Saturday, July 18, 2009

Backstrap weaving in progress

Okay, I had a false start a couple of days ago. I warped up the loom, for a 16 inch wide by 24 inch long towel using Peaches & Creme white for most of the warp/weft and Sugar & Creme variegated black/white for borders. I adjusted my craft frame and tied the loom bars 24 inch apart. I continuous warped the loom bars. My camera ate the pictures of what happened next.

I tied edge cords onto both ends of the warp so I could get a nice finished edge (selvedge) to the piece. Then I moved the loom bars so I could lash the edge cords to the loom bar, I set a couple of dowels into the warp to hold the crossing of the warp threads (cross). This held up for while and I was able to get myself ready to weave by sitting on the couch with the other end of the loom tied to a bolt attached under a counter top.

As I tried to arrange my sticks, I learned that I had crossed a few warps. Bummer. And my edge cord had missed a few warps also. Bummer.

Then I tipped the loom sideways and the cross sticks fell out. Bummer. I tried to use a pickup stick to recover the warp cross. Very slow going and not very successful. I was extremely grumpy about this turn of events. If I lived in a more primitive setting, I would have gone out and punched a buffalo.

I untied the whole thing and started over. Ahhhh! Much better. I found that double checking every warp and cross doesn't take time, it saves time. Rubber bands are a fast way to tie up the ends of leash sticks to hold a cross. Tying a safety string across heddle and shed sticks also saves time.

Here I am on the second try. I saw pictures of people sitting on the floor with their backstrap looms and so I though I would try it. It's not bad. I need more cushion for sitting. Also need a cushion under my knees to put a little bit of flex in my knees to keep from hyper extending the knee joint. Otherwise it's not bad. I had joked about my legs being too short for my feet to hold the far end of the loom, 30 inch long trouser leg, and it turns out it is not a problem when weaving a 24 inch towel!

Here is my view of the weaving. The loom bar at the bottom is tied to my belt strap. Then it is tied to the lashed edge cord dowel. Then we have about 2 inches of black/white border to go with the two inches of black/white warp border. There is a pickup stick that is used to hold open the shed for the stick shuttle to go through. There is the string heddle on a stick, with a safety string. Behind that is another flat stick for making a shed. Then a round shed stick, with a safety string. Then the far edge cord dowel lashed to the far loom bar. And finally, a loop of rope to go over my shoes.

Did I mention that safety strings save time?

Here is a picture of the string heddle in action, holding up a set of warp for the shed stick to go under.

Here is the really cool part. You can put your shuttle stick on top of your work in progress, start rolling from the loom bar until you get to the far loom bar and you now ready for transport! Most of the loom parts are 18 inch long, the heddle stick is 24 inch long, but still easy to pack and move. I can cut down that heddle stick.

I'm halfway done with the towel and I'll probably be done tomorrow. More pictures then.

Have a good day!


Anonymous said...

You SO inspire me! No ego, no fancy tools... You just DOIT!
Seriously Franco! So many times desire for prefection or fear of failure holds me back in life... Your work is a metaphorfor a way of life and I think of it often!

graciela foradori // E-mail said...

Franco, this is very nice! I ended my table runner on the backstrap loom. I weave on my bachstrap loom, but sitting in a chair or an armchair. My knees grateful.

MONK!!! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MONK!!! said...

I was just wondering, but how do you keep the threads spaced so consistently? I've asked many people and tried it myself but the threads on the edge are balanced while the ones in the middle go warp faced, and I want a completely balanced weave cloth. How do you do it?!