I Can Weave!

Good morning!

I am so pleased to say that the weaving loom restoration project is coming along beautifully 🙂 I’ve managed to clean her all up – the reed and the heddles were very rusty (all 643 of them!) and the harnesses were lightly rust stained as well. The harnesses aren’t perfect – they could seriously use a nice coat of paint this summer – but the loom itself is now in working order…

Here are some pictures as the work progressed…

After cleaning, the next step was to wind a warp. Now – I don’t have a warping board, or a warping reel. A bit of a problem except I was intrigued by the idea of using just a couple clamped dowels and I’m a little too impatient to wait for the correct tools or wood to build them! I decided to use a workmate bench, with three dowels clamped to it tightly, as the ‘cross’ end of the warp and a large clamp as the other end of the warp…

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Not only convenient for holding the bobbins and winding the warp from but also handy to hold the clamp 🙂 And moveable!

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The next step was to braid the warp from the beginning to the ‘cross’. Voila… (sorry, impossible to take pictures while I’m doing this)…

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I’m using mystery cones – one of a beige shiny type yarn, one white – both textured. I like the way they look together.

The first step, in dressing the loom (according to the book “Home Weaving” which is my weaving bible) is ‘spreading’. Spreading is where the warp is fed through the reed, from the front beam toward the back, in order to spread out the threads to the width they will be in the weaving. In my case I decided to use 30 threads per inch on a 15 dent (space) reed (per inch). This meant that two threads will end up in each dent in the final arrangement and to spread the threads I spread each little ‘portee’ in each fourth dent. So that was 8 threads (per wind or ‘portee’) in a dent, three dents empty – repeat until done. I left the portees tied individually and I am probably paranoid but as I wound the warp I tied the portees individually as I went, rather than trying to tie them at the end.

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Since I was working alone I used a pvc pipe to hold the portees behind the harnesses during the spreading step….

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After spreading, the warp is wound onto the back beam. Lease sticks should be at the back when this is done but I forgot and left them in the front, lol. Happy to report, the warp wound on just fine anyways. When I was done this step, I tied the ends to the front beam in groups to keep them straight while I was doing the next steps – threading heddles and the reed. Oh yes – I placed paper between the layers as I wound the warp in order to prevent tangling and moved the lease sticks to the back of the loom. My lease sticks are really pvc piping but they are working great 🙂

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I very carefully worked, one section at a time, to thread the ends through the correct heddles and then the reed. I tied these threads off in groups of four (two dents worth) to keep them from falling back through the reed (again, working alone) and when they were all through the reed I tied one group with another (now 8 threads, four dents worth) around the metal bar that is tied to the other metal bar at the front winding beam. LOL – I cannot remember the name of those bars!!

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I had to retie the harness to the lams and make sure that everything was working smoothly and then…I got to try weaving!!!!!

As the weave begins, it looks messy – I cut the first thread after a few passes to restart the piece I’m working on. It will be (with any luck) a table runner for our dining room – possibly with matching placemats if the warp holds out that long!

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