Quiet Friday: Warping Trapeze

When I was a girl I dreamed of being a flying trapeze artist. No fooling! I practiced stunts on our backyard swingset, including hanging from my toes. I grew out of that. My new stunt now, is with a different kind of trapeze. A warping trapeze. (Some people call it a warping valet, but let’s call it a trapeze, okay?)

The warping trapeze is used for beaming the warp. The warp comes over the breast beam, under the foot beam, and then over the cross bar of the trapeze. I use two-pound walking weights and S-hooks to weight the warp bouts, since the warp needs to be under sufficient tension as it is wound onto the warp beam. The warping trapeze makes it easy to single-handedly beam a warp with even tension.

Warping trapeze set up for beaming the warp.

Warping Trapeze: Two tall boards set into place just inside the sides of the loom, angled at the base, between the cloth beam and the breast beam. I clamp them on the sides for extra security. The top piece slips into a cut-out opening at the top of the side boards. Reed will be moved to the beater before beaming.

Walking weights are used to weight the warp bouts for beaming the warp.

Two-pound walking weights are perfect for hanging from S-hooks to weight the warp bouts. I can easily increase the amount of weight by adding more walking weights, as needed. For a longer warp, I tie a piece of texsolv cord in a slip knot around the warp bout, and hang the S-hooks and weights on that cord, moving it down as the warp is wound on.

Warping trapeze explained. Karen Isenhower

The trapeze is ready, with the warp weighted. Next steps: Remove the support sticks; move the lease sticks to behind the reed; straighten warp ends; place reed in the beater; slide lease sticks toward the reed. Okay, go! Wind the warp onto the beam.

(Did you notice Becky Ashenden’s flippy book, Dress Your Loom the Vävstuga Way: A Bench-Side Photo Guide on my cart? I still like to follow her step-by-step instructions to make sure I’m not missing anything.)

Enjoy this little time-lapse video I created of myself dressing the loom using the warping trapeze. (You will not see me hanging from my toes.)

I fly through the air with the greatest of ease, my threads all in place with the warping trapeze…

Thank you to Becky Ashenden for introducing me to a warping trapeze at Vävstuga Weaving School.
Many thanks to my talented husband for creating my very own warping trapeze. He’s the best!

May you come up with fantastic new stunts.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • cyndi says:

    I have a wonderful visual of you hanging by your toes! Great job of explaining the trapeze.

  • Gretchen says:

    Karen, I would love to talk to you more about your trapeze. I have been intrigued since I discovered them via blogs and you tube. I think Matt could build me one as well. Sometime, I would love to come see your set up as it seems a little different from others I have seen on the internet. So clever and doesn’t require fixing anything to the ceiling! It was wonderful to see you this week! Happy weaving!

    • Karen says:

      Gretchen, I would love to show it to you! The next time I’m getting ready to start a new warp, I could let you know and you could come over and see how it all works. Anyone could make this. Steve made it so it’s easy for me to use and store.

    • d'Anne Craft says:

      Could I come see your trapeze, too? I’ve been wanting one for a while now, and I am sure Bob could make it for me.

      Great explanation of how it works, Karen!

      • Karen says:

        Hi d’Anne, I would love to have you come over and see the trapeze!
        I’ll call you when I am about ready to dress the loom.

        Karen

  • Mary says:

    Great job, Karen! I have yet to try this, but hope to in due time. At the moment, looking forward to finishing some looper rugs!
    Mary

  • Karen says:

    Hi Mary! Looper rugs sound like great fun!

    The warping trapeze makes dressing the loom so much simpler. But everything in due time, I know. There are so many great ideas, and you can’t do everything at once!

    I hope you are doing well. I’m glad you find time to weave, between enjoying your fascinating animals and taking care of your shop. Thanks so much for dropping by here!

    Happy Weaving,
    Karen

  • […] some articles about a “warping valet, which is kind of the same principle as the trapeze. Warped for Good is a blog that has pictures and a video. She also has an Etsy […]

  • Rita says:

    I love your video and loom. What brand of loom is in the picture ? I have been seriously thinking about those lovely Countermarch looms.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Rita,
      I’m glad you asked! The loom in the picture is a 120cm (47″) Glimakra countermarch loom. I also have a 100cm (39″) Glimakra countermarch. It is pure joy to weave on these looms. Let me know if there are any questions that I might answer for you.
      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Tom Z. says:

    I’ve been using a trapeze for a while now. I can’t imagine warping any other way.
    Great video too. I’m using handweights now also.
    I first saw a video from Laura Fry ‘beaming mats.mpg’ on youtube. 10 meters in 10 minutes!

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Having Fun with Rya Knots

What is your operating system? I am not referring your computer or mobile device. I am talking about the mindset behind your weaving endeavors. Quality, quantity, visual appeal? Decide what kind of weaver you intend to be, and you will operate out of that.

Tying rya knots is new for me. Each 4 1/2″ / 12 cm cut piece of wool yarn (I have an assortment of Åsborya, Tuna, Jason Collingwood rug wool, Mattgarn, and some novelty knitting yarn) is tied around two pairs of warp ends, producing a shaggy pile. Threaded for rosepath, two pattern repeats are to be woven as background between each row of rya knots, using doubled fine wool as weft.

Tying rya knots. Fine wool for rosepath background.

Fine Borgs Mora wool, doubled, on the shuttle forms the background rosepath cloth for rya knots. The knots stay on the front of the cloth, leaving the back of the cloth flat.

Certainly, we do aim for quality in our woven creations. Being intentional, that mindset works like an operating system. Everything from choosing materials to practicing for improvement reflects that foundational mindset. We can decide on an operating system for our lives, too.

You are gifted. Maybe your talent is design, or efficiency of motion, or color expression. You have other gifts, too, that spill into your relationships, such as problem solving, leading, or serving. Choose love as your operating system. When your gifts operate out of love, your gifts are not wasted. The fabric of relationships in your life will reflect the strength and grace of your operating system.

May your fabric quality be stunning!

With love,
Karen

8 Comments

  • bea says:

    Karen, “choose love as an operation system” is a fantastic motto! It sounds great and I love the idea 🙂

  • Karen says:

    Alicja and Bea, thanks for giving your thoughts!

  • Joanna says:

    This is so beautiful. I have the yarns and knotting pattern for a Finnish Ryijy kit from SO-VE-LA that would have come with a pre-woven backing. I want to weave a prettier backing than plain white cotton so finding this post was Heaven sent! Thanks for putting it up. Jo

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jo,

      How fun to have a Finnish Ryijy kit! I’m thrilled to hear that this post fit into your plans. I know your project will be lovely!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Karen, please could I ask what warp you’ve used and the sett? I’ve been browsing through your posts and not only admire your weaving expertise but also the calm and well-stated theological observations. Jo

    • Karen says:

      Jo,
      The warp is 20/2 Borgs cotton, bleached. The Bora wool weft is used doubled.

      The sett is 14 ends, doubled, per centimeter (28 epc). I am using a metric reed that is 70/10 cm, with 2 ends per heddle, and 4 ends per dent. Warp width is 29 cm.

      The imperial equivalent to a 70/10 cm reed would be about 17 1/2 dents per inch, which doesn’t exist, of course. I would go up to a 20 dent, rather than down to a 15 dent reed. The sett would be approximately 70 epi (If I’m doing the math correctly).

      You can find the draft for this rya piece in “The Big Book of Weaving,” by Laila Lundell, p. 124, called “A Boa with Rya Knots.” (I don’t have a use for such a boa, especially in Houston, so I’m making decorative pillows instead.)

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m always happy when someone gains more than weaving insights when they visit my “virtual” studio.

      Hope that helps!
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Thanks a million, or should I say ‘Tack en miljon!’

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Stop Threading Heddles the Boring Way

Practice makes perfect. Do you believe that? If that were true, wouldn’t some of us be perfect by now? Threading heddles is a repetitive activity, but intentional awareness makes it a thoughtful learning experience instead of boring repetition. This deliberate thinking produces the kind of practice that brings improvement. You mentally zoom in to see what it takes to become efficient and effective. Like practicing a musical instrument, you constantly consider how to produce the best sound (fabric) from this instrument (loom).

Heddles threaded with doubled threads of 20/2 cotton.

Heddles, threaded with two 20/2 cotton threads each, stand ready on four shafts, like orchestra members tuning up while waiting for the conductor to come to the podium.

I learned to thread heddles from Leigh, and then from Joanne, and then from Becky. They each have their own approach. Their methods vary, but what they teach in common is accuracy, efficiency, and enjoyment of the process. When I thread heddles, the wealth of experience from these teachers benefits me, even as I find my own style emerging. They taught me awareness, problem-solving, and enjoyment of learning. What a gift!

Learn from the best, and then practice what you learn. Gain foundational truth. Walking in the truth is the best way to give back to your teachers. In your quest for truth, practice what you learn.

May your practice make perfect sense.

Still learning,
Karen

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Look Behind the Knee Beam

As the cloth cascades over the knee beam, let’s take a sneak peek at the other side. Crouching below the warp behind the shafts, we see the mechanics of weaving. When I sit on my loom bench at the front of the loom, throwing the shuttle, it feels like magic. Thread by thread, fabric just appears. Under the loom you can see it is not magic. It is heddles on shafts, shafts connected to lamms, lamms tied to treadles. It is a system that works behind the scenes while you sit in front and weave. Sometimes we put our trust in what we see out front, neglecting to consider what goes on behind the scenes.

Cotton handtowels on the loom. View from back of loom under the warp.

Red cutting line between towels is seen just to the left of the upper lamms. There are no floats on this back side of the cloth, though the front has warp floats as part of the pattern.

Cut ends of the heddles are in focus, viewed from back of loom under the warp.

Cut ends of the heddles are in focus. The heddles, carrying warp threads, hang on shafts that are just above the camera view.

When I finish a weaving project, I untie and disconnect everything so the loom is ready for the next project. The warp has a purpose while it is on the loom, but when it’s over, it’s over.

Beware of putting your trust in human heroes. Keep in mind that your human heroe’s plans will last only as long as their life. When it’s over, it’s over. Do not put your trust in a person, a leader, a superstar, a human hero, to save the world. Put your trust in the grand weaver who holds the system in his hands.

May you encounter trust-worthiness.

(To see the warp floats on the front of the cloth, click HERE.)

Yours Truly,
Karen

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What Difference Does the Weft Color Make?

Does the weft color influence the cloth as it intersects the warp threads? Of course! The distinctive textural quality of this 3-shaft twill with warp floats is enhanced by the colors. In this case, the weft follows the same arrangement as the colors across the warp, making an interesting plaid. What does your influence look like?

3-shaft twill with weft floats. Hand towels. Karen Isenhower

Weft colors coincide with warp colors to create a plaid design. The pattern in the weave structure appears to change according to the weft colors and the angle of view.

Before weaving, the untouched warp colors look well-defined and clean. Introducing the weft, however, changes everything. How can you predict how the weft colors will interact with the warp? Hold tubes of thread next to each other, or wrap different colors on an index card, or even combine threads by twisting them together in your hand. Yet, when the threads become enmeshed in woven cloth, as weft interlaces warp, a new color is revealed.

You and I have strategic influence. How we choose to use that influence makes a difference. As you intersect with people, you bring a unique thread into the picture. The results may be surprising at times, not what others expect. But you are the only you. You have a creator-given purpose. Let your influence make a positive difference. Who knows whether you have not come to these present circumstances for such a time as this?

May you be an influence for good.

(To follow the color planning and sampling for these towels, click HERE and HERE.)

You are loved,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Your message resonates, especially after a tough week. Thank you for this.. And the towels? The colors, texture and pattern are just lovely. One of these days I’ll get my towels hemmed and put them into service!

  • Karen says:

    Oh Laurie, I hope your next week will be better. If there is any way this little message helped lift you up, I’m glad!

    The nice thing about weaving towels is they are so functional. You can dry your hands on beautiful threads. I like that. Yes, hem those towels. I’d love to see them. If you email a picture to me, I can post it. karen (at) warpedforgood (dot) com.

    All the best,
    Karen

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