Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Notice anything different here?

There are no sectional rakes on the back beam. I decided it was time to try something new on Emmatrude.. to up my game! I love the evenly tensioned warps and effective method of beaming them on my Louet Spring 'Lilibet', so I wanted to see if I could transfer those steps to my Swedish style big gal. She doesn't have a built in raddle so I dug out the raddle that came with the loom (and never used!) First up was to wind the warp. It's 2/10 mercerized cotton, sett 28 epi for twill. (I'll discuss the draft later.) The warp is 9.5 yards long and I'm looking for a nice big mess of tea towels from it! As much as I weave towels here, they seem to leave as fast as I make them! There are 650 ends in this warp. This type of warping needs to have an even number of warp ends as I'll be slipping a rod through the uncut loops of the warp. So if its an uneven number, add one more!

There are four colours, black, white, red and grey, wound in a sequence of 16 ends each, repeated 10 times, with a final stripe of black for a matching border of colour either side. The black borders on either side also have an additional 4 ends. The warp at the top left corner is my smooth continual loops, right beside the cross. I 'crocheted' chained the three warp bouts starting at the bottom and stopped within half a yard from the top... and then prepared to marched it over the loom. BUT...

I had to stop and think things through and how to proceed. What will work here? I lashed the raddle to the top of the back beam. I decided to find the centre point of the beam and then centre of the apron rod. This also included the raddle so all parts will be easier to line up when necessary! I left the top wooden rail of the raddle in place for the time being (it lifts off).

Below I have marked the centre of the metal rod with green tape and marker pen and then using seine cord I tie a support one inch away from the main apron rod. See below.

Then I carefully loop the warp bouts onto the metal rod, being careful to get the colour order right! Tied another support cord on the right hand side. Then I noticed that the whole situation was heavy and wanted to flop down. So I used cords to support the weight of the rods and warp in an upright position.

Pictured below is where I had to tie cords onto the wooden rod and bring up over the back beam/ raddle. The warp went over the top of the raddles and across the tops of the shafts and to the front beam. This support tie would only be needed until the rods were wound onto the warp beam and then can be removed. Okay, that's under control... now what about lease sticks? The best spot for those seemed to be the big open space behind the shafts so I tied the lease sticks into place, using the side supports to secure to. Notice that I tape the ends 'just in case'. You only have to have dropped them once! There are also loops through the cross as well, another back up! The lease sticks can slide to and fro on these cords which is neat. When winding on, if the lease sticks meet a tangle, the sticks move, alerting you to a potential problem.

This is how it looked from the front. There is no reed in the beater and there is a wrap around the front beam to hold things steady. Now I remove the cross loops. That sucker is corralled tight!

I used a piece of thin card board over the raddle tines when I took the rail cap off. Took my warp width and divided by two... and found the right far right slot I needed. I simply leaned forward and counted off 28 ends and dropped into the slot. I worked my way across and then replaced the cap rail. Edit: I then lash the entire length of the warp between the metal bar and the wooden apron rod. I lace every one inch or so and tie off. I started to wind on and so far, all is going well! The rods are now on the back beam, so off come the support ties that held them upright. The paper was slipped in and I balanced my time between slowly turning the warp beam and moving to the front to strum the warp to remove tangles and strongly pull out any slack. Then at the back I pull straight down on the paper to remove slack there as well. So, back and forth for the whole 10 yards. No big tangles, no snapped threads. Things are going great!

Now my attention shifts to the front of the loom and I'm getting ready for threading. But looks at the size of the gap between the lease sticks and the back end of my 12 shafts! That's going to be a big lean in to reach them. I tried to thread about 2 inches and then I decided to make some changes. I went back to my old method of hanging the lease sticks using cords from the upper beams of the castle. It worked well for me so no point discarding what was clearly a better technique.

As you can see, it really moves them in tight and makes it easier on the operator! I'm all in favour of that...

So lets shift our attention to the threading. I have a little system I use. I have my sheet with the threading on the knee beam and I work it into logical groupings. In this case the threading is: 1,2,3,4



It's a simple twill and I was inspired to do some towels after seeing a similar threading in an old Weavers magazine. For this threading, I pulled two heddle groups of 1 to 4, then two sets of heddles 5 to 8 . Then I concentrate on the first four heddles .

I reach through with my sley hook and open up the four ends and slip my fingers through the four ends. Trust me this happens a lot faster that it takes me to write this or you to read it :) Then with the free thumb I move from heddle to heddle, using the thumb to brace the heddle as I slip the hook through and pull the end through. The thread being held under tension means it's easier to snag and deal with. Texsolv heddles do eventually loosen up with use on the loom and they are then easier to shift. I use the side of the reed hook to slide them over and then start on the next group. Once all 16 ends of a colour grouping are done, a quick check and then secure with an over hand slip knot... next!

It was hard to hold the hook in place and take the picture!

Okay, threading done, next came sleying the reed. In this case I'm using an 8 dent reed, sleyed '3, 4' for 28 epi. Once done I divided into smaller groups and then tied to the front apron rod on both sides to support the rod and then worked my way across the warp tying on.

Once all are done, then start on the far right bout and snug each group up tight, complete the knot and **quickly** move the next group and smartly race across the warp! When done, using the palm of your hand roll your hand from LEFT side back to the right, easing up as you roll towards the far right. Do this 2 or 3 times and then stop. Walk away and do something else for 20 minutes. When you come back the warp tension will be even. {no matter how fast you move tying from right to left, the right side will feel 'looser' when you are done. You'll want to tweak the warp endlessly! Jane Stafford demonstrated this on the Louet DVD on warping and this WORKS!} An old post of mine that shows this technique on my Louet loom is here. It will show you the process I'm trying to dupicate on the Woolhouse Tools loom.

Then I went to the back of the loom and pulled my tie up cords. Eight treadles and I selected the centre eight for convenience. Almost there! Should be weaving soon...

Wound some pirns and got my shuttles ready....

Then as I walked by the loom I noticed this.... see below.... oh, crap! I seem to have a hitch in my giddy up.... look at the warp line from the back to the front.... *sigh*

I was so focused on getting details right, that I missed this point entirely. The raddle sat on the top of my *second* back beam. THREE inches higher than the normal beam. In my old method, I would slip the lease sticks through the gap. Below, see the extra height on the back of the warp. I have looked at this several times and I can't see where else the raddle could have gone unless I take the entire second warp beam off the loom and I really don't want to have to do that. So I hung my floating selvedges over the upper beam as well. But in the test piece woven with scrap yarn, I had a hard time finding the floaters to move the shuttle over and under. So I moved them lower to the normal back beam. Much better.

So will this warp weave up okay? Do I have 10 yards of 'heaven or hell' ahead of me? I decided to go and weave on my Louet instead .... but that's 'nuther story!

Back soon.... (tee hee)


Lynnette said...

I'm so anxious to see if this method works on Emmatrude - Ngaire has taken the sectional off her Minerva and has jury rigged a cut off 5 dent reed to sit on top of the shafts for her warping. It works like a dream. I can hardly remember all the 'pre Louet' warp horrors I had! Your post is so well written and concise I had no trouble following your instructions. I know that anyone trying to follow your improvised Louet style warping method will be successful and have a wonderful weave ahead of them. Back to front - the only way to warp!

Life Looms Large said...

I hope you have 10 yards of weaving pleasure ahead of you!! That's pretty much how I warp my Toika too - although I don't have the double back beam to contend with. And I might not be quite as smooth in the heddle department yet. (Oh, yeah, and I tie on in the front instead of lashing....but I've been experimenting with the lashing to see if I can get the hang of it.)

I'm sure you've already got raddle placement ideas. Two ideas I have from my Toika book are:

Put the raddle in the beater (yes - way up toward the front of your loom). My loom came with a raddle that fits right into the beater instead of a reed.

The other idea would be to have two large sticks that go from breast beam to back beam. Then your raddle could be secured at any point along those sticks. That way you could get your raddle at approximately the level of your lower back beam. (Hope that makes sense).

But I really should only take advice from you, not give it.....because you are such an experienced weaver I might just be silly thinking I can help!

Looking forward to watching the progress on the towels! I'm impressed with the action photos you took of yourself!!


Tina J said...

Can you Loosen the warp a little and remove the upper beam?

Susan said...

Thanks for the comments so far.
Lynnette: I'll be sure to keep you posted as to progress! Do you think the second warp beam on the Minerva might get in the way too?

Sue: I could hug you! I never considered placing the raddle in the beater. But thinking it through, it's hard to reach the cross 'behind the shafts' from the front to divide the warp into 1 inch groupings. But this idea is getting the ideas flowing and thinking of alternatives to my set up. Keep 'em coming!

Tina: that's a good idea too, but the second warp beam is set in such a way that the second back beam isn't easily lifted off. You must dismantle the entire second beam assembly and side supports. That must be done with no warp on so it seems I must weave it 'as is' for this warp at least.

Thanks for writing!

charlotte said...

Thank you for a very interresting post! I have never dressed a loom in this way, or seen somebody doing it, thanks for sharing all that information.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Susan, I'm not sure the angle would have created a weaving problem for you. I have kept my raddle in on occasion for weaving (though the angle created was not nearly as steep), and everything wove off just fine.
I use shoe laces (threaded through the end holes)to keep my lease sticks safe. Also raddles don't have to be vertical; my LeClerc raddle I use horizontally on the back beam.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Aaaaah!!! I hope that it is the warp from Heaven;) Thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

I have no clue what half of what I'm looking at is- but I know I'm in complete and utter awe at your ability!

Susan said...

Hi Peg : I suspect things are going to weave off okay but it is becoming apparent that I need to remark my tie up cords. The texsolv has stetched a bit and the 'sweet spots' have now shifted...enough to be a problem when weaving.

Thanks Charlotte: This method is what I normally use on the Louet looms. I wanted to see if this method could be modified to suit the Swedish style loom. Final decision when the warp is done!

Hi Carrie! I'm sure it all looks 'greek' to you but its how I load up the loom to weave things.
I always chuckle when people ask "how long did it take you to make that?" As you see it's not a simple answer!
I'm in awe of your knitting abilities... your nana would have been thrilled. She knit and sewed beautifully and I regret not paying better attention to learning from her when I had the chance. While this post would make sense to a weaver, it is a bit difficult for a non weaver to really relate to! Thanks for trying!