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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