I'm playing around with 7 shaft patterns on the little Louet W30 table loom. I like the front; I'm not as crazy about the back. I think I'll unweave (okay, I'll admit that unweaving may involve scissors) and try another geometric pattern. There are several interesing point twill patterns with this threading.
I am playing around with four shafts on the Louet W30 loom. Believe it or not, the yarn is the old Red Heart acrylic I kept meaning to put in a giveaway box. I finally decided to use it up. I “think” this is a twill, but it reverses the patten. It’s on page 71 of The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon.
If you check the January/February 2012 issue of Handwoven, there’s an article devoted to weaving pinwheels on an eight shaft loom. If you also check Ravelry, you’ll find there’s a weave-along featuring pinwheels. So my loom was empty, and I wanted to try eights shafts. Guess what I decided to weave?
With the yarn I chose (crochet cotton at 40 wpi), doubled in a 10 dent reed, the designs that worked the best were the ones marked B and C in the article. After trying five different ones, I finally decided to try either B or C in a slightly longer sample (the second from the bottom and the third from the bottom in these pictures). I have no real goal other than trying something with eight shafts. Because this is only a 3″ wide warp, it could become something crazy like a bookmark.
Next up: another scarf. I’m crazy about scarves!
Or is it a wrap? It’s 11″ across, so it’s debatable. This time I’m using a white cotton/rayon warp (Henry’s Attic) with a lavender/pink alpaca/wool weft (Berroco Ultra). I was worried about the obvious differences between the two, not just with thickness but with softness and color, but so far I really like how it’s turning out. I think the pattern is really pretty and now that I know it by heart, it’s going along quickly.
I spent some time studying my loom to figure out how to add the 25 extra heddles to each shaft. It came with just 25 on each, but there was also a package of 200, all connected together with little twist ties and the tops looped from one to the other. I knew there was a trick to getting them on without tangles, and so I watched a Youtube video and twenty minutes later, done! I snipped all the connecting threads and it was kind of fun. No tangles, no tears.
I nearly cried with the warping of this project, however. Strange how I can have very few problems as a beginner, but then as I progress, the problems I read about start happening to me. I was really careful, too! Somehow, while transferring the warp onto the loom, I started getting tangles in the length of it.Some of the threads near the end slipped into the middle. I’m grateful I wasn’t using wool, or it would have ended up felting together and I would have tossed it in the trash. In the end, I got the entire thing on the loom, threaded the heddles and reed and then unwound it all so each thread passed through each heddle. When the warp was unwound all the way to the warping beam, I rewound it. This unwinding/rewinding while the threads passed through the heddles and reed straightened up most of the crossed threads and small tangles. It’s still not perfect, but I’m used to that, so it’s progressing nicely at this point.
I also took a cotton ball of rubbing alcohol and managed to take off a little bit of the black Sharpie marks on the reed. It’s still there but much fainter, and the alcohol didn’t harm the plastic cover at all.
I have a confession… I'm a a sloppy planner. I do some math to calculate length of warp/number of threads, etc., but then, I kind of guess my way through it. So, I'm a few threads short? No big deal, just modify the pattern and keep going. Too many threads? Tie the excess in a bow and continue on with the project. The warp is too loose on one side? Tuck a pencil under the stands and on you go!
So, somewhere along the way, I discovered the drafts or patterns for multi-shaft looms are meant to be balanced weave… meaning in a square inch, the number of wefts = the number of warps. But I kind of specialize in sloppiness, and so I go with the flow. Here, I'm using an alpaca/silk warp (doubled because it's super thin) called Alpaca with a Twist Fino! It's really lovely. The weft is a far thicker Cascade called Lana Bambu. The pattern is Ramblier Rose from The Handweaver's Pattern Book. So many things to go wrong here… but so far, I do like it.
I ended up trying about 14 different twill patterns on this first Louet project, a little sampler. Off the loom it measures 5.5″ x 20″, meaning it “shrunk” about 3/4″ in width. Luckily, I kept track of all the different twills by writing them on a scrap of paper, otherwise, I think I’d have to guess to figure out each section. I do remember that one of my favorites was the vertical herringbone. It’s nice to do a sampler because you can see how different the back of the pattern is compared to the front. Some of them are exactly the same, but if you weave one that is either more warp or more weft-faced, then you’ll have a very different back.
I hemmed one end by hand and then used a little dowel to turn it into a wall hanging. Greens and purples… Can’t go wrong with that!
My first project: a twill sampler using four shafts on my new Louet. Writing Louet W30 8 Shaft Table Loom each time takes too long, so from here on out, it’s simply the Louet.
This is actually a used loom. One of the previous owners had marked the center of the reed with a black magic marker… something I would not do to any loom! I prefer discrete pencil marks. 🙂 But this Louet was 1/2 the price of new, so I’ll take the mark and deal with it.
I used a short cotton warp to play around with my new loom and a simple twill pattern. Harness 1 (the one closest to the weaver) is the first strand, harness 2 the second, 3 the third, 4 the fourth, and then repeat. I checked out of the library “A Handweaver’s Pattern Book,” by Marguerite Porter Davison (which I think I should buy if I can find a copy), and discovered several pages of twill patterns I can weave with this exact threading. So, I’m getting used to the little loom by weaving twill variations, and so far I love it. My selvages are messy because I have to hook the shuttle over loose strands. In the future, I must investigate floating selvages, which will probably solve this problem.
It’s really fun to flip the little levers on the top of the loom to raise and lower the harnesses. I’m only using four of the eight, so my mind is going crazy figuring out what’s next for the Louet.
As far as the history of this particular model, from what I understand, the W30 (meaning 30 cm wide of weaving) was once a give-away when an ambitious weaver would purchase one of the huge and expensive Louets. I guess when a weaver would shell out several thousand dollars to get a room-sized Louet, the W30 was just a perk. The small loom was probably used as a sample loom to practice a pattern before going to the trouble of warping the big loom. Because the tower can be taken off and the loom is easily transported, it is also used as a workshop or demo loom.
Since then, it’s been sold as a stand-alone loom, and it can still be purchased from a few vendors, but it’s no longer in production and Louet doesn’t sell it any longer, having put their energy into the sturdier Jane table loom. Although this loom is just what I wanted, it does have a light feel and if you’re the type of weaver who has a heavy touch, you may not want to choose this one. However, it’s compact, versatile and perfect for me.
Project ideas: bookmarks, fancy scarf, new iPod cover…