Tried and True: Measurement Tape

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.”)

Dependable way to measure on the loom!

Measurement Tape (accompanying video below)

Supplies:

  • Calculator
  • Project notes
  • 5/8” polyester twill tape
  • Fine point indelible marker
  • Tape measure
  • 2 flat-head straight pins

Make Calculations

  • 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”.
How to measure your weaving on the loom.
Place the first line of the measurement tape directly over the beginning picks of the woven article.

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.
Using a measurement tape for weaving consistent lengths.
Move one pin at a time. I usually move the pin right before I advance the warp.
  • 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.
How to make a half measurement tape.
When you reach the MID line on a half measurement tape, keep the measurement tape in place until you have woven a few more centimeters.
How to make and use a Measurement Tape for weaving accurate lengths.
Place one pin through the cloth, pointing to the MID line. Then, it’s safe to remove the measurement tape and turn it around. Go your merry way, weaving the second half of the Monksbelt runner, or whatever you have on your loom.

Here’s a demonstration of making and using a measurement tape:

(For a previous discussion of this topic, see Tools Day: Measured Weaving.)

Since you can measure what you are weaving, do relax and enjoy the ride.

May you reach the mid point at just the right time.

Happy 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

Tried and True: Shuttle Shuffle

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.

How to shuffle shuttles.
Monksbelt with six colors of 6/1 Fårö pattern weft and three colors of 16/2 cotton ground weft.

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.

Monksbelt flower garden.
Monksbelt flower garden.

How to Handle the Exchange of Shuttles

  1. 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.)
  2. Transfer the shuttle with the temporary weft (active weft) to your left hand.
  3. 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.
  4. Transfer the shuttle with active weft back to your right hand and continue weaving.
  5. Follow steps 2 – 4 until the section with temporary weft is finished.
  6. Tuck in the tail of the temporary weft and continue weaving with the weft that has been carried up the side.

Here’s a short demo:

May your shuttle exchanges go smoothly.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: How to Remove Guesswork

Documenting your work for repeatability is valuable for any any step-by-step process. With the Lizard tapestry 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

How to document your process steps.
Photo guidance on the computer corresponds with enumerated steps on my phone. This removes guesswork for the next part of the process.
  1. Do research. Gather your notes, search resources, and get advice from experienced weavers regarding the process you want to document.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Make it visual. Take a photo of any step that benefits from visual clarification.
  5. 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.

May you remove guesswork as much as possible.

All the best,
Karen

Tried and True: Simplify Subtle Color Changes

When I pick up a color of thread I don’t want to have to guess if it’s the right color. Four of the five blues in the weft sequence are close neighbors in value. The one color that is easy to identify is the navy blue, which provides a good contrast among the blues.

Five blues in 8/2 cotton. 8-shaft twill.
Weft color order follows the sequence of the warp color order. Five blues for this 8-shaft twill in 8/2 cotton.

The weft order matches the warp order, and is marked out on a ribbon. I am using a separate boat shuttle for each shade of blue. But how do I know which color is which, when the difference is subtle from one color to the next?

Simplify Subtle Color Changes

  • Give each color a number. Write the numbers next to the colors of the warp order on the Project Notes.
Project Notes for weaving with 5 blues.
Weft colors are the same as the warp colors. The Project Notes show all the details. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” is added to the sheet to give each color a simple number.
  • Label the thread tubes with a small piece of blue painter’s tape. Each tube of thread is numbered to correspond with the numbers on the Project Notes.
Make removable labels with blue painter's tape.
Handy blue painter’s tape is used to make removable labels.
Five blues are labeled for simplicity.
Thread tubes are labeled with their identifying number.
  • Label each boat shuttle with its assigned color number, using a small piece of blue painter’s tape.
There are five blues for this 8-shaft twill.
Each boat shuttle holds its own color.
  • Place wound quills under the rubber band of their respective thread tubes.
Simplify subtle weft color changes.
When I wind an extra quill I place it with its thread tube so I don’t accidentally pick up the wrong color quill.

It is easy to keep track of these five numbers as I follow the weft sequence that is marked on my reference ribbon. Now, it’s shuttle #4’s turn…

Simplify subtle weft color changes.
Next in line…

May you find a way to simplify.

Happy Weaving,
Karen