Saturday, 12 January 2008

A replacement heddle

This is the last of set the photos I took when I was weaving during my Christmas holidays. When I had got my warp on the loom, and started weaving, after a few inches I thought the pattern looked odd in places. The weave structure was an advancing twill and the threading doesn't use alternate odd and even shafts, so my tabby (plain weave) treadles didn't work. I normally weave a header in plain weave and this makes it easy to spot most errors made in threading and sleying the warp.

This is the first error I spotted: I had used a heddle on the wrong shaft. The texsolv heddles do not undo - I looked really closely because if it had been possible to untie it I could have simple moved the heddle. I contemplated for a while the idea of cutting the warp off and then re-threading. I felt really depressed by that idea. It would take me ages.

Then I remembered reading somewhere, probably first in Osma Gallinger Tod's Manual of Helpful Hints for Handweavers, the solution of making a new heddle and tying it on the correct shaft. I got a couple of lengths of warp cotton and tied two overhand knots for the heddle eye, then tied it on the top shaft. Tying on the bottom shaft I didn't manage so easily. I did this from sitting under the loom and reaching across. Big mistake. I pulled a muscle in my back that stopped me weaving for a couple of days. It didn't help that I managed to tie the heddle to the wrong shaft first go, and used a knot that wasn't easy to undo. I consulted my friends in the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers about this - and received the useful suggestion that on some looms you can use a paperclip around the bottom shaft. Well, my shafts are too wide for that - but the concept in this suggestion, of a loop around the bottom shaft to tie on to is a great idea. A slack loop of knotted thread would work fine - next time. Anyhow, I was rather proud of my achievement in getting this new heddle made and getting rid of the mistake without having to cut the whole warp off, so I took these commemorative pictures.

One new cotton heddle, ready for service!

And, next picture, the single cut thread is knotted to a length of (red) thread for attaching into the woven cloth. I had no problems with this, I didn't know that new heddle was there once I got weaving and the tension of the thread was as good as the rest of the warp.

A second problem: after weaving a few more inches, I had to use the cutting-off and sewing back into the cloth method again when I found I had two other threads in the wrong order.

Once again, this solution worked perfectly.


Leigh said...

I have one of Tod's books, but not that one. Sounds useful. Somewhere in Joanne Hall's CM book (which you don't have in the UK!) she explains how to slip an extra texsol heddle in there, working it through the top and bottom loops, but I can't recall how at the moment. I really should learn to make replacement heddles properly. The ones I've done are always reminiscent of a drunken sailor's.

Laritza said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I spin the yarn for warp at about 20 wpi and set it at 12 epi for plain weave. A put in a good twist so the yarn is strong. It does loose some twist during the warping process. Thanks for your praise on my stuff.

Dorothy said...

The Osma Gallinger Tod book I mentioned in this post is a nice little publication, but it's a slim, photocopied, publication and if you have Peggy Ostercamp's books they cover just about everything in Tod's book. I wouldn't call it a "must have", more a curio.

Thanks to Lartiza for her tips on spinning to weave a throw. I've got some wool ready in my stash, so it's time I started spinning. I'm going to add Laritza's blog to my recommended list - must confess I don't get out and see other peoples work much (no Guilds close to home) so I do enjoy a good textile blog!

Peg in South Carolina said...

I enjoyed your story. Well told! And it looks like it's going to be a lovely piece of fabric. By the way, I would rethink setting something that is 20 wpi at 12 epi for plain weave. 10 epi would be the maximum plain weave sett but it should probably be less if you want the same picks per inch as ends per inch. Think of the takeup of the yarn as it weaves in and out of the warp. And look at what Osterkamp has to say about sett.