You can measure what you are weaving. A set of towels will all be the same length. A table runner will fit the table as planned. A rug will be the right size for the designated floor space. All it takes is a dependable way to measure. (Thanks to Elisabeth S. for writing me, “I’d love to have a better way to measure my work as I’m weaving it.”)
Measurement Tape (accompanying video below)
5/8” polyester twill tape
Fine point indelible marker
2 flat-head straight pins
Determine the finished length.
Consider the Golden Ratio, 1:6.
Consider where the finished textile will be placed.
Estimate take-up and shrinkage.
Include these measurements in your project notes.
Prepare a Measurement Tape
Draw the beginning line about 2 cm from the end of the tape. If there is a hem, draw a second line to mark the hem’s length.
Write the item description on the tape.
Write ” ___ (finished length) + ___ (take-up and shrinkage) = ___ (total length)” on the tape.
Measure the total length from the first line (or from the hem) on the tape. Draw a line at the end (add hem, if needed).
Cut the tape about 2 cm after the ending line.
Find the middle of the tape. Draw a line and write “MID”.
Prepare a Half Measurement Tape
Do the same as for a full-length measurement tape, except divide the total length measurement in half. Draw a line on the tape at the halfway point. Write “MID” before the line.
Cut the tape about 2 cm after the MID line.
Weave and Measure (Always with the warp under tension)
Use two straight pins to pin the measurement tape to the weaving near one selvedge. Place the beginning line of the tape directly over the beginning of the woven article.
As weaving progresses, remove the pin closest to the breast beam. Leapfrog over the remaining pin. Reinsert the removed pin through the tape near the fell line.
If using a half measurement tape, weave past the MID line. Mark the spot with a pin. Remove the measurement tape. Turn the tape and pin into place to weave the second half.
Here’s a demonstration of making and using a measurement tape:
Some of the monksbelt flowers have a different color for the three center picks. The new color is only temporary, so I simply carry the first weft color up the side for that short distance.
More than one shuttle doesn’t necessarily mean more difficult. Everything runs a little smoother when there is an efficient exchange of shuttles between your hands.
How to Handle the Exchange of Shuttles
For this example, the temporary weft starts from the left and goes to the right. Weave the first pick of the temporary weft, catching the shuttle with your right hand. (If the first pick of the temporary weft goes from right to left, reverse the right hand/left hand instructions, here and following.)
Transfer the shuttle with the temporary weft (active weft) to your left hand.
With your right hand pick up the shuttle that has the weft that will be carried up the side (inactive weft). Bring the shuttle all the way around the active weft and then lay the shuttle down again.
Transfer the shuttle with active weft back to your right hand and continue weaving.
Follow steps 2 – 4 until the section with temporary weft is finished.
Tuck in the tail of the temporary weft and continue weaving with the weft that has been carried up the side.
I first noticed that something was amiss right after advancing the warp. Something brushed my knees when I sat down. Aha!Beam cords, attached to the tie-on bar. I see that the tie-on bar is going straight from the cloth beam to the breast beam. I had forgotten to bring the tie-on bar over the knee beam. Really? Nearly everyone does this at least once when they are starting out. But it has been a few years since I made this mistake. Apparently, I still need my checklist.
Fortunately, forgetting the knee beam is one of the easiest blunders to remedy.
Re-Set the Knee Beam
1. Remove the knee beam. Rest the beam on the loom frame.
2. Unlatch the front ratchet to release warp tension.
3. Pull the knee beam all the way out. Put it back across, underneath the beam cords. Rest the beam on the loom frame.
4. Reseat the knee beam gently, positioning the beam cords along with the beam.
5. Tension the warp. Resume weaving.
May your trouble be inconsequential and short lived.
In order to adjust the height of the suspended heddling bar at the drawloom, I want to move the arrow peg. I hold one end of the bar while pulling the peg out of the Texsolv cord. That little peg fumbles out of my hand and drops to the floor. OOPS! I am left holding one end of the bar that has 148 threadedpattern heddles, weights included. Now what?! Alone in the room, I am now the sole support for that end of the heavy bar. The peg on the floor is out of reach.
Super Simple Tip of the Day
Always keep a spare anchor pin or arrow peg on the loose end of the Texsolv cord. Always.
The rest of the story… When that pesky little arrow peg slips out of my hand I calmly take the spare peg that is there “just in case,” and secure the Texsolv loop that holds the heddling bar. No big deal, after all.
Documenting your work for repeatability is valuable for any any step-by-step process. With the Lizardtapestry I learned how to do the finishing, including the backing. By the time I was ready to put a backing on the Siblings tapestry, I had limited recall of that first experience. Now that Eye of the Beholder is ready for backing, I need help again. Fortunately, I made note of every detail while constructing the backing for the Siblings tapestry. So, this time I have the benefit of written and photo documentation. No guesswork!
How to Document Your Steps
Do research. Gather your notes, search resources, and get advice from experienced weavers regarding the process you want to document.
Outline the steps. Write out and number all the steps as you understand them. Doing this before you start helps you think through the entire process.
Refine the steps. Begin working through the steps in order. Adjust the steps as you go. You may need to add or eliminate steps, or change the order in which they are done.
Make it visual. Take a photo of any step that benefits from visual clarification.
Finalize. Simplify and clarify the instructions in every step as if they are meant for someone who knows less about this process that you do. Remove redundant and/or unnecessary photos.