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!

It Weaves! My First Kessenich Project

 

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I took an old warp I had cut off the Glimakra Emilia after abandoning a project awhile back, and I put it on my new-to-me Kessenich two harness table loom. I don't actually know how to warp a table loom, but I made a guess (and checked in a book). It wasn't picture perfect but somehow it worked. The back beam was messy and tangled, I started too far over to the right, and yet it all wove up very nicely.

I returned to my stash of vintage embroidery floss for the weft, using 20 tiny skeins of blues. It created a striped effect. Personally, I don't know if I would have gone out of my way for a multicolored warp and striped weft, but it all came together, and now I have a 10" x 35" piece of woven fabric. It may end up being something someday (a pillow… a bag…), but for now I'll call it a sample and leave it at that. 

It took four hours to warp and weave this. The loom isn't very big, and yet it's tall enough on a table to have to stand and weave, something I used to like to do with the Emilia until I put it on a stand. I loved using the loom. It could be 40 or 50 years old, but it works wonderfully. I can't wait for the next project. 

Finally Off the Loom

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It started as spa wash cloths, and ended up as a rag and a table runner. The warp was a nice cotton/hemp blend called Hempathy, but the weft, at first, was plain hemp 100% hemp yarn. Sorry, but after just one cloth, I was ready to call it quits. It has a rustic look, which is fine, but it was dusty, and it shed bits and pieces everywhere. It's best left for a rope, or a handle, or something other than a wash cloth. Plus, it smells when it's wet, too, so don't use it for something meant to be doused in water on a regular basis. I made one loop pile cloth, then moved onto a second, which I quickly turned into a little rag, and the final two feet of warp sat on my loom for two months.

I decided to use the hemp blend for the weft, and a little pick-up stick pattern to create a small table runner. The pattern was 2 up, 2 down, and the weaving was Up + Pickup Stick, Down, Up, Down. It worked out nicely, with the warp floats creating a stripe. Hemp is nice in a blend.

Table Loom O-Rama

I've scanned thrift and antique stores for over a year searching for looms. I've found Weave-Its, a Wonder Weave (4" loom), and different types of knitting looms. I've spotted a few floor looms, mostly huge and needing a tremendous amount of work. What I haven't seen has been a tabletop loom. Until yesterday.

 I found not one but two tabletop looms within a half an hour! And maybe I didn't get the most tremendous deals, but I was kind of like a kid in a candy store who has a credit card and a very strong desire to buy a lot of candy! Okay, bad comparison aside, I bought them both. And in my tremendous daze of Loom Craziness, I walked out of one of the stores without the reed. I called the antique shop owner when I got home (the store was hours away from where I live), and she said she'd mail it to me ASAP.

 

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So, what kind of looms did I end up with? I can identify one of them so far: A 12" two harness Peacock Loom, by Handcrafters from Waupun, Wisconsin. These are no longer made, but they're very cute. Mine had a tag on it that said it was from a junior high school in Illinois, and it shows a lot of use. Nothing is broken or missing, but gee… I'll be teaching myself how to make string heddles within the next few days because every one of them has disintegrated. However, the reed is free of rust and everything else looks very nice. This was the first loom I spotted, and at that time the $75 seemed excessive but I rationalized it with a "But I never see these types of looms for sale and I'll probably not ever see one again." Bought it!

 

 

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And about 20 minutes later, I walked into a second antique store to find this, another two harness tabletop loom. This is much bigger, with a weaving width of 14". It's oak, extremely well made and sturdy, and I'm starting to think it's a Kessenich loom because it resembles the pictures of four harness looms I've spotted. Compared to the little Peacock loom, this one really looks like it's ready to be used. The heddles are metal and free of rust. I remember the reed also being usable, but we'll see when it arrives.  (Can you imagine the adrenaline rush I had when I got home and took it out of the car, only to search frantically for the reed? Ah well… I'll never leave a store again without double-checking the bits and pieces of a loom I've just purchased.) It also came with a second reed, I believe an 8 dent.

Speaking of purchase price, this one was listed at $125. Again, was it a deal? I hope so. It needs a little bit of cleaning, two tiny dowel replacements where the reed rests, and it's ready to warp. It does have an extra two dowels looped through a cord and fastened on either side near the top. I don't know what the purpose of this is.

Speaking of warping, I don't know how these looms will differ from my rigid heddle loom, how to use the string/metal heddles versus the rigid heddle, how much warp they can hold, etc. I have lots of questions, but the biggest question I have (and my husband, too) is where in the world will I put them? 

The Rising Cost of Emilia

As the value of a dollar rises and falls due to economic stress and inflation, so does the price of an imported loom. I enjoy my Glimakra Emilia, but I had to weigh the cost of the loom less than a year ago when I purchsed it. It wasn't the most expensive, it wasn't the least expensive. It was somewhere safely in the middle of similiarly-equipped rigid heddle looms. I spent $189 (USD) on the 19" loom, from a site that had it priced a bit lower than the typical $209. Today, however, I'm surprised to see the cost of it has risen $100.  It now sells at about $289.

I understand importing an item means prices will fluxuate, but I was a little sticker-shocked yesterday to note the change.

I'm very pleased with my loom, especially the construction and quality. But $100… in less than a year?

A Challenge: Stash Weaving

I've created a little challenge for myself — weave from my stash of yarn until all I have left are butterflies, those bits and pieces of left-over weft and warp that I wind into tiny figure eight shapes. And then weave something from the butterflies, even if it's Weave-It or Wonder Weave squares.

I never thought I had much in the way of a yarn stash, until I realized I was buying new yarn for every project and not using the yarn I had sitting around. I have plenty, let me tell you. It may not be super fancy, but there's quite a bit.

So, now my question is this: do I plan a project or go at it without any real rules, Saori-style? Do I mix and match textures, colors, and types of fiber, or shall I plan a cotton-only project, a wool scarf, an alpaca shawl? Something in me is saying to wind on the longest warp possible and then weave a very long piece of multi-colored, multi-textured cloth.

Decisions, decisions…

But first! I must finish those wash cloths that are still on my loom, two months and counting… For some reason, I'm not enjoying the hemp. I've also discovered I don't enjoy weaving anything that involves hemming off the loom. (Lazy!) I'm spoiled by making so many scarves.

Must… finish… wash cloths…

Something to Look at While I Weave

 

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Sometimes, deep in the winter, when it snows and it freezes and it snows a little more, I grow a little weary of staring at snow. A few winters ago, we started making terrariums. It's instant summer, only in miniature.

This year, it's aquariums. We're on our third, a three gallon Eclipse, which I plunked down in my little office. So far, it's home to a piece of Mopani wood and a variety of low-light plants. Because of its small size, I won't put a fish in it, but maybe I'll look for a few shrimp. Even though there are no critters, it's nice to watch the plants grow in a constant 78 degree temperature.

My current project: Spa Wash Cloths from Weavezine. I'm using Hempathy as the warp, and 100% hemp yarn as the weft.

image from www.flickr.com 

A Little Grindvev

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Also known as a bandvev. These hand-carved Norwegian looms were used to weave narrow bands. Often carved by a suitor and given to a young woman, it was a useful and decorative object. I found this one at an antique store, first assuming it was a replica. It’s a bit too fragile to use, but it’s neat, isn’t it?

Photos of other band looms from a Norwegian digital museum.

A blogger who weaves bands on a grindvev.

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A Simple Scarf

 

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I finished this one the day before Christmas Eve, just in time to wash it, dry it over a radiator, and trim and tie the fringes. Woven on the Emilia using an 8 dent heddle and a simple 3/1 lace pickup pattern, I used slubby, handspun alpaca. The result was a pretty, incredibly soft and warm scarf. I only snapped these two pictures before waving goodbye.

Blizzard Scarf!

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I warped, wove, washed, and wore this scarf during a blizzard warning! It was two hours on the loom total, hand-washed and dried overnight on the radiator. When I wore it shoveling out from the 10”+ of snow the next morning, I was quite happy with it tied snugly around my neck. (And even happier when my neighbor drove up on his tractor and plowed our driveway!)

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I used an 8 dent heddle and white acrylic for the warp, Rizotti (color: Marry) for the weft. The weft yarn is a blend of wool, mohair, nylon, and acrylic, and I found I hardly needed to beat it. It's very, very light and fluffy. I had a notion to make this a ruffle scarf by tugging a center warp thread and gathering the scarf in a little bit, but once I started, I didn't hold the opposite end and whoops! I pulled an entire thread out of the scarf. After scratching my head and laughing a little, I realized I kind of liked the look, so I pulled out two more warp threads on purpose.

The slubby texture led to some bumpy selvedges, and I just didn’t care. The one color change I messed up (you can see the color go from gray to white all of a sudden) didn’t bother me. It was a scarf woven during a blizzard! I mean, really!

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Diamond Table Runner and Comfy Throw

 

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Finished: the 7.5" x 16" table runner, woven with two heddles. Just big enough for a super small table or a mat underneath a lamp and telephone (which is where this one is living for now). I was thrilled to use two heddles and can't wait for the next project. This one involved embroidery thread and I used the Diamonds pattern from The Weaver's Idea Book. Very fun indeed. I don't even mind the bumpy edges (strange, I've read about this thing called a floating selvedge and yet never thought it would be something I need someday…).

Also finished: the shawl, poncho, throw-type weaving. It measures 17.5" x 60". I should have been about 6" longer, but I ran out of the Caron Simply Soft and was too impatient to buy some more. It's plenty long, however, and after knotting the fringes and trimming them to about 4", I called it done. It's now flung over the top of a chair. The pattern gives it a rustic look and I'm pleased with it.

The cat picture has a story. She suddenly flung herself onto the throw and skidded to the edge of the table. I snapped the picture just as she turned, shot across to the other side, jumped into her little basket, and skidded over the other edge where she landed on the ground. We think she was embarrassed.