Monday, 8 September 2008

Setting up for colour and weave.

Still no colour and weave blanket photos. If you read my last post, you will know that it is at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire (England) this week in the annual exhibition of the Alsager Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I'll get it back next Sunday evening (14th) and photos will follow thereafter. So, as consolation, here's a gallery of photos of getting the colour and weave warp on the loom. Here's the collection of chained warp sections. You can see one of the tie on labels that I used to distinguish the different sections. And here are the sections of warp going on to an apron rod, all carefully ordered. The I used the green threads to divide each section and for selvedges.
Next - warp on the back apron rod, lease sticks in and onto the loom.
(Yes, I did get a bit carried away with the photos... I've deleted lots as I don't know why I took them! Only 11 posted here, but maybe this series of pictures will be some use to someone? If not, skip to the end, last photo is of my charming little weaving assistant.)
Weighted warp ready to wind on. This is my current favourite method. The weights are over the front beam and start resting on the floor, then I wind till the reach the beam, take each off and re-tie. I know there are other means of tensioning the warp, but this worked well especially as there were tension problems in this warp caused by having lots of knots tied to change thread colours. The loose threads looked a bit scary at one stage, but I the tension seems to even up at the lease sticks as I wind and it was beautifully even for weaving. Apart from the selvedges getting slack. But that's another story.
The photo above means more to me than you might expect. This is the widest warp I have put on my loom and it took ages. I had a few new problems arise. For the first time I had to move heddles around, I needed extra in the middle and for the first time I needed heddles past the outer lam ties (those ones at each end that the top bar of the shafts hang from). And, at the back of the loom there were 4 shafts I wasn't using. I removed most of the heddles from these so they would not get in the way, but left a small bundle at the end of each shaft. Why did I leave these? Well, as I discovered (oops, slip, bang, crash ....etc all rude words here deleted...) remove the heddles and the bottom shaft bar drops to the floor!!! (Note: this is a countermarch loom.) I love this reed sleying method, it's so easy and quick that I've given up using my autodenter.
Key equipment are a couple of boxes to rest the reed on and a little plastic Ashford reed hook.
I tied on to the front apron rod with larks head knots. I find this the easiest method to use if I think I might need to adjust any section of the warp. It's very quick to undo, adjust, re-tie.
On this occasion I got the tension beautiful first go, and wove a neat header. However, with so many different colour and weave patterns across the width of the peice, I wove a few more inches before I spotted a few errors. There were three places where I had to correct errors. Here's one of them, just about centre of the picture:
I'm getting quite adept now at the cut off, re-thread and sley and sew ends back in:
With this fixed, I was ready to weave. The colour order for weft followed the same patterns as the warp - see my earlier post giving the thread order. I wove through the list for plain weave (except I skipped a bit - 3 white, 4 blue repeated is so similar to 4 white 3 blue it didn't seem worthwhile) then I started again using diagonal 2-2 twill. I finished up with Bedford cord and a weft rib. I spent about a week of spare moments getting the warp on the loom, and most of the next week weaving. 


Laritza said...

Did you presley? I can not see a reed or a raddle. This is a great idea! I usually presley on a table and then take the whole thing to the loom. Maybe if I do it on the loom I won't loose the cross so often! Thanks!

Geodyne said...

Annie is just gorgeous - I love the watchful look on her face!

Thanks for the photo essay - I always enjoy seeing how others approach getting the warp on the loom.

Dorothy said...

Hi Laritza, no I don't pre-sley.

I have a counting tie before the cross for the lease sticks and use a home-made raddle clamped on the back beam to spread the warp.

As I wind on the back beam the threads are running through the lease sticks and then through the raddle.

When the warp is wound on I can mount my second, large raddle just behind the shafts and transfer the count groups into the sections of this raddle ready for threading. I've taken photos for my next post which show how I use that back beam raddle.

I know many people do pre-sley, I think whether that is useful depends on your loom design. If I pre-sleyed for mine I might have to take the shafts out, or else find a way to mount the reed used for pre-sleying behind the shafts, the only way I can think is to hang it off strings from the upper part of the loom frame.

Thanks for asking this question!

Peg in South Carolina said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post, including the pictures. I take tons of pictures too but quickly delete most of them. Presleying with a reed: my understanding is that this can be helpful with very fine setts. It would be difficult to make a raddle with more than 4 sections per inch. I made one like that and it is NOT a thing of beauty nail-pounding wise.... but it works. The idea is to keep your sets of ends going onto the beam relatively small so that they go on more evenly.

Anonymous said...

*giggle* When I first read presley, I read it as Presley (like Elvis) -- and thought, "Gosh, I've never heard of the Presley technique." Imagine my laugh at myself when it dawned on my that it was presley.

I sley first if I'm dressing my loom front to back. But that is a rare bird for me. Love all of the photos -- it's always great to see how others do things.

Weave on!

Leigh said...

Charming indeed!

Wonderful photos. I love reading and seeing how others do things; very helpful.

I like your use of full yarn cones as warp weights. Very clever. I will remember that for next time I do a wide warp.

Grouse said...

Dot- I found your blog when looking for Soay sheep (if you know a local breeder Would begrateful!) This is absolutely fascinating and if you dont mind will post it on the blogsite Purplecoo, as there are a lot of creative people there who would be netranced by this

Dorothy said...

Hi Grouse,

Thanks for your kind recommendation!

I don't know anyone breeding Soay sheep, but if you look at this page of spinning resources there are some people offering fleece, so maybe they can help with information about the sheep:

Irene Adler said...


As an experiment I put my current warp through the reed twice, following instructions in "The Big Book of Weaving" that you recently reviewed.

The result was brilliant, a much better warp on the loom than I have ever had before. I had to balance the reed on sticks across the loom, and it was quite a bit more bother, BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!