Update on Loom Holdings

Quite awhile ago, in fact nearly three years ago, I posted what I thought was an impressive list of all the little weaving and knitting looms I had accumulated up to that time. It was just about then I started becoming interested in weaving, and I was making a pretty clear switch from knitting to weaving. I still do an occasional knitting project, but most of my time is spent in weaving world. So, maybe it's time for an updated list? I think it's interesting that all of the looms from my old list could have probably been stored in one medium-sized plastic bin, but I still thought it was excessive.

Then:

  • The Knifty Knitter round loom set (four looms)
  • The Knifty Knitter flower loom and spool knitter (two looms)
  • The purple Knifty Knitter rectangle loom
  • Five 4" Square Looms: Two 4" Weave-its, One 4" Simplex loom, One 4" Hazel Rose Multiloom, One 4" Wonder Weave
  • One Weave-it Rug loom
  • One Regular Gauge hat loom
  • One 24" Homestead Hideaway triangle loom
  • Two potholder looms
  • One extra fine gauge DecorAccents oval sock loom
  • Three small flower looms

Now… (I've kept every one of those, plus added a few.)

  • Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom 18" (with stand, extra heddles, etc.)
  • Erica 25" rigid heddle loom
  • Kessenich 14" two harness table loom
  • Peacock 12" two harness table loom
  • Louet W30 12" eight harness table loom
  • Ashford 16" four harness table loom
  • Soon-to-arrive 7' modular triloom
  • Schacht inkle loom
  • A teeny tiny wooden rigid heddle loom called a Samuel Gabriel loom
  • Two more Weave-Its. (Why stop? They jump into my hands at antique stores.)
  • Two Authentic Knitting Boards (10" and 28") plus the extenders for weaving
  • Another Wonder Weave ($5! I bet you couldn't resist, either.)
  • A 1940's blue plastic EZEE Knitter fine gauge loom
  • A homemade wooden knitting rake
  • A homemade round hat knitting loom
  • A couple more daisy wheel flower looms
  • A backstrap loom, made by me (For the record, this is the only loom I actually made that works, and yes, it's essentially four sticks and some yarn.)

Okay, we've gone way past the medium plastic bin storage idea!

For some reason–and not just because I'm running out of room in my tiny 8'x9' office–with the recent purchase of the 7' triloom, I feel I've actually come full circle. The first looms I had an interest in were the 4" square looms and the little Wonder Weave rigid heddle loom. I then bought my first triloom. Little did I know that those simple looms would teach me the basics of weaving. From there, I let things slide, weaving-wise, until the next fall, about a year later, when I suddenly had an urge to buy a "real" loom. But first, with my inquisitive nature and with some helpful words from a Ravelry weaver, along with Laverne's fantastic series on backstrap weaving at Weavezine, I put together a backstrap loom (and chiseled my hand in the process!), and figured out lifting patterns for plain weave, weft-faced projects. It was about five months later that I bought the Emilia loom.

My looms, every one, are still portable and small enough to fold up and store on a shelf or under the desk. So, my little saying on the top of my blog, "weaving and knitting on small looms," still holds water. (Do I sound a little defiant?) And yet, I think I really started weaving because I wanted to follow the fibers visually and figure out how structure was created. If you've ever seen a triloom, you'll know the weaver walks the yarn from side to side, hooking it onto opposing nails and weaving over and under the horizontal threads that are created in the process. It's called continuous weave, where the warp and weft are woven at the same time. It's not fine weaving with silken threads, but it suits me. (And if I want to use silken threads, well, I just fire up the little Louet W30!!)

With all that said, I have two looms in the mix that will probably need new homes, the Peacock and the Kessenich. Both also need some work, but I'll post more about that in the future if I decide to wave goodbye.

Triloom Weaving Videos

Okay, these are in Spanish, but visually, they are a perfect introduction to triangle, or triloom, weaving:

I know how to do a plain weave triangle, having woven several on the first loom I ever bought, a 24" triloom, but I'm now waiting for my 7 foot modular triloom to arrive, although I still haven't figured out where in the world it's going to go. 7 foot!

Warping Cheat

image from www.flickr.com

I haven't had the best of luck when it comes to warping using the warping board. I know I can do it–and I did with the table runner project–but I still look for shortcuts. This time, I decided to combine direct warping with the board, and it worked… kind of. I got all the 142 cotton warp threads onto the Ashford table loom just fine. Each time, I looped over the warping bar, and I kept every five strands separated with the raddle. I didn't use the lease sticks. Maybe I should have, but I couldn't quite wrap my brain around how to do that, too.
image from www.flickr.com

So, it all wound on very nicely, I threaded all the heddles with a simple 1-2-3-4 repeat, sleyed the reeed, and then I got ready to weave. It's here I stopped because I didn't care for the way my selvedges looked when I used two separate colors. I gain some knowledge in one area (like warping) and then I realize I still need to learn something else (selvedges when using multiple colors… grrrrr…). I like learning, and I also like weaving, which is why this is lifelong journey.

Finished: Noro Scarf

noroscarf3

noroscarf2

noroscarf1

 

You’d think I’d have about a dozen scarves after weaving for about 2.5 years, but I either give them away or decide they’re not quite right. There are two I wear regularly (in the cooler weather). Now, there are three, because I’m crazy about this Noro Taiyo sock yarn scarf. Yes, using the yarn as a warp was a big challenge, but I love the end results. I wove this on the Glimakra Emilia after it started snapping under the pressure of the Ashford table loom. I doubled each end in the 8 dent heddle, often threading the “wrong” end, and so the color scheme didn’t stay true to the color changes of the yarn. I didn’t care one bit, because I was more worried about being able to weave the entire thing without snapping threads than whether or not the goofy colors matched up properly. The weft was black crochet cotton (size 10). I also used a pickup stick pattern from Jane Patrick’s The Weaver’s Idea Book. It’s on page 85,  5/1 warp float.

The warp was sticky, tangled in numerous spots, and often plain old difficult to weave. I made mistakes, too. Surprisingly, in the end, I was so pleased with the lightweight, airy scarf, I didn’t wait for it to air dry after washing it. I placed it in front of a space heater, and 20 minutes later, the scarf was ready to go.

Books and Journals from the Online Digital Archive

Every so often, I think of a weaving technique I'd like to try. One is the Moorman Inlay technique, which creates an embroidery-type patterns woven into a solid background. For a little discussion about it, read these posts on Weavolution. I also found this excellent pamphelt on the Online Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving. Maybe because weaving is still a bit of a fringe craft (get it? fringe craft?), and maybe because I enjoy wandering the aisles of thrift and antique stores searching for weaving treasures from days gone by,  I love reading the older documents about weaving:

Although it doesn't have the best images, it's a nice resource on how to get started. 

There are numerous out-of-print items on this site, and I love to browse the book section to see what gems are waiting to be found. Some of my favorites include:

Finally, the periodicals section lists numerous journals and pamphlets, and sometimes years and years of issues are included. I like seeing how much time is dedicated to the rigid heddle loom in some of these journals. Here's a sampling:

Finished: Table Runner

But it may become a pillow. The cotton (I Love This Cotton from Hobby Lobby) is very soft and squishy. It would make a nice pillow, I think. This was a fun, fast project. I had a nice moment when I successfully took the warp off the warping board and transferred it to the raddle. Didn't miss a thread! After that, I didn't mind the small challenges, like forgetting to have a floating slevedge. Oh well!

 

runner

Noro Scarf

image from www.flickr.com

That warp that had the snapping problem (individual strands of Noro sock yarn are delicate!) was transferred in a big clump from the Ashford table loom to my trusty Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom. The only thing that didn't go wrong was that I was smart enough to tie a knot at the top so I knew just where to put a warp stick. That's all that I did right. 🙂 But leave it to good ol' Emilia to take a mess and make it work out (knock on wood). Even though the warp is still a mess with tangled threads, I simply wound it on very gently and threaded each slot and hole with two strands using the 8 dent heddle. If one strand breaks, I'm still good to go. I'm using a pattern stick to create some warp floats. I think it shows off the pretty Noro colors a bit more than plain weave.

The weft is black crochet cotton, very thin and strong. I decided to use one of my slim poke shuttles, and it's working out great. Because it's small and nothing catches on it, it's perfect for a sticky warp. So far, I really love how this is turning out.  But I would not recommend using Noro sock yarn as a warp unless you know what you're getting into.

Noro on the Louet W30

image from www.flickr.com

I had a tiny bit of Noro sock yarn left, and I also had this little cotton warp ready to go, so I spent about an hour or two putting on the warp in a rosepath-type of pattern, and then weaving a short piece of fabric. It's very pretty. I think something like this could turn into a nice purse if I had the sewing skills. 

image from www.flickr.com

Sam Gabriel Wooden Heddle Loom

Sam Gabriel Loom

Sam Gabriel Loom

Sam Gabriel Loom

This cute little wooden frame loom jumped into my hands this weekend. How could I pass it up? It was only $3. However, once I warped it and started a tiny project–the loom measures just 6″ x 7″–I found it less than cute to use. The warp strands need to be very tight or the heddle, which rocks back and forth to create a shed, slips right off. It’s very tiny but not as useable as one would hope.

 

 

Oh, Snap!

The Noro sock yarn warp that I wanted to use on my new Ashford Table Loom snapped while rolling it onto the warp beam. More than once. Maybe three, or four, or even five threads snapped! And because that happened after I cut the ends, I couldn't save it for a future weft, so I took it off the Ashford and rolled it onto the Glimakra Emilia, hoping I could use a light touch when it comes to weaving… One can only hope.

image from www.flickr.com

Homemade Raddle

image from www.flickr.com

Have you ever ventured into the garage to search for a piece of scrap lumber, found one, marked it up, pounded about a couple dozen nails into it, trimed off the edge with a saw, only to hear your husband say, "That was the board I was saving. It was a very expensive piece of wood." Ooops.

Oh well. I really like this homemade raddle I made in about five minutes. Yes, the nails are a bit sideways, but this very expensive piece of hardwood was just what I wanted, and I can't imagine it cost more than $49, which is what the raddle kit runs nowadays. I've promised to buy another oak board for my husband, who wasn't really all that troubled, and so it works out fine.

This warp, Noro sock yarn (Taiyo), will be tricky. It's slubby and I've heard it can snap, so I'll be careful. I'm wanting to weave a lightweight scarf using a crochet cotton weft in black and a spot Bronson weave.

Gifted: Ashford Folding Table Loom

image from www.flickr.com

A very kind relative gifted me her unused 4 Harness Ashford Folding Table Loom (16"). It was very special how it was delivered, a bright spot during a dark time. I think it's a beautiful loom, and I have an idea brewing in the back of my mind to add the treadle stand to it, making it a little floor loom. She also gave me a warping board, which I put to use this weekend. I've always thought Ashford table looms were very cleverly designed, and I love how tidy and portable it is folded down flat. I've also watched and recommended to many people the three Ashford "warping your table loom" tutorials, which were done using this model. Now I have one. 🙂

Isn't it pretty? Of course, the kitty agrees.

image from www.flickr.com

Finished: Piano Cover

image from www.flickr.com

It looks like a sweater! (Awful picture, I know… It's another iPod, low-light, no editing picture.)

I plan on sewing some backing onto it to make it more dust proof. Although it ended up a tad too wide and a smidge too short, it'll do. To weave the final few inches, I had to pull some of the weft yarn out of an old sampler project I made a few years ago. Whew! I thought I was going to have to buy another huge skein of the Red Heart acrylic, when my goal was to use up what I already had.