Weaving in Progress

Several have expressed on interest in knowing more of the weaving/set up process so here’s a bit more though by no means is it an indepth tutorial!

For some reason the correct orientation of the picture was lost in translation. If you tilt your head you’ll get the right perspective. The knobs on the Shaker cabinet are the perfect height for hanging the warping board and measuring out the warp. My warp measured 3 yards plus 2″ (110″), the distance between two pegs is one yard. Take the yarn down, around and back to the starting peg and there’s two warp ends measured out. The woman who taught me to weave years ago had the philosophy of keeping equipment and process to the simple basics. Her advise has worked well for my weaving needs with limited space.Warping board

She taught the warping method known as Front to Back (f2b); the loom is dressed (warp put on) starting from the front side. Since interruptions are a normal part of life I wind out small, easily managed sections of warp at a time – in this case I measured out two inches, or at 15 epi – 30 warp lengths at a time.

Cutting it from the board I held the cross in my left hand with the crossed threads separated by my fingers.  See the two pegs just under the door knobs in the picture above? The warp goes under one peg and over the next, coming back to the starting pegs the warp reverses the order so one ends up with the threads making a cross. Keeping the cross intact will keep the threads in proper order to take through the reed one at a time. My right hand holds and manipulates the slender flat sley hook to pull each warp end through the correct reed slot in order. In the picture above most of the warp has been sleyed. Note the white strip of sheeting – it holds the reed/beater bar upright to aid in sleying the reed.

I like to break up the warp measuring with sleying the reed and threading the heddles. There are times I’ll measure out all the warp, sleying each section as it’s finished, then once all the warp ends have been put through the reed (sleyed) I’ll move around to the back of the loom and thread the heddles. This time I did increments of each. Much better mentally and physically. It’s crucial that each warp is sleyed in order and threaded in the correct heddle sequence depending on the pattern used. My pattern had the heddles threaded in what’s known as a straight draw: each warp end taken through heddles 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, …

Threading the heddles

Once all the warp is threaded through the heddles, each treadle is stepped on to be sure that everything is properly threaded. The ends are then tied onto the back warp beam and the beam is slowly wound clockwise, winding on the warp. Meanwhile, at the  front of the loom the warp has been straightened and shaken to remove any tangles, and pressure applied as it’s being wound onto the warp beam with equal tension.

I used the shoe string method to tie the front ends onto the cloth beam, it’s a faster method than the surgeons knots, and easier to get even tension all the way across. Less fiddly all the way around.

Finally! The warp is on, bobbins have been wound, it’s time to weave! It’s great to sit at the bench, stepping on treadles in pattern sequence, throwing the shuttle and watching the web grow.

Weaving the stole

I didn’t learn to weave with a temple – a bar with sharp teeth at each end to help keep the width of the cloth from drawing in – but I was convinced to buy one last summer. I used it with Ed vest cloth but it seemed too harsh with this more delicate yarn. Still, I did not want to take a chance on having draw-in so I tied 7 oz of fishing weights to each of the clamps. After tying taut linen line from the front beam, through the reed to the back beam to support the weight of the clamp handles, they worked great!

My friend MC had pearl beads left from her wedding dress made years ago. She offered to let me use some for Aurora’s wedding stole. There are two rows of the beads six inches in from each end. A small detail that makes my heart bound with happiness. The beads were threaded onto the weft and the guided one by one into place. There was some shifting but I love the way they add that extra elegance to the stole.Weaving in Beads

Tonight I cut the stole off the loom and twist the fringe on one end. Tomorrow morning I’ll twist the fringe on the other end, toss it in the washing machine and see how it all turns out!


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

10 thoughts on “Weaving in Progress”

  1. Oh, gosh, Wanda, that is one beautiful piece of fabric! I love the beads — you’re right, they’re just such a perfect and subtle touch of elegance. I can’t wait to see it finished up!

  2. Lovely. I threaded hole-punched (like buttons) scraps of Ultrasuede on my weft and wove a belt, once upon a time. But this is far more classic and elegant.

  3. Love the beads, sure it’s going to be beautiful, I’d be a bit scared to put it in the washer though!

  4. it is beautiful can’t wait to see it when you are done – and the pearls are fantastic – adding just that little bit extra 😀

  5. It’s lovely. My heart jumped with joy too when I saw those beads! Are you sure about washing it though? Thanks for all the weaving information. Have you thought of doing a weaving tutorial on youtube some time, as you did with your turkish spindle and Ed’s needles? God’s blessings on the rest of your wedding preparations.

  6. Yes, those beads lifted my heart with a bound of joy too. They are perfect there, and for that special piece.

    I remember women weaving with very simple looms in the Himalayas, principally strings with lengths of wood, tied around their waists and then to a rock or tree some distance away. It was a set up you could take down, carry, and use somewhere else without a problem. I thought that was so practical. But I’d love a loom like yours!

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