Tuesday, 17 November 2009


My Mike Crompton Band Loom has a new tension block in place and I'm weaving a trial band, this is the new block -
It's longer, and a better fit in the width than the original -

With a warp on the loom and the tension wound up tight, there is minimal sideways twist now,

We are also testing a guide plate on the side of the block, to counteract the tendency it had to tip forwards under tension, if it works this will get replaced with a smarter piece of wood that will extend behind (as well as before) the peg.

I'm also testing out a new bobbin. This is based on a bobbin photographed in the Swedish book I mentioned before,"Weaving Bands" by Liv Trotzig and Astrid Axelsson. You can see a similar bobbin used in this video by skapaegna on YouTube. This prototype is made from a scrap piece of Sycamore wood, using a spoke shave. (We'd like a woodturning lathe, but have no where to put one at the moment!)

I was going down with a cold on Friday when I wound this warp, and although I tried to follow a warping diagram I managed to make it asymmetrical, the main error was that the pale strip on one side is a blue thread and on the other side lavender, I quite like the result.

Here's a couple more links for band weavers, Laverne on her backstrap loom has uses selvedge techniques that are useful for band weavers, see the videos in her Weavezine article, and Ruth McGregor has a video demonstrating much the same method on YouTube.


I've also been enjoying testing out the latest addition to my collection of spinning wheels. This is a trusty, dependable little Ashford Traveller of which I am the third owner. My first spinning wheel, an Ashford Traditional, went to a new owner a couple of years ago, and I have often recalled wistfully how easy it was to use for anything I wanted to spin, how easy to carry and what an honest, simple design.

This wheel is a few years old, but has seen little use and is in beautiful condition. I particularly wanted a single treadle wheel and they are no longer available new from Ashford. I love the way I can carry it about with one hand, and it is the only wheel I have had which fits beautifully in the boot of my small Fiat car - it lies down flat behind the seats and I don't have to dis-assemble it at all, although it needs wrapping up and tucking in snug with a bit of packaging for safe travel. As I found that the Majacraft Suzie Alpaca was no lighter nor easy to carry than the Timbertops wheels, I'm particularly pleased to have a Traveller.

The cotton tape dangling from the tension knob holds the original Ashford threading hook. I think it would look prettier hanging from a new inkle band, maybe orange and red threads to match the rich colouring of the varnished Beech. wood?


Meg in Nelson said...

I have the same wheel, but unpainted, with a double treadle. OK, it's been collecting dust, but at least I dusted it this winter!

Leigh said...

Sorry to hear you're coming down with a cold. You've had more than your fair share of illness lately!

Nice to see the Mike Crompton doing so well. The guide plate seems like an excellent idea. I like to colors on the band too.

Peg in South Carolina said...

I love my little Traveller. I bought mine used and it has since seen a good deal of use. I added the high speed flyer and also a Woolee-Winder. And you are right about its portability. Though I don't pick it up one-handed usually....(grin!)

Dorothy said...

It's good to here of other little Traveller wheels. I treated mine to a new drive belt this morning, in plum coloured cotton, and have just spun a good sample of lace yarn from Shetland wool tops.

Leigh, glad you like the colours of the latest band. It's a big colour switch from the orange/pink/green I was using, and I spent some time playing with different options before choosing these. One of the things I like about warp faced bands is they show off yarn colour beautifully, because the colours stay separate - I'm thinkng of the difference between these bands and the plain weave and twill colour samplers I wove a year or so back.

Catherine said...

Preeeeetty wheel! Love that rich mahogany colour.

Your Joy is going nicely, I use it way more than my Traditional now, even when I am at home. It has more ratios, so I find it far more versatile - I spun my first alpaca lace-weight on it a few months back, in fact :)

I hope you are doing well,


Catherine said...

PS, I cannot believe that you are 42, as per your profile. You're telling porkies!

Dorothy said...

Hi Catherine, I think it's being a child at heart that creates the illusion! I was born in '67, and have always looked young for my age, eventually it ceased to be a disadvantage ;)

So glad to know the Joy found a happier home with you. I have a friend who has spun fine Shetland yarn on a Joy for lace knit shawls so delicate they will pull through a wedding ring! (She's superb knitter too).

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
I use an Ashford Trveller It was a surprise Christmas present in 1990 and has done yeoman service - never broken down or needed repair and its spun everything its been asked to !

Life Looms Large said...

Glad your inkle weaving is going so well. I've yet to try it, but one of these years I definitely want to. People make such cool things with them!

Somehow inkle looms and spinning wheels seem made for people who are more patient than I am!


Anonymous said...

Spinning wheels are so beautiful. I took a class many years ago and I still have my drop spindle. I'd like to try the wheel again some time. Thanks, Dot, for your enjoyable and informative post.


Jan Scott said...

Dear Dot,
I am facinated by your Mike Compton floor inkle loom! ive tryed to find out more about the loom but am haveing trubble. the tentioner looks like its in an convenient location but i cant figure out how its working. do you have a website adress where he shows off his vary original looking loom? thanks vary much for introducing me to this variation on inkle (Which is always lots of fun!!!)
all for now dislexcily yours jan in ottawa (Canada)

Dorothy said...

Hi Jan,

I looked at the webpage of the people I bought the Mike Crompton inkle loom from, and there is not much information. Did you find the page? It's here:
and from that page there is a tab that says "Contact Us" so you could send an e-mail to them.

The tensioner has a wooden knob on the end of a nylon screw thread, and their is a nut that fits the screw thread inside the wooden block with the tension peg on it.

I must say, I did not understand how it worked until I put a warp on the loom and tried it out. Next time I write about this loom I will try and explain it better.

Mike Crompton doesn't have a web page himself, I know he has retired from his main business which is tapestry weaving. I think he is over 70 years old. Maybe he has stopped making looms too, and the looms being sold are old stock, I don't know.

best wishes,