A Clever Loom

I spotted this video while looking at Saori weaving videos earlier. It's an infomercial for a rigid heddle-type of loom made by the Clover (Hana-Ami) Company from Japan. I've seen similar rigid heddle looms where the heddle rotates or rocks and looks like a block of wood. What strikes me the most is the efficiency in warping. The loom has a built-in warping board that keeps the warp in place and under tension. It's simply rolled onto the warp bar after the ends are snipped. I wonder if this type of thing could be adapted to other rigid heddle looms. The board/pegs would need to fit in the frame of the loom and also have enough pegs for a decent length of warp. It makes me think! 


Four O’Clock Pattern, Time to Start Over

After spotting this delightful 1932 article on creating a four-harness design using a two-harness loom, I knew I had to give it a try, and, naturally, I chose the most intricate pattern in the article, Four O'Clock (page 13). The only problem was, I didn't know how to warp it, or what to use to warp it. I didn't know how to sley the pattern. I wasn't at all certain how to read the treadling pattern, or what a treadling pattern was.

So, of course, I closed my eyes and jumped right on in, chosing a black cotton warp of size 10 cotton (Aunt Lydia's). The article used a cotton rug warp, which I think is thicker, but when you're going back to 1932, who knows? I warped about 8" wide on the Kessenich two harness table loom, carefully following the pattern. Instead of a plain weave sleying, where you do a front heddle, a back heddle, a front, a back, etc., this pattern was kind of nutty. You sley about seven front heddles in a row, followed by a bunch of back heddles, and then some front, some back… it eventually repeats only with the back ones swapped to the front and vice versa. It looked mighty odd when I finished, but I was still game. I tied on and started weaving with some scrap acrylic.

It was at that point that I realized I truly didn't understand what it meant to read a draft. It states something like Treadle 1 l., Treadle 2 d., repeat 4 times. So, I wove thinking it meant use the light color once, the dark color twice, and this is what happened:

image from www.flickr.com 
Interesting, but not quite right. I unwove, took another look at the instructions, and had a flash of insight. Treadle 1 meant the front harness. Treadle 2 meant the back harness. So, in fact, it reads that the l (l=light color) goes through when the front harness is up. The dark color follows when the back harness is up. After my little realization, the pattern started coming through, albeit in an exaggerated manner:

image from www.flickr.com 

I need to unweave once again and start over with a smaller gauge of yarn. The point I stopped was only the middle of the first set of "squares," and it should be much more compact. I'll be back with some type of result, good or bad. If it's good, I hope to be able to come up with a way to do this with a rigid heddle loom.

More Two Harness Resources

Spending time in the archives of the handweaving world is an awful lot of fun if you're a bookish person like me or even if you realize you don't always have to remake the wheel. Here's the proof:

  • My favorite find of the week: Weaving Four-Harness Patterns on a Two-Harness Loom, by Agnes K. Nielsen. Take a look at the "Four O'Clock" pattern on page 13 and be stunned. Woven with two harnesses!
  • Something Different In Two Harness Weaving, by Emmy Sommer, offers a challenge with joining in new colors, but the results look worth all the trouble.
  • The Rigid Heddle newsletter always has some great ideas, but the Leno Lace examples with the plain weave borders are really neat. I truly love the Mexican Lace variation, however. I haven't seen it before.
  • And here's a modern article from WeaveZine, Honeycomb Spot Bronson on Two Shafts by Sigrid Piroch, meant to be used to create Bronson Lace with two shafts and an additional warp thread, but I imagine this would be a way to do other types of patterns, too, such as a "Jeans Twill." Scroll down to the bottom to see how the sheds open. I'm still wrapping my brain around this one.

Two Harness Patterns

Last week, I was thinking that maybe, just maybe I'd get bored with a two-harness loom. I mean, using a rigid heddle + another heddle makes a three or four harness loom, which means patterns like twill are possible.

But with the Kessenich two-harness table loom, I'm kinda stuck with two harness. I had thought that meant plain weave, aka tabby.

So, I challenged myself to find some patterns and so I wandered over to Handweaving.net, clicked on the Draft Archives, clicked on search, and then asked for all the drafts with a minimum of two harnesses and a maximum of two harnesses. Guess how many results I had? 772.

Even if many of these are simply repeats of log cabin or stripes, I bet you anything I can find enough to keep myself busy with only two harnesses!

Fun with Two Heddles


  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

I've been having a great time using two 10 dent heddles with my new double heddle kit I bought for my Emilia. I've never had to think so hard about threading. It was a brain teaser, but once done (by studying my Jane Patrick book, numerous websites and blogs, and also discussions on Ravelry), it all makes sense. Really! Basically, it's pulling four ends through each of the back heddle (also known as heddle II). Wind on your warp. Pull one strand from each grouping into each eye. So, when heddle II is warped, it has three ends in the slots, one end in an eye.

Then, you add in the front heddle (also known as heddle I) and it gets a little muddy, but in a nutshell, you pull two slot ends into a slot, the third slot end into an eye, and the final fourth end, which had been in the eye of heddle II, into the slot on the far side of the eye you just sleyed. Okay… make sense? Good! Continue on down, warping all of heddle I. 

Now, you're ready! See? It's easy!

Well, not really. Would you believe it took me three hours? To warp 8" across? And just 36" long? Yes? Then you'd be wrong, because it actually took three and a half hours. Now, the next time, it'll be a cinch. 

Once all that warp was carefully tied on, I was ready to weave… something… didn't know what… So, I pulled out Jane Patrick's book, picked a pattern from the Double Heddle chapter, and started weaving. I chose the Diamond pattern, mostly because it uses two heddles and no pickup sticks. (Yes, you can add in pickup sticks!) And there was much head scratching and pulling out of weft and so on as I followed the eight steps to complete one pattern section, until I finally realized it made sense and I was weaving the diamond pattern.

I'm using a variety of browns, reds, and off-whites from my embroidery thread collection. It's pretty, and even though my brain was taxed, it was worth it.

An update from the home office

I actually did organize my office… and then it got messy again… and then it was so hot I didn't want to weave… But now it's a lovely 75 degrees and I was inspired to tidy it up. I bought an shelf organizer thing from Target and have found it a good place to store yarn and supplies. It's a little bit cluttered but I don't mind in the least. I like having my chicken pincushion, all my Weave-Its, and yarn handy. Speaking of yarn, that's all of it, with two of the square bins also about half-full. I've never purchased yarn for yarn's sake–I tend to buy it for projects and use it up. The bins are full of small amounts left over. Any full skein was purchased for a project that never materialized. Now that I have a loom, though, I think a little differently, and I can see myself purchasing ahead of time.

I found a goldmine of discarded library books on weaving and needlework. There were nearly 30 of them! Happy me! I particularly enjoy the older weaving books like The Joy of Handweaving, Your Rugs, and Weaving Tricks. I found myself with not one, but two copies of Visual Instructional Macrame by Joan Michaels Paque. I did get a little enthusiastic in grabbing up these old books.
Also new-to-me the past few weeks, a homemade rake loom. It's a really lovely loom with close-to-small gauge pegs. The pegs are places in a staggered pattern that I haven't quite figured out. It's missing a few pegs but I think it will do nicely as a dishcloth loom. I also snagged a $1 deal, an EZEE knitter, used for fine panel knitting, with an unfinished project on it.