Q and A with Joanne Hall and Drawloom Dressing

You will be happy to hear that my drawloom is all dressed and set up. And it works! Every glide of the shuttle reveals exceptional magic in the cloth. Even better than I had hoped.

Drawloom pattern heddles. Sorting into units.
Pattern heddles are long, with a normal 1/2-inch eye. Breast beam is used for sorting pattern heddles into units and then adding a 2-lb weight (lingo) to each unit. In this case, four heddles make one unit.
Separating pattern units onto pattern shafts on the drawloom.
Inkle band from my “band stash” helps me separate pattern units that will be placed onto a pattern shaft.

I had a few nervous moments while dressing this expansive loom, struggling with the pattern shafts. I learned the hard way that attempting a shortcut can mean taking much longer to complete the task. But, in the end, everything straightened out. Whew!

Small mishap when setting up the drawloom. But all is well now.
Oops. I successfully distributed pattern units onto one pattern shaft, moving it onto the pattern shaft holders. So, I thought, Why not do two shafts at a time? Uh oh. Not a wise move for a beginner like me.
Drawloom with ten pattern shafts, plus one extra shaft.
Ten pattern shafts, plus one extra shaft for selvedge threads. After fixing my little mishap, I took my time to finish transferring pattern units to the pattern shafts.
First project on my new drawloom. Pattern from Väv 1/2011.
Drawloom’s first project is mostly practice and samplers. This pattern is taken from Learn Damask in a Day, by Tina Ignell in VävMagasinet, January, 2011, pgs. 40-41.
Eight-pointed star with diamonds. Pattern from "Drawloom Weaving," by Joanne Hall.
Eight-pointed star is seen often in traditional patterns. This eight-pointed star with diamonds is found in Drawloom Weaving, by Joanne Hall, p. 12. I created the border design at the loom.
Drawloom weaving.
Light catches the warp threads in the 4-shaft broken twill as the cloth goes around the breast beam.

May your struggles turn into triumphs.

Your friend,
Karen

~What are your questions? Joanne has answers~

Janet, who is interested in drawloom weaving, asks these questions.
Joanne Hall provides the answers.

Q: I am trying to determine where to put a drawloom. How much floor space does a drawloom take? And how much additional area will I need around the loom?

A: These are good questions. Many weavers think about these things when they become interested in getting a drawloom.

Glimakra Standard with Myrehed drawloom.
Glimåkra 120cm Standard, with Myrehed drawloom. Photo from Drawloom Weaving, by Joanne Hall.

Width –
For either the 100cm, 39.5-inch Ideal or the 100cm Standard, the width of the loom is 4 1/2 feet. Part of this is the ratchet wheel that sticks out 5 inches from the loom frame. The 120cm, 47-inch loom would be 8 inches wider.

Length with the loom extension –
Without considering space for the bench, the depth is 7 1/2 feet. The Ideal loom will have the same depth as the Standard loom. The Standard loom can be set out another 1 1/2 feet further, which may be nice if one wants to have 50 pattern shafts.

One occasionally needs to stand on the left side of the loom during warping. You need to stand at the back of the loom and walk along the right side the loom to move the ratchet wheels. When beaming the warp, it is good to have two or three feet of space either at the front or the back of the loom. During warping, you will need space at one side of the loom to move the pattern shafts and warping sticks in and out of the loom.

So, you need about 6 – 7 feet by 12 feet, but some get by with a few inches less.

Q: Can any Ideal or Standard loom be converted to a drawloom? What are the “must haves” to look for in a used loom that will be set up as a drawloom?

Joanne Hall at her single unit drawloom.
Joanne Hall at the 100cm Ideal loom with single unit drawloom. (The drawloom extension is no longer made for the Ideal loom.) Photo from Drawloom Weaving, by Joanne Hall.

A: I frequently hear from weavers who send me photos of a loom and drawloom that they have found online. They want to know if $3800 is a good price for it. Often it is 40 years old and is being sold by the grandson, who cannot answer your questions.

If you are hoping to save a little by finding a used loom, it is best to purchase a used Glimakra Standard loom of any width and any age and then purchase the drawloom new. That way, you can get help when you need it. Plus, the Myrehed drawlooms have advantages over the older-style drawlooms.

I love my Myrehed drawlooms and once you try it, you will find that it is not so mysterious, but instead, a lot of fun to weave on.

Happy Weaving,
Joanne

12 Comments

  • Amazing. Love the blue on the 8 pointed star pattern.
    What an elegant system.
    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Elegant is a good word for this system. The other side of the fabric is the exact opposite in warp-faced and weft-faced, reversing the colors. So the back of the 8-pointed star is just as pretty as the front.

      Happy day,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    You are so amazing, Karen! The patience and intelligence required to learn this system leaves me in awe. And, of course, the weaving skills you possess! I am so happy for you that this dream has come true. Your samples are gorgeous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, There are a few more steps in setting up a drawloom, but it’s really not complicated. It helps that I’ve had a top-notch teacher!

      I’m going to have fun with all the possibilities on this loom!

      Happily,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Absolutely beautiful, you’ll have so much fun on this one!
    You are a prime example of how far devotion and perseverance can take us, you truly inspire!

    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I’m having a great time with this. Perseverance doesn’t seem hard when it’s something you really want to accomplish.

      Thank you, friend,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for this.

  • Janet says:

    Karen, your first project looks fantastic! Way to get started on the right foot with a fantastic and patient teacher!! Thank you getting the questions to Joanne, very helpful!
    Janet

  • Anne says:

    Karen,
    I have had the good fortune to acquire a drawloom. It is an 8 shaft with 50 pattern shafts and was in pieces when I first saw it. I have two books which refer to draw looms but I have never seen one set up. I have managed to get it put together and I am now looking for resources so I can learn how to use it. That is where I hope you will be able to help me.

    Any suggestions you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

    The two books I have are The Big Book of Weaving for the CM parts and Damask and Oppamta with Weaving Sword or Drawloom.

    Thanking you in advance.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anne, You are fortunate, indeed, to have acquired this treasured loom!

      The best resource I have seen is “Drawloom Weaving; An introduction to warping and weaving on a drawloom,” by Joanne Hall. She tells and shows everything you need to get started. I have not seen anything else that clearly explains setting up the drawloom and weaving on it. I know you can get Joanne’s book through GlimakraUSA.com.

      The Big Book of Weaving is great for learning to dress the CM loom, and Damask and Opphämta has some useful drawloom patterns. I have also found some drawloom patterns in some older Swedish weaving books and in some of the Väv magazines.

      If there is any way you can take a class, that would be great. I learned much in Joanne’s hands-on class in Montana. I know that Vavstuga in Massachusetts also offers a drawloom class, which I’m sure is good, too.

      I’m excited for you!
      Karen

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Drawlooms in Montana

Montana is beautiful, with snow-capped mountains and big-sky sunrises! It’s there that I took Joanne Hall’s fantastic drawloom class last week. My confidence level about setting up and weaving on my drawloom shot up 100 per cent! (And Steve got to experience fishing on the ice with Joanne’s husband Ed!) Please continue all the way to the end of this post to read about submitting a question for Joanne to answer.

Gorgeous Montana mountains by Joanne's weaving studio.
View from Hall Lane, in front of Joanne and Ed’s home.

Cathleen and Deborah and I wove on the shaft drawloom, the single unit drawloom, and the Julia loom set up with half-heddle sticks to weave opphämta. What joy! …even in the challenges of learning new things.

Single unit drawloom weaving.
Single unit drawloom has the capability of weaving imagery, and even words, like “Lost Valley,” the name of our Texas hill country home.
Single unit drawloom in Joanne Hall's weaving studio.
Single unit drawloom in Joanne Hall’s weaving studio.
Half-heddle sticks for weaving opphämta.
Joanne demonstrates how to use half-heddle sticks and shows us some opphämta samples.
Shaft drawloom weaving. 6/2 tuna wool warp and weft.
Pattern has Xs that show where to pull the shaft draw handles. The red dot of a straight pin keeps my place as I follow the rows from bottom to top.
Shaft drawloom in Joanne Hall's studio.
Pulled pattern shaft handles are secured in the hook bar.
Weights hang on the pattern units in the drawloom.
Normally, one two-ounce U-shaped weight hangs on each pattern unit. In this case, with 6/2 Tuna wool, two weights hang on each pattern unit.
Drawloom samplers unrolled! 6/2 tuna wool warp and weft.
Wool yardage and samplers are unrolled and cut off the 120cm Glimåkra Standard loom. Oh, the colors and patterns!

Joanne taught us how to understand patterns and drafts, and how to make our own patterns. And we dressed the drawloom—we threaded pattern heddles and ground heddles, and distributed pattern shafts. Boy, did we students make mistakes! But with quiet Joanne, there is always a way to fix anything that matters. She is a picture of grace.

Distributing pattern heddles on the drawloom.
Deb separates pattern heddles that will be placed on the next pattern shaft.
Pointed threading of pattern heddles on the drawloom.
After undoing some beginner errors, we finally have all the pattern heddles in order (pointed threading) on the eleven pattern shafts.
Weights under the drawloom.
One weight hangs on the long heddles of each six-thread pattern unit.
In the loom together! Karen (me), Cathleen, and Deborah enjoy the expertise and kindness of Joanne.
Eight-pointed star on the shaft drawloom at Joanne Hall's drawloom class.
New 16/2 cotton warp on the shaft drawloom. I emptied a few quills to weave the traditional eight-pointed star pattern. Meanwhile, Joanne watched treadles, lamms, and shafts to fine tune the sheds. Everything is just right!

Striving to look good to other people, we face unwelcome judgment. Striving to please ourselves, we face demands of perfection. But when our heart strives to please the Lord, we receive grace. Our failures fade in importance as our confidence in his faithfulness grows. Know who you are working for. The imperfect images we weave in the cloth are a humble gift of gratitude back our Grand Weaver.

Wool shaft drawloom sampler.
Wool shaft drawloom sampler, at home now in my drawloom studio.
Shaft drawloom sampler from Joanne Hall's drawloom class.
Reverse side of wool sampler was face up on the loom.
Single unit drawloom sampler.
Single unit drawloom sampler. Our Lost Valley home, with details that remind us of our 2018 transition year.
Draw cords and handles are in place on the new drawloom.
Draw cords and handles are in place. Forty more will be added soon.
Shaft drawloom is just about ready for first project!
Shaft drawloom is ready. Single unit drawloom parts will be added later.
Please excuse me now while I go wind a warp!

May your imperfections be greeted with grace.

Love and grace,
Karen

~What are your questions? Joanne has answers~

Are you curious about drawlooms? Are you considering a drawloom for yourself? Do you have a drawloom and wish you could ask an expert for help? Please put your question about drawlooms and/or drawloom weaving in the comments below, or send your question to me through Get in Touch. Joanne Hall’s answers to two selected questions will be included in next week’s post. Please submit your question by this Friday, February 8.

16 Comments

  • Nancy Malcolm says:

    Oh, how lucky you are! I am searching for the loom, then take her class. It seems to be taking forever!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, I know what you mean. I searched for quite a while, too, to find a loom. And then, all of a sudden, at just the right time, there it was! You have a lot to look forward to.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Marilyn Cann says:

    Karen, my brain tingles at all the learning you did last week! The picture of Montana way lovely too, but I added to that my knowledge that it was bitterly cold in that part of the country! Have fun playing with your drawloom when you get set.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marilyn, So much learning! Hopefully, the important parts will stick with me.

      It was cold, but we didn’t get the bitter Artic cold that some places were getting last week. I think they got some of that right after we Texans left. Whew!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    The draw down loom is something I did not know existed. At first glance, confusing. As I continued reading, exciting.

    I look forward to your adventures.

    Blessings,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It has taken me a while to peel off the confusion about drawlooms. I think I’m beginning to understand how they work. I’m super excited to get the whole thing set up!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Shari says:

    Amazing! The complexity and beauty and feeling so empowered to make beautiful textiles.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shari, It seems complex until you start to understand it. It’s really pretty simple—just sticks and strings that do specific things. It opens up a world of beautiful weaving!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    I am so happy you got your drawloom, and that you were able to take Joanne’s class this soon.
    Your weaving journey har been amazing, and it is such a pleasure to be invited into your weaving world through your blog!

    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I feel very fortunate that the timing of everything has worked out so smoothly.

      It’s wonderful to get to share my weaving journey with friends like you!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading your commentary, Karen. Is that your drawloom in the last photos? Have a wonderful time learning and weaving, and thanks for sharing your journey.

  • Janet says:

    I’m so excited to hear about your recent trip, Debbie and I are headed there in April and I can’t wait!!
    Janet

  • Thank you for sharing your experience and photos. Beautiful work. I am heading out there mid April and so looking forward to it. For some unexplainable reason I am so drawn to the big Swedish looms and the drawloom. I have an older Glimakra standard in storage and getting time with kind Joanne and the class I will know if it’s something for me or not. I will likely be less experienced than the other participants and your last paragraph is a reminder to not compare myself or lack of expertise but to enjoy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise, Since you are drawn to the big Swedish looms, I am confident that it will be a great joy for you to weave on them. I’m excited for you! Your class with Joanne will be just what you need! No need to worry about lack of expertise. Just go with an attitude willing to learn. Enjoy!

      (And I know two others in the April class. You’ll be in GREAT company!)

      All the best,
      Karen

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Process Review: Comfy Throw With Fringe

This throw has fringe. It seems appropriate for a homestyle cotton wrap. Fringe says comfortable, casual, and playful. I do not mind the time it takes to twist the threads to make this tactile edging. It’s a satifying close to a worthwhile project. After all, who can resist running their fingers through soft twisted fringes?

Finished handwoven cotton throw.
Knots on the ends of the fringes are trimmed off after washing and drying the throw.

Reminisce with me through the start-to-finish process of making this eight-shaft undulating twill throw for my lovely daughter-in-law Lindsay.

Beaming the warp.
Dressing the Great Room loom.
Heddles are threaded.
Sleying the reed on Glimakra Standard.
Ready to tie on.
Eight shafts.
All tied on.
Testing, testing...
Eight-shaft undulating twill in 8/2 cotton.
Cloth beam is filling!
Weave to the end mark.
Hemstitching at the end of the cotton throw.
Playing with pattern. 8-shaft twill.
End of warp is near.
8-shaft twill. Fun with patterns.
Cutting off!
Getting ready to twist fringe.
Twisting fringe on cotton throw.
Before wet finishing.
After wet-finishing.
Trimming off the knots at the end of fringes.
Finished 8-shaft twill cotton throw. With fringe!

May you have plenty of fringe benefits.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Maria says:

    Really nice- what are the dimensions?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria, Thanks! The hand and drape are just what I was hoping for.

      This had a lot of weft-wise shrinkage. On the loom, 109.3 cm width x 166 cm length (43″ x 65″), not including fringe. Finished piece after wet finishing is 86 cm x 149.5 cm (34″ x 59″). That’s about 21% shrinkage in width and 10% in length. The fringe length before twisting was 20 cm (8″), and finished is 12 cm (4.75″).

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Susan Gruen says:

    Love the colors looks so soft
    How did you wet finish?susan Gruen

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan, The cotton does feel nice and soft, which I like.

      I washed it in cool water on the delicate cycle, and no spin. I used Eucalan wash and included a couple Color Catcher sheets (which both turned dark blue). I squeezed water out of it with a large beach towel and then put it in the dryer on a medium heat setting, along with the beach towel. I pulled it out of the dryer while it was still a little damp.

      I will tell my daughter-in-law that she can throw this in the washer and dryer without worry. It may shrink a little more, and it will be wise to use a Color Catcher for a couple more washes.

      Thanks for asking,
      Karen

  • Marjorie says:

    How big are your tie-on bundles? You are such an inspiration to me! Love your color choices!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marjorie, I am honored that you would consider anything from my hand an inspiration for you!

      I tie on in 1-inch bundles, and 1/2-inch bundles at the selvedges. These small bundles help evenly distribute the ends and make for an easy start to weaving.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nflood says:

    Thank you for your inspiration. Love to see the progress pictures.

  • Laura says:

    Like your threading hook, what brand is it?
    Your throw is beautiful! Thanks for all your inspiration. Where to you find the time?!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, I use the Vavstuga Reed Hook. It fits really well in my hand. You can get it at Vavstuga.com.

      I’m glad you like the throw. I tried wrapping up in it, and I like it, too! 🙂

      Where do I find the time? Haha, I never feel like I spend enough time at the loom. I always wish I had more time for this!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Maggie Ackerman says:

    This really beautiful. I love the colors. I noticed you had 2 knots in your twisted fringe. Could you tell me why?
    Maggie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, You asked a great question!

      I tie a preliminary knot on each group of fringe ends first. I do it for two reasons – 1. It’s easier for the alligator clip of the fringe twister to grasp a small knot than a group of threads. 2. After wet finishing I cut off the knot, which has all the fuzzy ends from going through the washer and dryer. And I’m left with clean-cut ends. I have a video about using the fringe twister that explains it a little more: How to Use a Fringe Twister. It’s part of this post – Quiet Friday: Cotton Scarves. And here’s another post about twisting fringe – Tools Day: Fringe Twister.

      And one happy coincidence – Today, I happen to be wearing the cotton scarf that’s in the video.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Alice says:

    This throw is gorgeous! I love the color and drape. Wow! It looks like the way you tie on to the loom allows you to get started weaving right away.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alice, You make me smile with your enthusiasm!

      Yes, two things make it easy to start weaving the warp right off. 1. Tie small bundles, as mentioned earlier. 2. Tie on a leveling string. This is really the magic. You can read about it in this post – Tools Day: Leveling String .

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Tied On and Tied Up

Our transition to Texas hill country is finalized this week! The looms and I will be residing in the same house again. Let the weaving resume! One loom is dressed and waiting for me. Tied on above, and tied up below. Ready to weave!

The warp is tied on to the front tie-on bar in 1-inch bundles, with 1/2-inch bundles at the selvedges. And then, I add the leveling string which makes it look neat and tidy and READY.

Leveling string flattens and evens out the warp for no-waste weaving.

Warp is tied on to the front tie-on bar. Leveling string flattens and evens out the warp for no-waste weaving.

The upper and lower lamms are positioned, and the treadle cords are added and secured. It’s fascinating how simple and basic the whole system is. And how something this simple and basic can be the framework for boundless creative expression.

Under the warp. Intriguing view.

I sit on the treadle beam when I position the lamms, and then place the treadle cords in their holes. I’m always intrigued by the view of the warp and heddles from this vantage point.

Treadle cords on eight shafts.

Treadle tie-ups don’t frighten me. It all makes sense, and is part of the loom-dressing process that I enjoy.

If we think of prayer as something that gets us out of a crisis, or words to say in order to get what we want from God, we miss the whole point of prayer. And we face disappointment. Prayer always works. The work is not our clever words, nor the checking off of our wish list. Prayer is the framework of deep trust that stands ready for the Lord’s boundless creative expression. We pray because we trust him. Christmas—the birth of Christ—shows us that God always steps in at the right time.

May your framework be sure.

Advent greetings,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Sue Hommel says:

    Beautiful words to awaken to this morning Karen! I’ve recently added a countermarch to my studio, and I believe your blog and joy with your Glimakra helped me in my quest for the right loom to add. I chose the Julia and after some panic at the prospect of having to build it, I just took one step…then the next, and finally, I’m weaving and loving its simplicity and design. Looking forward to see what your new warp will become!

    • Karen says:

      Good morning Sue, How exciting! The simple beauty and functionality of these looms make them a joy to weave on. They also provide a constant learning experience, which is a good thing. There’s always a discovery just ahead!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Susan San Martin says:

    I love my Toika countermarche for the same reason: simplicity, plus an endless opportunity to adjust the loom . It is easy to understand how to fiddle with the sticks after awhile. The loom expresses the deep logic of creation!

  • Anneloes says:

    “Prayer is the framework of deep trust that stands ready for the Lord’s boundless creative expression. ”

    Would you believe that this was the exact thing I’ve been praying over these last few days? Beautifully written.

    Before I started weaving, I thought dressing the loom would be a tiresome process to rush through in order to dtart the REAL weaving. But it turned out to be my most favourite part of weaving, and every bit as real.

    Thank you again for your beautiful words and pictures.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anneloes, I’m constantly amazed at how the Lord ties things together for us!

      I can relate. I was afraid that dressing the loom would be too complicated or difficult to do. What a pleasant surprise to find it so rewarding and not hard at all! It’s a joy.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
      Karen

  • Martha Winters says:

    Hello, Karen,
    I have learned so much about weaving, and how it relates to life, from your blog. Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections so freely and beautifully.
    I would love to know a bit more about the ‘leveling string’ at the start of your warp. I’m not familiar with this and it looks quite useful for evening out the threads from the get-go. Much appreciation for your knowledge and awesome weaving!!

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Two Kinds of Dressing

Before everyone arrives for our Thanksgiving family gathering, I am making pie crust for the pecan pie, dough for my “famous” cranberry bread, and doing the prep to make Gram’s turkey dressing. Each family is bringing their contributions to the meal (feast). Thanksgiving Day is a flurry of activity with too many cooks in the kitchen—just how we like it! And sitting at the table with the feast before us, we give thanks. Thanks to each other, and to our Creator. We are blessed!

Making perfect pecan pie for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving feast prep. It takes two pastry chefs to make the perfect pecan pie.

And before everyone arrives I also manage to sley the reed on the Standard. A different kind of dressing—loom dressing.

Sleying the reed.

Two ends per dent in a 45/10 metric reed.

Sleying the reed.

I sit “inside” the loom on my loom bench to sley the reed.

Next step - tying on!

After the reed is sleyed, I remove the loom bench, lower the shafts, and move the countermarch to the front of the loom. Then, I place the reed in the beater and make sure it is centered. Next step–tying on!

Fresh warp on the back beam. Magical!

Getting dressed. Oh the beauty of a fresh warp going over the back beam! Magical.

A feast for the eyes and hands and heart. Thankful indeed!

May you give thanks,
Karen

8 Comments

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