Perfect Warp Tension?

Two fingers gently test the resistance of the threads, from the center of the warp, moving outwards to the right, and to the left. This is how I evaluate the warp tension. I don’t rush; and I give the effort all my attention. Weft rep, where the ground weft almost completely covers the warp, is especially susceptible to hills and valleys from uneven warp tension. After I have made several tension adjustments, I tie on the leveling string. Next is tying up lamms and treadles, and winding quills. Then, the joy of weaving this monksbelt begins!

Cotton warp with leveling string, getting ready to weave monksbelt!

Leveling string is in place across the beginning of the warp. Lamms, which can be seen below the warp, are tied up next. And then, the treadles are tied up. After that, weaving begins!

The ability to feel unevenness in warp tension is a learned practice. Being attentive is half the battle; and patience is the other half. Taking time on the front end reduces correction time after weaving has begun.

Sampling at the beginning of monksbelt project. 16/2 cotton and 6/1 Fårö wool.

Classic Swedish weave, monksbelt, is woven here with 6/1 Fårö wool for the pattern weft, over 16/2 cotton for the weft rep ground weave. Sampling has begun!

Skilled listening is a learned practice, too. Listening is more than hearing, isn’t it? Pay attention to how you listen. It matters. It takes a gentle touch to listen with a heart of understanding. When we listen with an unbending heart, we only hear what we want to hear. Patience on the front end results in fewer corrections later.

May you hear and be heard.

Gently,
Karen

2 Comments

  • linda says:

    Hi Karen: My , at the time 6yo, daughter asked me one day to listen to her with my eyes. I was unpacking her backpack and really not listening to the telling of the days events. She was right. giving her my Full attention right then was most important. Weaving teaches patience and really seeing not just the over all finished product, but the tiny one thread flaws that must be corrected to make the whole right. Again your method is new to me and fascinating to see, thanks for doing this. linda

    • Karen says:

      What a sweet story with great insight. Children teach us so many things! I’m glad that weaving teaches patience, because for most of us, that doesn’t come naturally.

      Love,
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Warping Back to Front with Confidence

“Put on many short warps.” This was the best piece of advice I received as a new weaver! Repeated practice of the back-to-front warping steps accelerated my confidence at the loom. If I can get it on the loom, surely I can weave it, right? When you are comfortable dressing the loom, you start feeling like a “real” handweaver. And before you know it, you are planning, designing, and weaving. And having the time of your life!

Tips for Preparing the Warp for Beaming

  • Wind the warp with two (or more) threads, separated by your fingers to keep them from twisting. This virtually eliminates tangles during the warping process.
  • Wind multiple bouts, when needed. The rule of thumb I use is to stay under 200 ends or 10 inches. Smaller bouts equalize the tension across the width of the warp.
  • Tie tight choke ties about every yard or meter along the warp before chaining it. This keeps the warp ends from shifting.
  • Keep the warp under constant, even tension. Threads can get into trouble if you let them relax.

Warping Back to Front

1 Lay warp chains across the breast beam, and through the beater, with the lease cross of each warp chain on the other side of the beater.

Warp chains ready for warping the loom back to front.

2 Raise the shafts out of the way, and place support sticks over the beater and the back beam to hold the lease sticks and the pre-sley reed. Thread the lease sticks through the cross of each chain. Lease sticks in the picture are being tied together.

Tying lease sticks during warping process. B2F warping explained.

3 Use tape measure and reed hook to mark the starting dent for pre-sleying the reed.

Pre-sleying the reed in back to front warping.

4 Divide warp into sections corresponding to the cords on the back tie-on bar. Insert the tie-on bar through the loops that form at the end of the warp.

Insert tie-on bar while warping back to front.

5 Install the warping trapeze at the front of the loom, or use another method to extend the warp and weight it. Texsolv cord is connected to the end of each warp chain to extend the length. (This is a 3.5 meter warp–not long enough to go over the trapeze cross bar.) Weights are suspended from the texsolv cords with S-hooks.

Adjusting the warp on the warping trapeze.

6 Transfer the lease sticks from in front of the reed to behind the reed. This is a gutsy way of transferring lease sticks. (Please don’t try this method unless you read about it first in Becky Ashenden’s book, noted below.)

Transferring lease sticks like this takes guts!

7 Straighten out each warp end from the reed to the back tie-on bar.

Winding on a new warp. Back to front warping pics.

8 Place the reed in the beater. Center the reed in the beater.

Placing the reed in the beater.

9 Remove choke ties between the beater and the trapeze cross bar, but do not remove choke ties from the very end of the warp. Starting at the reed, separate each warp bout in the middle.

Warping trapeze in use for warping Glimakra Standard.

10 After sliding lease sticks toward the reed, wind the warp onto the beam. Place a warping slat on each flat side of the warp beam for one revolution. (Octagonal beam uses eight sticks.) Advance weight at the front of the loom as needed. After two additional revolutions of the beam, add warping slats for one revolution again. Continue this pattern as beaming progresses.

Warping slats during beaming. Beaming tutorial.

11 Tie beater back to allow a little more warp to be wound on.

Finishing up beaming the warp.

12 Tie lease sticks to the back beam. Do not forget this step!

Tie the lease sticks to the back beam before cutting the ends.

If you missed step 12, do it now, or you will be yelling for help as you try to hold the cut ends with one hand while trying to keep the lease sticks from slipping out with your other hand. I speak from experience.

13 Loop the end of the warp chain around your hand, and then remove the remaining choke ties. Cut the loop.

Cutting ends after beaming the warp.

14 Remove a group of warp threads from the reed and tie in a loose slipknot. Continue across the warp. Remove the reed.

New warp of 16/2 cotton for monksbelt on weft rep.

15 Use the threading draft to count the warp ends into threading groups, tying each grouping with a slipknot.

Grouping warp ends before threading.

16 Adjust the loom for threading. For this Glimåkra Standard loom, I move the countermarch assembly to the back of the loom, put the bench in the “playhouse,” and lower the shafts for threading.

Bench "in" the loom for threading. Glimakra Standard.

For more thorough instructions about warping your loom, please consult these excellent resources:

  • Dress Your Loom The Vävstuga Way, A Bench-Side Photo Guide, by Becky Ashenden
  • Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall
  • The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell

May you find yourself beaming, inside and out.

Resurrection blessings,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    Wow, thar’s amazing. Pre-sleying the reed from within the loom with it horizontal, is a wonderful idea. I’ve been carrying my chained warps to the dining room table, weighting with brick and sleying with the reed supported in an upright position. It works, but your method is much, much kinder to both warp and weaver. Thanks for a another good tutorial.

    May your Easter Sunday be brightened by the assurance our Lord is truly Risen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna,

      I learned this pre-sleying method at Vavstuga. It makes so much sense!

      Thank you for the wonderful Easter greeting. And may the risen Lord fill you with all joy in believing.
      Karen

  • Hugh S. Myers says:

    An excellent tutorial indeed!! The only thing that occurs to me is that you could eliminate the flat ‘warp’ sticks on the warp beam with a pair of flanges set to the correct width. I took the necessary leap of faith when I started using mine on my AVL…while I did miss the clatter when each stick rolled off, I did not miss the unnecessary step in the process. Just a thought…

    • Karen says:

      Hugh, Thanks for your input! Very interesting! I have only heard of using flanges, but have never actually seen them being used. It’s good to hear of your positive experience.
      I need to do a little research…

      Karen

  • linda says:

    Hi Karen. I did leave a note before, but somehow I didn’t post it. Your back to front is beautiful to see. I’m the front to back girl have been for 30+ years. I’ll tell you about it some time, Beckey knows how it’s done she managed to do it Jeanettas way for 4 years even tho’ she’d sneak in her way now and then. Have a great day, PL&J, linda

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Another Classic Swedish Weave

Monksbelt is up next, another classic Swedish weave. I’m thrilled! This time I am weaving yardage, without knowing exactly how the fabric will be used. I planned this project while the rya rag rug was still on the loom; and I’m eager to get started!

Winding warp on Glimåkra warping reel.

Glimåkra warping reel not only accelerates the warpwinding process, it makes it downright fun! This is the first of four bouts of unbleached 16/2 cotton. 760 warp ends in all.

Winding the warp is a rewarding part of the process. When I wind a warp, it goes directly to a ready-and-waiting loom. So, this is a declaration of a new beginning. It is also the anticipation of future rewards. The final reward is long-lasting–a useful length of colorful handwoven fabric.

Look for rewards that will last. We get side-tracked if we look only for immediate satisfaction, or short-term success. The long view brings perspective that cannot be seen in quick snapshots. I don’t have to know exactly how things will look in the future. I can enjoy the stage of the process I am in right now. Ultimately, though, I await the finished cloth. Keeping that reward in mind brings purpose to each step along the way. The eternal reward that heaven holds for us fills each season here with meaning.

May you enjoy many rewarding experiences.

On purpose,
Karen

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Rickrack Rag Rug Hemming Video

Hemming a rag rug may be easier than you think. I have used my classic Bernina sewing machine to hem rag rugs; but now, I hem many of them by hand. It’s easier and faster than I once thought. I plan the rug’s hem into the weaving, using half-width fabric strips for the hem area, and end it off with 1 cm of a warp thread heading. After cutting off the rug, I secure and trim the warp ends. There’s only one thing left to do. Hem the rug! (Start with Tools Day: Rag Rug Finishing Video if you haven’t seen it yet.)

Weaving the hem on a rag rug. Video about hemming.

Hem is woven with fabric strips, doubled, cut 1 cm wide. This rug has a 6 cm hem, plus the warp thread heading, that will be folded under and stitched.

Tools and supplies

  • Steam iron
  • Long straight pins
  • Rug warp to match the rug (mine is Bockens 12/6 cotton seine twine)
  • Blunt tapestry needle

Rickrack rag rug. Video tutorial about hemming rag rugs.

Kitchen mat is embellished with woven thin stripes that give the impression of rickrack. It makes me think of rickrack-trimmed dresses my mother made for me when I was a little girl. (See Simplest Rag Rug Stripe to learn how the rickrack stripes are made.)

May you enjoy the work of your hands.

Happy hemming,
Karen

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Simplest Rag Rug Stripe

An isolated thin weft stripe makes a bold statement. One simple technique greatly improves the efficiency of weaving such a stripe in a rag rug. This method eliminates the need to weave weft tails in at the beginning and end of the stripe. So, besides being efficient, the selvedges look better too.

How to Weave a Thin Weft Stripe (Two Picks)

1 Weave up to the stripe placement. No need to end the weft if the same weft will continue after the thin stripe.

Rag rug on loom. How to make thin stripes.

2 Place the first pick of the stripe in the shed, leaving a long tail of about 6 inches / 15 cm, or more.

How to make thin weft stripe in rag rug. Step by step pics.

3 Beat in the first pick of the stripe.

Making thin stripe in rag rug. How to.

4 Change sheds. Lay the long tail into the new shed.

Making thin stripe in rag rug. How to.

5 Send the shuttle across for the second pick, catching the previous weft to carry it up the selvedge.

Make a thin stripe in a rag rug. How to and pics.

6 As the weft goes across for the second pick, bring the shuttle all the way out.

Second pick of thin stripe. Explanation and pics.

7 Pull enough of the second pick through the warp to cut a tapered edge that will overlap the tapered edge of the long tail.

How to make thin stripe in rag rug.

8 Overlap the two tapered fabric strips in the shed.

Overlap in the shed. Rag rug instructions.

9 Beat in the second pick of the stripe.

Rag rug thin stripe.

10 Continue weaving with the previous weft that was carried up the selvedge.

Rag rug on the loom. Thin stripe tutorial.

If you’re like me, you are always on the lookout for ways to enhance weaving efficiency. One little tip can improve the whole weaving experience. When you know there is so much more to learn, and you are hungry to learn, every morsel of insight is delectable.

Has your soul ever felt hungry? Mine has. The Lord is ready to fill the hungry soul with good. He fills the empty. He satisfies the hungry, meeting the deepest need. One sweet morsel leads to another, inviting us to keep coming back. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

May you be hungry for good things.

Satisfied,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    What a clever idea! Thanks so much for sharing. Too bad I can’t put a rug warp on today and cement this idea in my brain. Blessings.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, this technique works equally well with thread or yarn for any two-pick stripe. I’ve done it this way for thin weft stripes in towels and throws, too. So, go ahead and try it out on your next project!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    That’s a great technique! And as I am weaving rag runner/placemats I will try it. I see I need to read more of your blog, but a quick question – is your threading 11223344 – and if so, is the reason for the pattern or something else? I generally do just a tabby.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie, I’m glad you have a project going that you can try this with.

      The threading is 1234, with 2 ends per heddle and 2 ends per dent. Technically, it is supposed to be weft rep, but I was not able to completely cover my warp, as true weft rep should be. But the weft rep effect is what makes the rickrack zigzag more prominent than it would be with just tabby. Most weft-faced weaving will produce a wavy line with 2 picks, as in tapestry weaving.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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