A Warped Loom

It feels like a Saturday night: Hair freshly washed. Pajamas and robe providing comfortable warmth. It’s early to bed tonight for tomorrow will bring an early morning drive to the far north of the Willamette Valley.

Show weeks can be quite stressful with all the extra work on top of keeping up with normal duties but having taken the month off from accepting spindle orders I actually feel on top of the situation. Another huge annual obligation has gotten underway as I’m slowly organizing and going through bookwork readying for tax paperwork.

The slow down in the office brought time to play: The Julia loom was finally, finally warped! Gracious, I can hardly remember when I first measured out the warp, sleyed the reed then started to do battle with the shafts.

All went well until after the reed was sleyed (the warp threads placed through the correct dent (Slot)- this pattern calls for 18 warp ends per inch (wpi), I have a 12 dent/inch reed so threaded one warp in a dent followed by two warp ends in the next dent across. The trick is to keep the order correct when threading the heddles so there are no crossed threads.
Warp sleyed

Some time ago I bought the  kit to convert the loom into a 4 shaft, 6 treadle counterbalance. The kit included 4 horses which are what toggle the shafts on the counter-balance rod. (How does one explain that action!) Wooden brackets  hold the shafts in place while adding heddles, tying the horses, the lamms and treadles. First I had to equalize the texsolve heddles from between 2 shafts to the 4 shafts. I lost count of how many times almost all the heddles were in place when a shaft would work lose from the bracket and suddenly crash down spilling all the heddles. In a tangled heap. Of course, when one shaft fell others followed. More than once I wanted to do violence to heddles and shafts. After the heddles were subdued with lines run through from one end to the other to keep them on the bucking shafts the warping fun began.

Insane. Simply insane. Using a 4 shaft counter-balance loom that has resisted every step of the conversion from 2 shafts and threading a 3 shaft waffle weave pattern. The empty fourth shaft wanted to dance with freedom as the other shafts were slowly threaded; 1 of them getting twice the threading as the others, making them hang at crazy angles and levels. Weights on the ends, cords on the ends, adjusting and readjusting the horses to get them to hang evenly as I slowly threaded my way across. Several times I reached the point that I couldn’t bear to even look at the loom for days on end. (Hard to ignore when the loom is next to my chair in the living room.) Determination and the desire to get on with the weaving would take me back to coaxing sense into the beast.

Threaded Heddles

What sweet blessedness when the warp was completely on the loom and the last knot was tied into place. Eagerly the weaving commenced.

Except. Stepping on each treadle in turn showed there to be 3 sets of crossed threads between the reed and the heddles. sigh. In the years of weaving this was a first. At least it was a straight forward fix.
Except. The empty back harness and the second harness with twice as many warp threads weighting it down continued to bob and shuffle off-balance resulting in narrow sheds on one treading. At one point Ed commented that he was surprised I hadn’t hurled angry words at the loom or thrown something. What? A little loom conquer me? Ha! With weights judicially placed on the 4th harness, the horses carefully retied higher, the distance to the treadles readjusted we finally reached a happy partnership with the harnesses moving in sweet harmony.

The waffle weave is a fun pattern. Once several inches had been woven I could see my place in the pattern and no longer had to single mindedly focus on counting. The rhythm is relaxing and soothing. Don’t let my experience turn you away from either weaving or the sweet little Julia loom, which I do enjoy. I could have stopped anywhere in the process and plugged in the dvd which came with the loom. It shows how to warp back to front, the recommended method for this loom. The stubborn person inside obstinately said, “I can do this my way and, by gum, I will.”

Our dear little Violet was fascinated with the weaving and wanted to lend a hand.
Violet & Bobbin
Afterall, this material will become a shirt for her first birthday!

Violet Weaving


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.

6 thoughts on “A Warped Loom”

  1. I warped my first loom last summer with the help of a friend. I’m not sure at this point if I am going to become a weaver. The process was daunting.

  2. WOW! I am amazed and impressed. And to think how many times
    I struggle with just two needles and one peice of string!
    Those colors are adorable……one year? Yikes….goes so fast!
    Have more fun!

  3. Wow what you have woven so far looks beautiful I can’t wait to see what it looks like when you are finished. Weaving intrigues me but whether or not I can get past all the initial start up process is up for debate.

  4. Oh, boy. I’m not sure this was the right post to catch up on the night before taking my first weaving class!! (I’m not joking.) However, the class is on a little table-top rigid heddle loom (my Cricket), so it oughtn’t to be quite so complex (I hope!). I picked out some yarn today and am hoping for a little scarf by the end of the weekend (so ambitious) 🙂

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