After having cleared my two Ashford 20″ Knitter’s looms of projects they’d been housing for over two years each, I decided I want to do more sampling or, rather practicing, before embarking on a project.
Here are my short range goals:
- Learn pick-up patterns on the loom
- Attempt some other pattern manipulation techniques
- Consider weaving a color-and-weave study piece (though I’d prefer a color-and-weave-and-texture piece)
Here are my long range goals:
- Learn to use two heddles (which includes learning why one would want to use two heddles)
- Learn to use three heddles (ditto)
Before plunging into another practice project, I’ve been hitting the books. I have several books on rigid heddle weaving and I like all of them. The ones, as a beginner, I’ve found most useful—well, really all of them are useful—but these are the few I’ve been consulting:
- Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Davenport
- Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom by Betty Davenport (got mine from The Woolery—my favorite fiber arts supplier though I have little experience with others)
- Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom by Syne Mitchell
- The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick
One thing I’ve learned as I studied each of these volumes is: WARPING TIME IS IMPORTANT. I feel the need to confess now that I have a third rigid heddle loom—a 32″ Kromski Harp. It also has a two-year-old project languishing on its frame. This is because I ran into a warping difficulty of such significance that I couldn’t proceed with the project, couldn’t readily fix it, and couldn’t bear to remove the third-of-a-project from the loom. I’m pretty sure this problem was caused by my own ignorance about weaving procedures as well as inattention to necessary details of warping. I hadn’t had any problems before so I wasn’t expecting any now.
I’m not a novice at the loom, but I’m still a beginner. There’s a lot I need to read up on, but I want practical experience at the same time. In the past I haven’t understood the need to separate the layers of warp from each other. I did it anyway, but I didn’t understand why. I still don’t fully understand it, but what’s finally clear is that separating the warps (using warping sticks) will keep each layer level as I roll it up. My warping problem on the Kromski was an outer warp that somehow ended up excessively tight, or short. I’m hoping that using warping sticks will help eliminate a recurrence—planning to cut some to fit my Ashford tomorrow.
I also had an idea today while warping up my 20″ loom (for the first time in over two years). I started warping from one side of the warp beam intending to move across to the other end. But as I tied to one end, it seemed to pull the dowel out of kilter. I wanted the dowel in a secure position, so I tied a scrap warp to each end of it, to pull the whole thing into alignment while I warped.
I’m not sure it was necessary to have the scrap warp extend the whole length of the table. I probably could have tied it to the front of the loom.
For this practice piece I might want to switch out the purple yarn—I can decide tomorrow. I’m hoping we’ll find time to cut warping sticks to fit this loom (as well as make some pick-up sticks).
My goals are moving at a crawl, but they’re moving. Once we get the equipment made the goals will start toddling . . . walking . . . running . . . maybe even flying!