Monday, July 24, 2023

A Second Helping : 2 ~ The Performers

 This is part 2 of a "Second Helping" where I'm discussing a towel project using the Helping Hands from Lofty Fibers for the Louet Megado loom.  If you haven't already, maybe read part one first. 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

So this is a picture of a nice stack of towels. Eight of them and every one is different. That's the beauty and fun part of a computer-dobby loom.   No getting down to change a tie up.    You can play with different drafts. The constant is your threading. (although you could change that too if you wanted to!)  The tie up will be topped at 16 shafts, but the treadling can be any number.

Let's go one by one from the top down and view the actors.  That is all the look you'll get for now as they have to be washed and hemmed and will be shown fully finished in part 3.

The warp is ring spun cotton, 8/2 and sett 24 epi. The wefts are 8/2 cottons as well. The loom is threaded for a 16 shaft point twill. The top towel was in a pattern I think of as 'leaves'. Could be dragon scales.....what ever comes to your mind.  As you can see it uses something like 54 treadles!   You can find this draft ( and most of the rest) at and their corresponding numbers are shown for you. is a wonderful resource of over 75,000 + drafts for weavers and any number of shafts. They ask a subscription fee but it's worth every penny!   They are constantly adding new draft collections.... and you can even add your own too.


Towels two is an old friend I call Pandora's Boxes as the first time I wove it was during the early part of the Covid Pandemic.  It's a satin weave.    

The third is one I have also woven before, but that time as a scarf.  I call it Stars and Flowers.

Number four is one I call 'interlocking diamonds' and the light lime green was perhaps not the best colour to show the pattern. Its lovely anyhow.

Towel five was another favourite from the last time I did a variety of towels like this. I think of it as 'chevroned diamonds'.

Now we come to towel six and I have no identifying number to give you!   It came from and was originally threaded as a straight draw as shown below on the right . I played with it to see what it would look like as a point twill.... and 'zig zag trees' came to be.  Its visually striking  and you can invent your own name for this turned twill. 

No # (yet! 😊)

Towels seven and eight:  well, I had woven some old drafts I have woven before and I wanted to try something new.  I found this draft below.  See the point twill right at the start?  Now run your eye down the treadling row and see the pattern created by that one 16 end point twill.


This modified draft below will help to visualize it better. I've added a total of three point twills and created a separation from the main draft.    So I'm using the tie up as shown, and also treadling as shown. The threading is the existing 16 shaft point twill.  This created the bottom towel number eight.

#56518 -modified 1

There is a lovely little zig zag that looks like flowers and ivy where there is a treadling run of 1 to 16.   This repeated sequence became towel number 7.   (Yes I have reversed the towel  order, but doing it this way makes it easier to show you.)   You can play with any draft like this and that's the beauty of weaving programs. I'm using Fiberworks Silver + . I have sometimes put a warp on and then found I didn't like it, so the program comes to the rescue.

#56518- modified 2

So those are the Performers and now they are waiting for my out of town company to depart on the 31st and them hemming can begin.    Then it will be 'lights and camera' time.....  See you again in August!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

A Second Helping: Megado Version

This post is also about Helping Hands, but this time for the Louet Megado loom, and again, the post will be in two, possibly three parts.  1.) the Helping Hands set up and use.  2.)  Point twill drafts used and the various tweaks, and 3.) show and tell of the finished towels.     There may be other posts in between as I work through projects on my Spring. 

Click on the picture to enlarge.

This is an 8 yard (possibly closer to 9 yards) warp. I seem to have lost my notes right now.  Its 8/2 cotton in natural and I bought it from a Quebec based yarn store at Etsy, which appears to be dormant now.  It was a nice chunky 3 pound cone of 8/2 ring spun cotton. It appears to be a bit over twisted and so wants to curl up if not under tension. Consequently, it was a bit of a bear to beam but with my husband's help we fought through it.   Now that it's in place and being woven up, I have to say that its lovely and  it was worth the battle.   It does produce extra lint though.

I have attached the Helping Hands to the top of the Megado castle and it's important to use the little "T" widgets in the raddle slot to keep the parts in place and not sliding off and away.  It would seem my raddle is a tad bit long so I had to be careful where I placed them. The loom is a 2001 model and so not the same size as the more modern versions. This caused issues later as you will read.

After setting the warp up on the lease sticks I attached a metal rod through the bottom loops of the warp and drew it downwards to the apron rod. Then you use circular loops of texsolv with straight pegs to close them, and hold the two rods equal distance apart of 1-2 inches.  I have extra texsolv cord and pegs from a past loom so I could make up more up for a wider warp.   Then you lace the metal rod to the apron rod.  Note the security cord around the raddle to keep the threads in place there. 

Another similar view...

Then, here's the view from the front, where I have weights hanging to keep threads  behaving. 

Beaming is under way and I always like this part and the smoothness of the threads.  Hubby assisted me and we took our time as the threads wanted to 'halo' and hold hands, snarl and tangle a bit due to over twist and generally be cranky.   We got through it all with no broken threads which is a miracle!

Then it was time to move the lease sticks and snap the end brackets into the lower parts for threading and that's when I discovered an issue....

It would appear my 2001 model lease sticks are a bit long, but not by much! I was unable to place the pegs into the holes and so had to improvise with some painters tape to hold them.  Hub is going to take off about a 1/4 inch to the end of the original holes, smooth, and then drill new holes.  We're going to try one end of both sticks for now and see how the next warp beaming goes.   There was some flexibility in the parts near the raddle above but not in the lower portion.

Now, these two green 3D printed brackets are from Gingerlocks Handwovens and came too late to use when I tried their 3D brackets to beam the last warp. They attach to the front of the castle and you use them to support the beater  and hold it up out of your way for threading!  *check Gingerlocks out as they have other nifty  Megado tools as well*

As you can see from the of pictures below, it works quite nicely and I'm happy with them.  I don't have the room to physically swing the beater up and out of the loom and then fight to get it back in place. This is so much simpler.     The Helping Hands bracket holds the lease sticks at just the right height ( and there are adjustable texsolv cords to allow for some movement up or down)

The threading is a 16 shaft point twill. So a series of runs up and down, over and over again.   I still mark my progress on a threading guide and shift my mini post it notes and  slip knot each grouping. Its a slow process as the shafts are set close together, and I always live in hope that if I'm methodical enough in my approach and do a quick double check as I go, I won't have any threading errors later to deal with. (Happily, it worked this time to jump ahead in the story)

Threading all done and here I have lowered the beater bar back into position and then used soft tie cords to hold it upright and centered. Note how the ends of the warp bouts have curled around on themselves.   

Then sleying the reed starts, and in the case, 2 ends per dent in my 12 dent reed.  I have taken my total number of ends, divided by the epi of 24 for the total project width. Then I divide that by 2 for the half width. That gives me the start point from the centre. This took time as well as the threads still curled up on each other and I had to extract each one as I went along.

Here's a view taken over the top of the beater to see the sorting of warp ends for sleying.  With a 16 shaft point twill, it's a relatively easy time of sorting two ends per run and then using the threading hook to nab the groups.   I take my time and keep them well sorted. No crossed ends !

So, that leaves us about to tie on and start weaving..... but what are we going to weave?   
That's for next time. 😁

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Helping Hands 3: Conclusion

So... to refresh our collective minds: This is the project where I was using my new Helping Hands to beam a warp and then thread on my Louet Spring loom. (Please read part 1 and part 2 if you haven't already.)  I must say that in spite of my newbie mistake of clipping the lease sticks in the wrong spots with the pegs, it all went smoothly after that. I'm sure it will get easier with each new warp and become a valued addition to the 'tool kit'.

I bought a set of the Helping Hands for the Megado loom too and will report on that experience at a later post.

So this third post is to conclude what happened with the warp that I beamed onto the Spring using the Helping Hands.    

I had an interesting 10 shaft crackle diamond draft # 13414 from and when I started to weave, I decided very quickly that I did not like it at all. The weft floats were all raised up like an old chenille bedspread and it was very "not me" at all.    It also had a threading error mid way to condemn it further. I had been so slow and careful threading too, and so I took it personal.   πŸ₯Ί

So UN wove and removed it, reinstalled my lease sticks (for which the Helping Hands holder was  quite perfect really)  and pulled back the warp and was ready to start all over again.    EXCEPT the tie up.  That's the big part I really didn't want to do all over again.

So I went in search of a 10 shaft draft that looked good with the old tie up left in place.   I found this:

The new threading is draft # 13889, and actually the tie up for this draft and the old one were very similar. I also went stash diving and found a pretty lace weight / 20/2  silk alpaca yarn that is soft and has soft muted mix of colours and it seems to go very nicely with the navy 8/2 tencel. The yarn has a bit of loft to it.    It's a large over all pattern that up close is actually hard to see, but pops out when you step back. It's also a very long repeat of 238 or 7 1/2 inches of weaving. So no phone calls please, and don't talk to me unless you are on fire! πŸ”₯

As I have mentioned before, I use the automatic settings on my DSLR camera and so not that smart when it comes to adjusting settings to compensate for shade or strong sunlight.   So I took pictures in sun and shade and hope that the overall scarf comes through.    Shade shows the truer colours and the bigger pattern is revealed above but the close up below shows a more diffuse patterning.    The 70% silk / 30% alpaca makes for a lovely soft hand.

Then in the sunshine, you can see the sheen of the yarns, although it doesn't do the colours justice.

Now, I had wound pirns of magenta tencel to do the other draft that I disliked and so decided to use them for the second scarf. I've used magenta and navy before with great results so I hoped to do so again.   So these two shots are the sunshine version:

Then the shade:  The colours are richer, the sheen more evident.

The Spring has been reloaded and then next four warps (two  on the Spring, and two on the Megado) are all about kitchen towels.  Lots of them.    I'm busy setting things up and winding warps.   I'm also enjoying our summer and spinning outside.


Happy Canada Day!  

Happy 4th of July!