords

The shaft drawloom apparatus sits on top of the loom.  The cords are threaded, but the shafts are not yet attached.

Drawloom apparatus

Shaft drawloom

6) Pre-weighting the pattern heddles

The pattern heddles are weighted by unit. I am separate them into units and adding a lingo (‘U’-shaped weight) to each grouping – here, five-heddles per weight, grouped in bunches of ten for counting.  I’m using the front beam just because it’s a convenient place to hang them.

Pre-weighting the pattern heddles

Weighted pattern heddles

7) Threading the pattern heddles

Which warp threads go in the pattern heddles varies by weave.

Threading the pattern heddles

Pattern heddles half threaded.

8) Threading the ground weave heddles

Next we thread the warp through the ground weave.  Again, which warp threads go in the pattern heddles varies by weave.

Threading the ground weave heddles

Ground heddles half threaded.

9) 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 28 ends per inch. The lease sticks are removed and the warp is then attached to the front cloth beam with as even tension as possible.

Sleying the reed and tying up

Warp is all threaded and tied up.

10) Countermarche tie-up

The countermarche controls the raising and lowering of the ground shafts. The treadles are threaded as needed for the ground weave.

Lamms-Treadles

Treadles.

11) Attaching the pattern shafts

The pattern shafts are moved into place and connected to the drawloom apparatus.

Attaching the drawloom shafts

Drawloom shafts.

12) Ready to weave

Ready to weave

Here we go!

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How Much Yarn?

Several people have asked how to calculate how much yarn is needed for a weaving project.  I’ve decided it makes more sense to write up a post here I can refer people to as needed.  

  1. Plan your project
    The first step, as with most projects, is deciding what you want to make.  You will need to know the length and width of the fabric you want to weave.
    Let’s say you want to weave an aprondress – mine needed 6 yards of fabric at 20″ wide.
  2. Determine your sett
    Sett – the number of warp threads per inch
    The thickness of the warp thread and the weave structure you intend to use controls how closely together each warp thread is spaced.  There are several ways of calculating this, but Handwoven Magazine has a wonderful chart for a large selection of threads.  I tend to just refer to this.  Again, if you are very particular about the hand of the fabric, I recommend sampling at a few different setts.
  3. Determine take up and shrinkage
    Take-up – the amount of draw in as the threads move over and under each other.
    Shrinkage – the amount the fabric shrinks during finishing (such as running it through the washer/dryer).
    Decide how important this measurement is.  For a tea towel, you may not care if the finished project is a little larger or smaller.  For fabric for a garment, you might be more concerned.  Why does this matter?  If you aren’t overly concerned, you can use the standard take up and shrinkage estimate of 15%.  If the finished size is important – the only thing to do is sample your cloth.  For sampling, it is suggested to use a minimum of a 10″ by 10″ square.  Measure this while on the loom, once off the loom, and again after finishing the fabric.
    Here is a sample chart:

    Width Length
    On the loom 10″ 12″
    Off the loom 8.7″ 10.9″
    Take-up 15% 10%
    After finishing 7.5″ 9.6″
    Shrinkage 15% 13%

    This gives us 33.33% take up and shrinkage in width, and 25% shrinkage in length.

  4. Determine the number of warp threads
    If I want finished fabric of a certain width, I need to weave a wider fabric so it will shrink to the desired finished size.  We take our desired width and add the additional width needed to account for shrinkage.  This gives us the ‘width in loom’ of our fabric.  We then multiply this measurement (in inches) by the sett (threads per inch) to get the total number of warp threads required.
    If I want a fabric 20 inches wide with a 33.33% take-up/shrinkage I need to set up the loom to weave fabric 26.66 inches wide.  The heavy wool I used had a sett of 15 epi (ends per inch).  Therefore, I require 400 warp threads.
  5. Determine the length of each warp end
    Now that we know how many warp threads are needed, we need to determine how long each one needs to be.  We take our desired length, and add additional length to account for take up and shrinkage.  We then add any desired fringe length.  And then, to account for the length of warp that is left on the loom, we add the loom waste (the standard is 27-36″, but it varies by loom).
    So if I want 6 yards of fabric I add 25% take-up/shrinkage, which gives me 7.5 yards.  I don’t want any fringe, so I add another yard for loom waste (it’s a big loom) – giving me 8.5 yards total.
  6. Calculate the total warp required
    After the last two steps, this calculation is easy – we simply multiply the number of threads by the length of each thread.
    If I need 400 threads 8.5 yards long, then I need 3400 yards in total.
  7. Calculate the total weft required
    You will need to know your ppi (picks per inch), which you can get by sampling.  For a balanced weave with the same thread, your ppi should match your epi.  We then need to calculate how much weft thread we need.  We multiply the width of the fabric on the loom by the number of picks we need to weave an inch of fabric – then we multiply that by the total number of inches of fabric on the loom we need.
    If my width on the loom is 26 inches, and I have a ppi of 15 (to match my epi), then it takes 390 inches of weft.  For 7.5 yards (270 inches), we will need 105300 inches – which is 2925 yards of weft.

And that’s it.  We now have all the calculations we need to complete our project.

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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.

Warp

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.

Warp

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.

Prereeding

Prereeding

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.

Heddles

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.

Vertical-Countermarche

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-Treadles

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.

Shed

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.

Warped

Ready to go!

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Towels In Progress

Warping the loom and adjusting everything wasn’t nearly has much of a chore as had been described.  I would the instructions in Joanne Hall’s Tying up the Countermarch Loom to be incredibly helpful.  I really don’t like fiddling with the Texsolv anchor pins when trying to get them into the bottom of the treadles.  It’s a pain in the behind and hurts my hands.  I think at some point I’ll be converting to the Vävstuga Tie-Up System, of which I have heard good things.  Also I bump by head on the bottom of the vertical countermarch a lot while climbing inside the loom.  ~ow~  Still, it is a dream to weave on.

Anyways, the towels are now well underway and I’m liking the way they are turning out.

Rainbow Stars Towels

Towels in progress

Rainbow Stars Towels

Can you see the stars?

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New Loom – It’s Here!

When my loom arrived, there was some unfortunate forklift damage to one of the side frames.  My loom guy, as always, was amazing, and made the whole process of getting a replacement part very simple.  And now the loom in her entirety is here!

New Loom

Glimåkra Standard Vertical Countermarche, 12 shaft/treadle, 59" width.

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New Loom – Ordered!

It’s a Glimåkra Standard Vertical Countermarche, 12 shaft/treadle, 59″ width.

Image

Photo from GAV Glimakra: http://www.gavglimakra.se

It should be arriving some time in October.

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Learning To Weave

The first time I can recall seeing someone actually weaving was at an embroidery class held at the home of a woman in town. During the break she brought out a small table loom and did a little work while we chatted. I was fascinated, but never did more than watch.

A few years later, someone posted to one of the mailing lists I belong to with a similar loom for sale at an amazing price. I jumped. It turned out to be one of those ‘cottage crafts’-type four-shaft table looms that were so very common in the 70’s, and was in rather rough shape. Still, I bought a ‘learn to weave’ book to explain how everything worked, ordered a new reed and a bunch of heddles (the original metal bits were very rusty), and signed up for a beginner’s weaving course.

The course was great. We learned about warping our looms and getting ready to weave, as well as troubleshooting tricks when we got stuck. After that, we focused on different types of weaves and the differences between them. I learned a lot.

Unfortunately, one of the things I learned was that I was miserable with my little loom. The wood was rough and old and I was getting splinters regularly. It wasn’t nearly wide enough and the cords holding up the shafts kept popping loose making it a pain to weave on. I needed a new loom.

I knew I wanted something wider than what I had. It also had to be portable, as we were moving cross-country in a year or so. I checked the used lists for a while, but only found large floor looms (not portable), or little Leclerc table looms (not wide enough, and I didn’t like them). Giving in, I decided to decimate my savings and buy a brand new Ashford table loom and stand for my birthday. That was in January of 2009.

Since then I’ve done a little weaving (when I had the time) and read many books. Now that my life is settling down again (in the past year I’ve seen three jobs, two moves, and over 4600 km) I’m starting to think what the next chapter in my weaving journey will be.

Loom

Ashford Table Loom

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