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.

Tablet weaving - preparing the warp

I finished weaving the scarf on the cricket loom, it's washed and drying at the moment, last stage for that project will be to sew in a few weft ends. I'm pleased with it, it is a scarf I will wear.

Next project - tablet woven band.

I'm preparing the warp, using 2/6 cotton from William Hall & Co in Emerald and Navy.

I have an old pair of Dryad warping posts for the ends of the warp, clamped to my table, 3 feet from the new single warping peg that came with my Cricket loom. I will have a six foot long warp.

My warp starts at the left of the two posts, and part way down the first side I'm making a cross, using knitting cotton to separate the four warp yarns that belong to each card. the loops on the right of the pair of posts will transfer to the cloth beam of the Cricket loom.

My yarns bobbins are on a lazy-kate. This came second hand with one of my spinning wheels, homemade, I like the wooden rods for the bobbins, they don't over run as much as on steel shafts.

My pattern is in an old book, Tablet Weaving by Ann Sutton and Pat Holtom. I find it easier to read and understand that the Candace Crockett book, and I like the simple patterns.

I'm warping for a 16 card pattern.

Back to work on the magazine now, but it is good to have another project to help make sure I take my screen breaks. I spend too many hours at the computer some days, and have bad RSI problems. These are helped by swimming and exercises, but I recently had to take a 3 month break from swimming due to a different problem, recurrent sublaxation problems with my knee joints, part of 4 years of trouble with walking, dating back to when I was ill in 2008/9. I've had more physiotherapy, I'm walking again, and swimming. Thank you NHS!

Sunday 8 December 2013

A small loom, for bands, samples, scarves.

I don't get much time for weaving at the moment, not enough that I feel I can go ahead and set up a large project on the floor loom. However, small projects are achievable: samples, scarves, bands.

I've been thinking for a while about getting a small loom for band weaving and samples. Criteria were: a solid frame, a good choice of extra heddles (for non-band projects), small adjustments possible on cloth beams and secure ratchet and pawl.

Candidates were Ashford SampleIt (8" wide), Ashford 12" knitters loom, 10" Schacht Cricket loom. Each has its own merits, but I chose the Schacht Cricket, because I wanted 10" width and also because they are beautifully designed and made.

Here is my Cricket:

and here is the rest of the loom. It came flat packed with assembly instructions (that was easy, put pieces together, use 6 cross head screws provided), weaving instructions, 2 shuttles, one 8 dpi heddle and two balls of yarn. Well I don't know what to do with two balls of yarn and a loom, except warp up and weave... so I did.

You may not be able to see the tape measure clearly in the photo, total length of the loom is 18". This loom doesn't take up much space!

I like the design, the heddle positions are good and the table clamps (for use when warping) slot into the back of the loom sides and hold it securely - I know this is important have had my 20" Ashford Knitters Loom escape its clamps once, midway through warping using the single post method.

This is the ratchet and pawl...

...and for more about band weaving on small looms, I refer you to YouTube and the latest video from Sue Foulkes which accompanies a book -

Five Ways of Weaving Narrow Bands, video

The book, The Art of Simple Band Weaving, is available from and either as an e-book or print on demand hardback or softback. I haven't got a copy, yet (maybe after Christmas!) but I have Sue's other books, on Sami band weaving, and they are excellent. (Also available from blurb, search for Susan J Foulkes.)