Remember the rigid heddles for band weaving that Steve made for me? (See Process Review: Heddles and Bands) Soft maple, Spanish cedar, and walnut. Steve says they are missing the “cuteness factor.” So, what does he do? He makes a cowgirl heddle out of cherry that is cute as can be!
Well, Miss Cherry Cutie wants to flip over while weaving. A little quilter’s clip on the bottom adds just enough weight. Problem solved. Now Steve wants to make one that has more weight on the bottom half.
Here comes Miss Cutey II in Spanish cedar, with a longer skirt. She doesn’t tip all the way, but she does lean this way and that. The clip helps her, too. Conclusion? The shorter version, with the clip, is more compact and is our favorite design.
Look who shows up! Miss Cutie III in Spanish cedar. It’s time for a band weaving party, y’all!
Persistence comes from having an end in mind. Prayer is like that. We know our heavenly Father hears us when we pray. We know his outcome is good. Faith compels us to persist in prayer. As we do, the Lord guides our heart to align with his will. All the while, he works behind the scenes to bring his answer, which is better than anything.
You followed all the instructions for dressing the loom, and have finished the countermarchtie-up. Now, at the moment of triumph you step on the treadles, one by one. Alas! Some or all of the treadles give you nothing you can call a shed. Now what? Maybe you relate to Laura who wrote me recently, “I can’t seem to get the treadles to make a shed.”
The solution is simple. Follow the advice in this sentence on page 37 of Learning to Warp your Loom, by Joanne Hall, “If your sheds are not good, check your loom tie-up from the top down.”
If sheds are missing, there is a good chance you have a crossed cord.
Find Misaligned Cords
1 Follow each Texsolv cord, starting from the countermarch at top of the loom.
2 Make sure that each cord is connected in the right order at the right place.
Is the first countermarch jack connected to the first shaft, the second jack to the second shaft, and so on?
Are the cords that go to the lower lamms strictly in order?
– With horizontal countermarch, does each cord fall behind the shafts in order?
– With vertical countermarch, is each cord on its pulley, and connected to lamms in the right order?
3 Correct any misaligned cord.
Now, step on each treadle, one by one. Decent sheds that just need a little refining? Triumph!
When attaching a cord while dressing the loom, start your hand at the top of the cord and slide it down to the point of connection. This helps you take hold of the correct cord.
Would you believe me if I told you I had the exact length of fabric needed to cut out the three tiers for this skirt, with not a millimeter to spare? It’s true. Despite a profusion of fitting conundrums, detail studies, do-overs, ripping outs, mind-bending problem solving, and to-the-thread close calls, I never considered giving up. That’s not true. I did think of throwing in the towel. But, thankfully, my cheerleader husband won’t let me take that option.
I have a deeper respect now for my friends whose sweet spot is garment design and construction. This Tiers of Joy experience has reminded me that handweaving is my sweet spot. It’s the thing I do that makes me say, “I was made for this.” When I’m at the loom I am soaring. What is your sweet spot? Let the breath of God make you soar.
Happily, I have a memorable handwoven skirt to wear on my date with Steve to the Symphony of the Hills Christmas concert next week.
Here’s a short slideshow video of this thread-to-garment story:
I am giving thanks for you! I’m glad you and I get to walk through this weaving (and sewing) journey together.
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.
We weavers are resourceful. We enjoy finding solutions that make our time at the loom more efficient, while raising the quality of our weaving. We’ve done some of these little tricks so much we don’t think about them anymore. And then, some innovations are things we think up on the spot because necessity, as you know, is the mother of invention.
Necessity: Keep from losing my place with treadling repeats. Solution: A strip of blue painter’s tape with “3 2 1” and a rubber band, placed on the breast beam. Move the rubber band on the tape (from right to left) to track repeats.
Necessity: Keep from fumbling the catch, having to reposition the shuttle in my hand to send it back across the warp. Solution: Keep my eye on the shuttle. If I turn my head to watch the movement of the shuttle, my catching and throwing improves immediately. This makes my selvedges improve, too.
Leave No Trace
Necessity: Keep from leaving slightly perceptible lines in the woven cloth that reveal every time I stop to move the temple and advance the warp. Solution: When it is almost time to advance the warp, I move the temple and then weave one or more pattern sequence(s) before advancing the warp. This helps me leave no trace of starting and stopping.
Do you have a simple tip that improves your efficiency and/or quality at the loom? Please share in the comments.