Tried and True: Prevent Weaving Mistakes with Two Secret Weapons

As much as I am enthralled with what I am doing at the loom, my concentration ability wanes. It is in those waning moments that errors happen. Also, as you know, I have looms in my home, which means I can weave well into the evening in my pajamas, if I want to. But, I better not exceed my limits, or else…

Combination drawloom. Towels for gifts.
Seven pattern shafts are being used for the border “windows.” The center area uses single units to make the design that includes numerals and letters.

Weaving on the drawloom demands my undivided attention, as does pictorial tapestry and any intricate pattern weave. All of these are especially tedious to undo. Therefore, mistakes are outlawed! To that end, I have two secret weapons that prevent all most mistakes—

Combination drawloom for weaving towels.
Same towel, same weft, same time of day as previous picture. A change of viewing angle highlights the rust in the brown-rust 16/1 linen weft. I notice things like this when I get up and take a break.

Five-Minute Breaks

Twenty-Five Minutes On – Five Minutes Off

25 Minutes. Go full strength. Be completely absorbed in the task.
5 Minutes. Take a break. Stand up, walk around, stretch.
(I use an app on my phone, Focus Time Activity Tracker, but any timer will do.)

The Cinderella Hour

Know When to Stop

If I am weaving at the end of the day (in my pajamas, or not), I stop when the clock chimes 8 times. I call it my Cinderella hour. My loom turns into a pumpkin after 8:00 pm. If I keep weaving, I can expect to be fixing errors the next day.

Weaving in the evening in my pj's. Monksbelt.
Weaving monksbelt in the evening (in my pajamas). Oh listen, I hear the clock chiming…1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. Time to put the shuttles down.

May you know when to take a break.

Happy Restful Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Weft Rep

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.

Classic monksbelt in modern colors.
Multi-color ground weave and vibrant Fårö pattern colors make this monksbelt fabric a standout. Glimåkra Standard in the background holds a new version of this favorite piece.

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.

Weft rep tutorial
Weaving monksbelt with weft rep. How to.

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.
Monksbelt with weft rep. Tutorial.

OR,

  • Simply drag your spread-out fingers lightly through the weft.
Weft rep how to.
Monksbelt with weft rep. Tutorial.

OR,

  • 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.
Weft rep using the beater to make wavy line.
Simplified weft rep.

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.

Simplified weft rep.

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.

OR,

  • TIMESAVER – Draw the back of your fingernail across the warp where you see excess weft. This is often enough to even out little bumps.
Weft Rep - How to, and simplified.

Slower weaving develops into a rhythmic pace that is comfortable. And the cloth grows, line by line.

Monksbelt on the Glimakra Standard.
Rows of monksbelt flowers.

May your slow pace yield thoughtful progress.

Slowly and Surely,
Karen

On Drawloom Time

As much as I tried to look under the warp to see it, I could not get a decent view of the reverse side of the fabric. Until now. I am overjoyed to see that this gray and blue warp is even better than I had imagined. As the first towel on the warp rounds the cloth beam I see a silver-like glimmer behind the cursive “Peach,” and shiny blue loveliness at the borders.

Whimsical flowers woven on the drawloom.
Conclusion of Towel Number Two. This is when I can finally look at the cloth beam to clearly see the reverse side of Towel Number One.

Yet, this is but a fleeting glimpse. Oh, drawloom, you make me wait sooo long to see what I have woven. In that waiting, I continue to weave, content with the process. The towels that will result will last a very long time. That makes every minute at the loom time well spent.

Anticipation! Seeing the reverse side of what's woven on the drawloom!
First towel wraps around the cloth beam, revealing the silver and blue side that was underneath while weaving.

We work and work for things that are temporary. Even the most spectacular drawloom-woven towels wear out eventually. God has placed eternity in our hearts. We know there’s more to life that these fleeting days. Eternity gives meaning for today. The full scope of what God is doing is beyond our here-and-now comprehension. But at times, when we are given a glimpse into his wondrous mysteries, we are assured that eternity with him will far surpass our brightest imaginations.

May your days be full of meaning.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Sneak Out to the Drawloom

Two of my looms are getting the lion’s share of my attention right now. That doesn’t keep me from sneaking out to the drawloom, though, for an hour here, an hour there. Those hours add up. I have everything threaded and sleyed. The reed is in the beater now, and I’m tying on the warp.

Six ground shafts on the drawloom. Threading.
Pattern heddles have been threaded. Ground heddles are being threaded. 888 16/2 cotton ends on six ground shafts.
Getting ready to tie on the warp on the combo drawloom.
Moving the reed and threaded ground shafts to the front of the loom is tricky. Having a second pair of hands (Steve’s) definitely helps.

148 single unit lift heddles and 45 pattern shafts are waiting in the wings. I’m setting up the combination drawloom again for maximum flexibility in designing. That also means I’ll have abundant possibilities for weaving. Oh, what exuberant escapades await! This anticipation keeps me skipping down the path of preparation, ever so steadily, as I dream of entering that magical world of drawloom weaving once again.

Getting the drawloom ready to weave.
I like to tie all the ends into small sections (about 1 inch at the reed) first. Then I tie them on the front tie-on bar, starting right of center, and then alternate left, right, and so on.

There is a door into an invisible kingdom. You may have seen it as a child. The door to God’s invisible kingdom is open. With childlike trust we give our heart to Jesus and his kingdom comes alive. In the here and now, as our preparation continues, we are ever mindful of the abundant existence of the ever after. What exuberance awaits!

May you see like a child.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Time to Weave

I would like to finish this skirt project in time to wear the skirt this summer. Huckaback (huck lace) is easy to weave, but it takes time. All I need is time.

Weaving fabric for a tiered skirt.
Huckaback with five shafts and five treadles on the Glimåkra Ideal.

Linen weft threads pack in tighter and make better selvedges when they are dampened. I need a tight weave to square the pattern that is coming on the next two skirt tiers. And the edge of the skirt flounce is a selvedge that will be fully exposed, so tidy selvedges are a must. It takes a little bit of time to hold a damp cloth against the thread as I wind a quill, or to wrap a damp cloth around a quill that’s already wound. It’s worth it. In the scheme of things, that little bit of time is nothing…and everything.

Weaving fabric for a tiered skirt.
By dampening the 16/1 linen weft I am able to get a tight weave without having to beat as hard.
Linen weft in schoolbus yellow!
The edge with the poppy-thread border will be the lower edge of each tier on the three-tiered skirt. I’m paying special attention to the selvedge, and dampening the linen weft really helps!

We all have a little bit of time. Look at your hand. A lifespan is no longer than the width of your hand. A lifetime is one moment to God. Our life begins and ends in one breath of God. This little bit of time we have is nothing…and everything. This is how God loved us in our little bit of time: he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not perish but have timeless life with him.

May you have a little bit of time.

With you,
Karen