Moving away from the topic of zen for a moment (or not, because what is weaving if not a zen practice?) – I have an announcement to make:
I am finally in possession of a working, functionally set-up loom.
Remember awhile back when I wrote about buying a second small-ish loom because the first big one I bought was overwhelming and needed some work? Well, I did get it mostly put together right away after it arrived via courier – even getting the tie-ups partly completed – but then I was stumped. For some reason, the treadling (the foot pedals) were clunky and not snapping into place – and I had a feeling that it had something to do with the elastic cord which had been removed in the transit process – but I could not figure out how the whole thing was supposed to tie together. I wrote to the company asking for the original instructions, which came, sans any mention of the elastic cord. I now realize that the elastic cord only applied to some of their treadling kits, but not all and the instructions I got were fairly generic. Then I went online and looked around to see if that helped – but there are so few of these looms out there (or if they are, they are packed away in people’s garages) that I couldn’t find much, and what I did find didn’t really explain things. So, being really busy this fall, I walked away from it for a few months.
Flash forward to last week when I got the bug to weave again and started thinking about my loom. I had bought replacement elastic cord and some additional heddles (the eyes that the thread or yarn passes through to form the pattern) which were waiting for me to install – and so I found a bit of time here and there over a few days to get to work on it. And what of the elastic cord? Once I got underneath the loom I could see that there were pulleys built in especially to create a track for that cordage which simply holds the lamms to the frame so they snap back in place after the treadle is released (don’t worry if you didn’t understand that sentence, weaving has its own dictionary).
All that to say – I figured it out and got the loom tied up a couple of days ago. Last night, I put together the warping board that I bought back in May – which took all of about 10 minutes – and I proceeded to put a tiny warp on my loom (the warp are the fibres that pass from the front to back of the loom, they are lifted in various combinations using foot pedals or levers to create the weave pattern).
If you look at the picture below, you can see that the warp pattern is off a bit, but no matter – I had two goals in mind when I put this on. First, I wanted to see how the loom was in operation and whether I had configured it all correctly. So far the answer to that is yes – but it needs some adjusting and the heddles that were originally on it are a bit tangled – and I definitely need to get or build a weaving bench that is a bit higher than my kitchen chair to use it comfortably. Second, I wanted to follow the steps of warping a loom without a lot of ends to manage – which went fine – but I do need to mount the warping board on the wall to curtail the back pain that goes with being uncomfortably stooped when winding meters and meters of yarn into a warp.
Once all that was sorted out, I got to weave for a bit before bedtime – the inset photo shows the results – three weave patterns (a plainweave and 2 twills) for the pure purpose of getting my head back into reading a draft and watching the pattern emerge in the fabric. This is my first time using a loom with foot pedals, and I used the Peggy Osterkamp 4-treadle tie up which is amazingly efficient and doesn’t require retying for every pattern. I’ve got a couple meters of warp on, so I plan to weave it off trying out a variety of weave sequences before putting on a wider warp and doing something a bit more planned. I think that might be a scarf, followed up by some fabric to be turned into napkins. We’ll see. But for now I’m going to enjoy the aimless weaving as I get used to this little loom.
I’m feeling so confident at the moment, that I may even get the big loom into action soon too!
(Like how I used your pun Carmen?)