Monday, April 26, 2010

Rigid Heddle Beginner Project info

*from my Weavolution Weavealong of Sept 09*

Welcome to the Beginner RH project
We're going to create something using warp stripes. The concept of warp stripes is to warp your loom with a base color to use as warp and weft. But to add some visual interest and style, we will use a contrasting color for some of the warp threads and will create warp stripes.
First thing is to decide what yarn will you use. If you use cotton, you can make place mats or dishtowels.
If you use wool, maybe you would like to make a scarf.
If you use acrylic, maybe you would to make a scarf, or place mats, or fabric to sew into a bag?
The following is from my blog, where I posted some of this info prior to this weavealong.

Here's the beginning of my next project. I'm going to make some cotton yarn dishtowels/placemats. The real goal is to get some practice on making nice edges and to get some pictures I can use for a weavealong tutorial. I'm going to weave the towels 16 inch wide by 27 inch long with the fringe. With about 10 percent shrinkage during wet finish (washer/dryer cycle) I'll have towels that are 14 inch x 24 inch.

The supplies: Erica rigid heddle loom, 8 dent heddle, two shuttle sticks, a pick up stick, white Peaches & Creme worsted cotton yarn, Sugar & Creme Hot Green, Hot Orange, Hot Blue colored yarn for the stripes. I used up a lot of green and orange on other projects, so I'll be trying to make minimal stripes on this project.

The project is 16 inch wide x 8 thread per inch for 128 ends. I'm going to have 4 ends each of each color for a small stripe x 2 stripes for 24 ends of color and 104 ends of white. I started out by measuring out the warp on the warping chairs.

*continued from previous message*

These are my warping chairs. I'm going to weave two towels on this warp, 28 inch long. That's 56 inch. Plus 18 inch loom waste. That's 71 inch per warp thread. The top chair posts are 18 inch apart. The tops of the chairs have been moved to 53 inches apart. Each time I go around the four posts, I have enough yarn for 2 warps. 12 times for the colors, 52 times for the white.

(sorry for the fuzzy pictures) Here I have cut the warp at the corner post and I have all my warps cut to the right size.

Then I hang the warps on a hook on the wall. The way I warp is probably more labor intensive than others, but it works for me.

I am working from the back of the loom toward the front. I take a warp off the wall, loop it over the back loom bar, dip the cut ends into the glass of water, make a point on the end of the yarn and thread through the hole and slot in the rigid heddle, working from the middle to the outside.

Here it is all threaded up. There is an 8 thread white border each side, 12 threads of color each side and all white inside. The weft will be all white. It takes about about three hours from beginning to this point. Save until tomorrow.

Next, I laid out the warped loom on the floor. I open up some brown paper grocery sacks and cut them up so I can use them to wrap around the warp as I roll the warp onto the loom. As the warp goes around the loom bar, having paper to separate each layer helps the warp stay on the same level, allowing for even tension on the warp. Without a separator, the warp can be high and low on the loom bar, allowing for uneven tension.

So I comb out the warps with my fingers to be sure there are no tangles before I roll the warp onto the loom bar.

In order to get some resistance, I tied the warps to a weight (the bar stool) so the warp has something to pull against while I roll the warp onto the loom bar. I am warping on the floor this time. I usually enlist the aid of a boy to assist me while warping on the kitchen table. I can usually find one of my sons in the kitchen or on the computer, but I'm trying to do this solo as to explore possible solutions to problems.

This worked okay. In the past I've tied soup cans to the warps bunches and hung the warps over the edge of table. That was okay, but not great. If I find a great way to get resistance on the warps by myself, I'll post it. Spent over an hour playing with the paper and rolling the warp. Call it a day.

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. So remember to wind your warp up as high as you can with as little knots on this end as you can.

I wound the warp on as tight as I could to the warp beam (the far one). Then I tightened the knobs on the cloth beam (the near one). Then I tightened up the warp beam again. There was a little bit more slack in the warp beam then on the cloth beam.

I use shoelace knots when tying onto the cloth beam so I can untie and re tie as needed. Its very important to get the warp as evenly tight as you can. Uneven tension leads to uneven weft rows and wobbly selvedges on the sides.

Especially important is the outside inch or two on each side of your work. So be sure that your warp stays straight on the warp beam and that each warp layer is firmly on top of the layer below it under the paper. If the warp spreads out, the top layer has no layer below to support it and it falls down, creating loose warp on the outside warps.

So take some time to work on good tension, getting it evenly across the whole width.

That's it for now. You can read the whole weavealong on the Weavolution website.

Go to and register (it's free)

Then join the Rigid Heddle group to view this thread

Have a good day!

1 comment:

ieva said...

It is going to be a very special dishtowel. And I hope the next one will be with birds and flowers in it.