The monksbelt piece that adorns our entry is my favorite from all the projects in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. This current narrower version on the Standard is another heirloom monksbelt piece in the making. The ground cloth is weft rep.
This is snail’s-pace weaving, with 2 picks of 16/2 cotton for the ground weave between every 6/1 Fårö wool pattern pick.
“To weave [weft rep]…the weft must be longer than the width of the warp and so the weft has to arc across the shed. There are two ways to do this: with many small waves across the width or with a large and high arc…The tiniest bit of unevenness can quickly build into hills and valleys across the weft line…”
The Big Book of Weaving, p. 236
Weft Rep in Three Steps
1. Make a Mountain.
After throwing the shuttle, increase the length of the weft by making it into a large arc in the open shed. Put one finger through the warp to form the peak while keeping enough tension on the thread with your other hand to maintain a good selvedge.
2. Make Hills and Valleys.
Keeping the shed open, push the mountain down into hills and valleys to evenly distribute the extra weft.
Turn the mountain into hills and valleys with your finger.
Simply drag your spread-out fingers lightly through the weft.
TIMESAVER – Slowly pull the beater toward you (shed open), smooshing the weft into a wavy line. Stop two or three inches away from the fell line.
3. Flatten the Hills
Treadle for the next shed. On the closed shed beat in the weft. Two short pulses with the beater distribute the weft more effectively than a single squeeze with the beater.
Watch for little loops that may form in places where there is a bit too much weft. To correct, open the shed, pull that portion of the weft back into a little hill and redo.
TIMESAVER – Draw the back of your fingernail across the warp where you see excess weft. This is often enough to even out little bumps.
Slower weaving develops into a rhythmic pace that is comfortable. And the cloth grows, line by line.
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.
Welcome back into my studio. I have been weaving, finishing, winding warps, and dressing looms. And spending time with friends. What better way to enjoy friends than to go on a floor-loom-weaving expedition together? Weaving Extravaganza at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas is the getaway. The looms are dressed and ready for us when we arrive. Abilities and experience are irrelevant. Anyone can do this!
From the projects available, I choose to weave a textured shawl. Keleen, a rigid heddle weaver (sitting at a floor loom this time), chooses to make fabric for an apron with a monksbelt border. Jan, who has never touched a loom until now, weaves natural-colored-cotton dish towels. Four hours pass in a flash, with weaving and camaraderie. We each complete our handwoven cloth. After returning home our fabrics are washed and finished, ready for use. My shimmering shawl is just right for a cool evening. Keleen’s fabric is soon to become an heirloom apron. And Jan’s first handwoven towels are drying dishes. Success!
Abilities and experience come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who wants to learn, can. Your heart goes in the direction you turn it. The Lord sees your heart. He’s not looking for ability or experience. He reaches the heart that is turned toward him. That’s where his grace comes to life.
A warp is finished when the woven cloth has been taken to completion. At that point, the loom is free for a new warp. That is the rule I’ve given myself. If I ignore the rule and put on a new warp before its time, the unfinished cloth has a way of staying unfinished for too long.
Thanks to that completion rule, I have a new bag. This fabric includes the various patterns that I wove in Joanne Hall’s workshop on Swedish Art Weaves several months ago. You will also see that I explored some patterns on my own at home. I gained two excellent outcomes from this finishing pursuit—a new bag to use, and a loom that is free for the next warp! (See the first bag here: Monksbelt Flowers on a Shoulder Bag)
Left to myself, I’d rather do what I want. I’d rather start a new project than bring an “old” one to completion. I’m glad my Lord is faithful with me. He completes the work that he began. The Good Shepherd tends his sheep. He leads us to the still waters of peaceful perseverance, saving us from the regret of going our own way. And we have his perfect outcome to look forward to.