Saturday, August 22, 2009
Backstrap beginner project - horizontal stripes
(click on pictures for bigger view, then "back" to return to blog)
There is a backstrap "weave-a-long" in process at Weavolution.com where you can start weaving along with other members of the Backstrap Weaving group and forum. You can register as a member of Weavolution at no cost and you can join immediately.
I started weaving along with the backstrap beginners group on warp stripe pieces and variations of the basic warp stripe. Above I have warped a 30 inch warp using a yard stick and pencils lashed on for warping stakes. Using the directions from the weavealong I'm using cotton crochet thread. I have warped 8 threads of red for border, 16 pairs of red & white thread, and 8 threads for the other border. I'll be using red for weft so the borders will have solid color.
In this picture I have manipulated the red/white pairs so the red are on one shed and the white are on another shed. As I weave, the alternating sheds will create horizontal red and white stripes.
Here is my backstrap loom rigged to a nail under a counter top. I'm using a barstool to help keep the top loom bar from flipping sideways as I weave. From the top, I'm using two pencils rubber banded together to improve strength. One pencil carries the warp, the other is just helping support. Next is a pencil for shed stick. There is another pencil rubber banded to help keep the warp spread out and prevent the shed stick from slipping out.
I tried using just a string to keep the shed, but I found the shed tended to bunch together as I pulled up the on shed string, making it difficult to "pop" the warps apart to make the shed. So I put a pencil for shed stick and spread the warp, which is much easier.
Then you see my string heddle pencil. Since the band is narrow, many weavers will use a string heddle without a stick, but I prefer having the stick to help keep the warp spacing.
Then come the ruler turned into a shuttle/beater. I was using a credit card as a beater, but found that the ruler with its beveled sides worked fine as a beater. So I stopped using the card and had one less thing to keep track of. I tied the end of the weft thread through one of the holes of the ruler which was convenient.
Then is the bottom loom bar. I was using two pencils but as I started to roll the finished weaving, I found the bottom bar would rollup on the the strap rope when I put tension on the warp. I think it has to do with torque and the growing outer diameter of the strip.
I found that putting a 1/2 dowel helped, but I think I was supposed to move the finished strip roll to one side and keep only a single wrap of strip on the loom bar. At least that would be reason for all the pictures I've seen where the weaver has done that.
Sorry for the blurry picture, but here I am putting my fingers through the upper shed. Notice the red warp below the string heddle stick.
By spreading my two fingers apart, I make the shed "pop" below string heddle. See how the white threads are now showing down past the string heddle. I stick my thumb in the shed below the string heddle and hold it open for the shuttle stick. I think I will use a flat shed stick from a piece of ruler next time to improve speed.
Here is the finished strip, about 18 inch long with 6 more inch of unwoven warp. The width is very uneven, from 1 3/4 inch wide to 2 1/2 inch wide. I started out narrow, but it got wider as I went along. I didn't put as much tension on the warp when of the problem started with the bottom loom bar rolling back up on itself.
But I did accomplish horizontal bars, which was the goal. Now I have to work on keeping a consistent width. There is also a comb pattern I want to try. Some good looking strips can be woven using combinations of stripes, bars, and combs patterns.
Go to Weavolution if you want to join the backstrap weavealong. There is also a double weave project for more advanced backstrap weavers.
Have a good day!