Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Henning Band Loom repaired

The history: link back to earlier post about the Henning loom here.

We got the loom repaired but it hasn't been used due to all my time and energy going into setting up and running a business for the past 4 years (YarnMaker).

However, this month Sue Foulkes is running a band weaving workshop for the Yahoo list "Braids and Bands" on behalf of the Braid Society and she got in touch to ask about the Henning loom.

Link here to the Braids and Bands list homepage.

I did hope to make a pdf for the workshop about the loom, but I did not anticipate that shortly after discussing this with Sue one of our cats would be taken poorly with a tail wound and that after nursing her for a week she would have to have most of her tail amputated and then I would be nursing a cat recovering from a serious operation! She's doing very well now, and due to have stitches out on Tuesday, at which point she will also be liberated from the large plastic bucket collar and life should get back to normal.

(Pheobe, and yes that is a handspun, handwoven cat blanket!)

So, to the loom, as it looks today.

It had certainly been used for some part of its life and banging of the beater had shaken it apart at the joints. It had to be taken apart and all the joints re-glued. Then we added buffers (A) for the beater with rubbers (B) to reduce the impact.

The beater was not strong enough, it wiggle from side to side in use, so we re-enforced it with a solid block of wood.

The beater's sides were wider than the base they were supposed to be fitted to, so we spaced them out from the sides of the loom with washers.

And the new cherry wood seat is a considerable improvement on the hard narrow bench!

Down on the floor you can see shafts and heddles, I'm starting to assemble the loom for weaving. More easily done on a table of course.

More on this another day soon, it's lunchtime here and then I have to get back to the "day job" of YarnMaker.

Meanwhile, if you'd like an introduction to band weaving, do join the Yahoo list and have a go! 

The programme for the workshop is:
1) An introduction to weaving methods (starting now).
2) From 22nd March, exploration of three ways of weaving narrow bands to highlight the differences and similarities. 
3) From 8th April, how to design your own patterns

Sue Foulkes has a particular interest in Swedish woven bands and has published a few books and articles in which she shares her research and skills. She also gives talks and runs Guild workshops. You can purchase her books from Blurb (print on demand and very nice quality!) - see here.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Tablet Weaving on the Cricket Loom

Weaving is now going well. It's a simple pattern with all the cards turned together 4 turns one way, then 4 turns back.

I looked in the Ann Sutton tablet weaving book to see how she recommends winding warps. She threaded each card as she made the warp and stood it in a stand, something like a toast rack. This idea comes from Morroco. The toast rack has a pin through the top so cards can not jump out, and later, when weaving it is used as a warp spreader.

I'd had the idea of using a rigid heddle to spread the warp. After turn the idea of toast racks around in my head for a few hours, I realised a rigid heddle could also hold cards, although it doesn't have that useful pin through the top, however I can put a knitting needle  through the centre hole of my cards.

I think this might work, maybe with the rack raised a bit so the cards sit further into it.

There is a continuous warping method that works when all your cards are threaded the same. You thread the pile of cards onto the yarns all at the same time, yarns would on four separate bobbins, and then distribute the cards into the warp as you wind it. You can see this demonstrated in YouTube videos by Linda Hendrickson and by Andrew Kieran. It is interesting to see both videos and compare the working style - Linda seems to have a fully equipped weaving studio, Andrew achieves the same result without any special equipment.

When it comes to equipment, you might have noticed I have bought special cards. You don't need to buy special cards. You can use playing cards, or other cardboard squares, I have a secondhand set made from beer mats. Another idea that came up in a Ravelry UK Weavers discussion is to use plastic squares cut from the side of a plastic milk carton.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Tablet weaving - uh oh... not like this

Some flaws in my warping system:

  • insufficient precautions taken to keep warp threads from getting crossed in the wrong places and out of order
  • I think the warp threads need threading through the cards as the warp is created (so they sit well on the warp and the warp tension will not need disturbing and the threads are all in order)
  • cards not held securely in the correct order, and this happened -

I dropped them.

Hope I manage better next time!

All my screen breaks from the computer today have been spent sorting out the warp. In the end I wound the warp on the loom twice (on to the front, then back through the cards onto the back beam) to get all the threads in order and even out the tension.

Note there is now a wooden knitting needle through the centre hole in the cards to preserve the pattern order and a cotton tie through hole B on each card to stop individuals rotating.

Anyhow, ready to weave, and whilst I have been typing this post I backed up my work for the day. I'm working against the clock to get YarnMaker published before Christmas, have a little weaving project is supposed to help keep me sane and make sure I take my screen breaks.