Monday, September 21, 2009

Rigid Heddle Weave Along

There is a rigid heddle weave along starting next week, Sept 28 2009, at Weavolution

You have to join the Rigid Heddle group to see the weavealong instructions, but there is no charge to join. There will be a beginner level project and intermediate level project.

At Weavezine there are several free projects for rigid heddle

And here is a collection of rigid heddle relatd links

Have a good day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stop the backstrap, pick up the sticks

This scarf started on a backstrap loom. But I did not like the look of the weave as I got going. So I took it off the backstrap and put it on my weaving sticks.

Here is the scarf on my makeshift barstool warping pegs. I like to try different ways of warping with what I have on hand. I can't make tight warping with this, but for the scarf it was not that critical.

Here is the scarf on the backstrap. As you can see on the left, the yarn has a one gold strand and 3 black strands. When woven on the backstrap, the one gold strand disappears into just dots. I wanted to have a more of the gold showing through. So I unraveled the weaving and moved to weaving sticks.

As you can see, the weaving sticks are just sticks. There is a hole at the bottom of the sticks to thread the warp through. I put a six foot warp on the sticks. Then I started weaving around the sticks. Every couple of inches of weaving, I push the weaving down the sticks onto the warp. As I keep weaving I keep pushing the work down the sticks and eventually I will have a strip of cloth.

Here is a closeup of the woven strip. You can see the gold stripe much better in this weft faced style of weaving. Strips like this can be sewn together to make vests, blankets, and I think I want to make a hat with this technique.

The weaving work (weft) can bunch up on you and use up a lot of yarn. I can hold the scarf down on my left with a flat hand, and then by tugging on the warp I can slide the weft down the warp about an inch at a time, in 2 or 3 inch sections at each time. Working my way up the scarf I can spread the weft so it's not bunched up. I'll tie off the strings to make a fringe and hold the ends.

For more info on weaving sticks, check out the links on my previous blog entry

Have a good day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Backstrap Loom Basics article posted on Weavezine

There was a Backstrap loom basics article
by Laverne Waddington of Bolivia
posted on Weavezine today.

Laverne has been using backstrap looms for years and sharing
the knowledge on internet forums like
a gathering place for handweavers

It is an excellent introduction with links to resources to
help you get started with backstrap loom weaving.
Includes some great videos too.

I got started on backstrap weaving with help from Laverne
and I'm thrilled to see her article on Weavezine

Weavezine is an online magazine for weavers with articles and
podcasts on different weaving related topics.
Weavezine is published by Syne Mitchell, who is also a weaver.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Acrylic/Chenille Scarf on backstrap loom

(click on picture to view larger image)
My lovely wife Tracy has a stash of yarns. She asks me to use some of this. The chenille yarn is 41% acrylic/59% viscose. The flat ribbon yarn is 94% viscose. I decide to make a scarf.

I do not have a long warping board, so I hung the loom bars on the chairs and I continuous warped 7 foot long, 12 warps. I used pencils and rubber bands to hold the cross. I figured the chenille would weave at about 3 inch wide and my guess was pretty good. I would try to weave 5 foot long with 12 inch fringe.

Here is the weaving in progress. At first I beat the chenille firmly and found the scarf was as stiff as a carpet. So I loosened up the the weave by pulling it back up the warp and putting it back down the warp with a comb. Then I started weaving again from that point and did not beat it so hard. Much better feel. Kind of a balancing act between beating for a firm weave and having a loose weave/drape by placing the weft, not beating.

By the way, that is a wooden footstool under my leg. I am sitting on our couch which sits kind of low. I have a pillow behind to help support my back. The television is to my right. The remote control is on my left.

I have a new rule for myself. If I find myself watching TV and not weaving, I am to go and warp something so I can weave during TV time.

At the end of the weaving, I hem stitch both ends of the weaving with the chenille weft.

I tied the warps close to the weft with overhand knot (groups of 3) and I tied overhand knot each individual warp 1/4 inch from the end for fringe. Finished weaving length is 51 inch chenille woven plus 12 inch fringe on each end. I used one of those big balls of chenille and 91 feet of ribbon yarn. It took about 3 days maybe 6 hours altogether.

Each project teaches me something new.

Have a good day!

Update 9/18/09: After I washed it I found out that any "loops" on the side edges become very noticeable. Also the knots where I tied on new weft were very noticeable. I was told next time to strip off the chenille fluff down to the core yarn for two inches on each end, then tie a tight knot, and clip ends for a join that is not noticeable.

Have a good day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Twining edge on backstrap loom

(click on picture for larger image)
I'm going to put a twined edge on a backstrap loom piece to create a fancy finished edge to a continuous warp piece. Here my warp is stretched between two warp sticks. Each warp loop is spread about 1/4 inch apart for 8 per inch sett. Binding a second bar to the warp stick helps keep the spacing intact.

Using two colors for contrast, I'm tucking each color alternately behind a warp. As I twine a warp, I try to lay the twine to the right. The next color must come up over the previous twine then behind the next warp. Lay the twine to the right, next color up over the previous, then behind the next warp.

Lay the twine to the right, next color up over the previous, then behind the next warp.

Keep twining.

All done. An overhand knot at the end finishes the edge cord. Ready to be lashed to the loom bar. Count the warps in the picture. Number 17 from the right side did not get twined, both twines are on top of the warp, not one behind it.

Lashing the twined edge to the loom with more yarn, I am threading yarn under the twine and between the warp loops. The edge cords hold the warp loops for the weaving.

Here's a closeup of the missed loop. Run the lash cord through the loop to attach to the loom bar. Weaving will secure it to the rest of the piece and it will be unnoticeable.

Working on the other side, different colors used. Twine up and behind the next warp.

Done and lashed to the loom bar.

Both sides done and ready for weaving.

Jumping ahead to the finished piece. Unthreading the lashing out of the piece, leaving a finished twined edge.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hot stripe towel part 2

After a few days not weaving, I jumped back to the loom and started off. I forgot to take pictures of how I did the tie up on the loom. So here is the front loom bar. Notice the big loops?! That will come back to bite me later at the other end of the warp. Because I came up short a few inches on the other end! Because I used so much warp here on the tie up I ran out of yarn on the other end of the warp.

Notice how cool the warp stripes look? All the really hard work is done. What I need to do now is focus on technique because the simple things need to be done as near perfect as possible.

Here is a picture of the two towels in progress. Notice the two seperators? Those are pieces of cardboard about one inch wide. That separates the towels so I have some room for hand hemming and some fringe. When I weave, I get into a pattern of "heddle up for weft on left, heddle down for weft on right" so when I use two separators, the pattern stays the same. Using one separator changes the pattern and then I have to change my rhythm and then I get mixed up and get mad and then I want to punch a water buffalo.

Anyway, I also use a measuring tape to keep track of how much I've woven. I prefer to loosen the warp before I measure so I get more of a "slack" measure. The paper measuring was picked up for free at IKEA, so when you are at IKEA, pickup a couple. They're FREE!

I mark the measurment by tying a piece of yarn to the side of the woven piece.

Here I am at the end of the warp. You can see how I'm right against the heddle and the far loom bar. I'm trying to push through as many throws as I can before I can't put any more.

Here my heddle is in a DOWN position (weft on the right) and is held down by the heddle block. The heddle block is the U shaped piece of wood on the loom. When in the UP position the bottom wood piece sits on top of the heddle block. The slot in the middle of the heddle block is the Neutral position and is good place to park the heddle for warping up.

This heddle block is cracked and I'll need to make a replacement for it.

Close up of the measuring tape and the marker yarn tied to the side.

I'm hand hemming the ends with a fringe. I hem it on the loom because it is easier that way.

Here is a video that showed me how to hemstitch with the fringe.

hemstitch video

Here is the almost finished towels. They still have to go through the washer and dryer to finish and shrink some.

Have a good day!