Do you think it would be a good idea for me to have my weaving books made as E-books?
Certain bobbins fit certain boat shuttles. Look at the cavities in your shuttles to determine which is the right type of bobbin to use. When I was learning to weave I heard about this but didn’t think it was important. Then when I was demonstrating fast weaving with the wrong bobbin I was embarrassed because the weft thread kept jerking. I learned my lesson that day. This is from Weaving for Beginners on page 94. I hope this saves other weavers from frustration!
The cavity in the shuttle where the spindle is mounted has either squared-off corners or oval, rounded corners. You need to fit the bobbin to the cavity in your shuttle or the thread will jerk or jam as you are weaving. Squared-off corners of the cavity are for bobbins with flanges at the ends—similar to those on the ends of spools of sewing thread. See Figure 223a. In a round-cornered cavity, use bobbins with extensions sticking out from the flanges. See Figure 223b. Bobbins with extensions are readily available and can be used in either type of shuttle. You can put a small bead or a sewing machine bobbin on the spindle at each end of the bobbin if your bobbins don’t have extensions, and your shuttle has rounded corners in the cavity. See Figure 223c.
There is more about handling boat shuttles beginning on page 111. Learn to weave without the weft thread jerking and tangling.
The exit hole of the boat shuttle should face you, the weaver, as you weave along. This illustration is from page 111 in Weaving for Beginners.
Figure 263 shows how the weft exits the shuttle when it is in the shed.
Many of my students didn’t think it was important to tie the ties at the ends of the warp as well as the ties for the cross. Then they ended up with a problem when they wanted to load the raddle. The first illustration shows the ties (two ties) that need to be made at the end pegs of the warp on the warping board. Note that tie ties are made on either side of the end peg–the ties are essentially both in the same “hole”. This may be what confuses people. See page 23 in Weaving for Beginners. More about tying two ties at the pegs is on page 23 as well.
The second and third illustrations are from page 34. They show the problem when the ties weren’t made and the solution.
In the new Handwoven on page 60, there is a tip at the top of the page suggesting using a doubling stand. It is a piece of equipment I couldn’t get along without. You can buy one or rig one yourself.
This is taken from my book #3, “Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth“, page 67. More on doubling stands follows on page 67. How to make your own is at the end of this post.
Have you ever wanted to combine two or more yarns as one weft? Have you discovered it doesn’t work very well because, no matter what you’ve tried, one yarn always loops up so they don’t lie flat together in the shed? The answer is: use a doubling stand to double up weft yarns so they come out of the shuttle together and evenly.
Warning!! Do not double warp yarns because the upper and lower yarns will be of different tensions when they leave the doubling stand. It isn’t a problem with weft yarns.
Doubling stands can be homemade or purchased. Figure 112 shows a commercially
made stand. (Note the optional tension box for winding tight weft packages.)One or
more yarns are put on vertical posts with the yarn guided exactly up from the centers of the posts, just like an ordinary vertical creel. Read more about creels on page 76.
Above these yarns is a single cone or spool of yarn supported by a vertical tube instead of a post. The yarns below are guided up through their respective thread guides and then up through the tube and the center of the extra cone. Then, the lower yarns plus the upper one are taken together up through a guide above the center of the top cone. You can see what happens: The yarn from the upper cone encircles the yarns coming up through its center. This encirclement keeps all the yarns together without any of them looping up during weaving (Figure 113).
To guide the bottom threads up through the cone on top, fashion a long hook from a coat hanger or use a long heddle.
The three keys to keep in mind when setting up a doubling “situation” or making a homemade stand are:
1. The thread guides for the lower spools must be exactly over the center of the pins
or dowels that hold the spools or cones.
2. There must be enough space between the tops of all the packages and their thread
guides to allow the yarn to whip off the packages freely.
3. The top cone or spool must have a way for the lower yarns to pass up through its center.
A tube to hold the top cone is the hardest thing to find—try hobby shops. You could use a short length of copper tubing with the sharp ends sanded. However, there are many other ways to accomplish the job. I’ve seen one cone underneath an upside-down “milk crate” with another cone sitting on top and the thread from below coming up a hole in the crate and through the top cone. There are many ways
you might make (or rig)a doubling “stand”.
This comes from Weaving for Beginners on 115. It’s quick and does the job nicely.
How to change wefts
I like to tuck in the old weft about ½” into the next shed, snugging it up against the selvedge and pulling the tail out of the shed to let it
lie on top of the cloth. The shed stays open, ready for the new weft. I leave the new weft’s tail, which is about 1″ long, dangling outside the selvedge and cut it off later. See Figure 272. Other ways to change wefts for other yarns are given on page 131.
“Peggy Osterkamp has done more for getting threads on looms than any other person on the planet.”
At Convergence in Albuquerque last summer, Linda Ligon from Interweave Press stopped by my booth and left this message. I was overwhelmed. She said I could pass it along.
What an honor. My book, Weaving for Beginners, had just come out. The previous three books have more reference material–beyond what the beginner needs to know. These are the ones Linda was familiar with.
My latest piece. I like it on both a light and a black background. Height is 36″. The woven width is 4″. I hope you like it.
I got my issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot today. It has a nice review of Weaving for Beginners which came out just about a year ago. Here are two quotes. I hope the post the entire review soon. It starts on page 11 in the magazine.
“The illustrations are helpful and align well with the text. This is important for a reference because there are few things more frustrating when learning something new than trying to understand a technique an author is explaining when the associated illustration or image is on a different page.”
“…this is a serious book for people serious about learning to weave.”
I’m proud of the seriousness. It’s interesting that my working title at the very beginning in 1992 was “The Serious Weaver.”
Here is the first part of a comment from Katie: “Peggy, I love your work, especially the more transparent pieces with silk threads. I am a Fibers student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA and was wondering if you have any advice for a poor student as far as what sort of beginner’s loom or handmade loom to use?”
About a beginner’s loom–anything very cheap is a good start. Then it’s easy to pass it on (sell it) when you know better what you really want. I used to tell my students a good price was $100–but that’s not enough these days–say $200-$300 is what you might have to pay. Check out eBay. So my advice is not to spend a lot of money at first–there are lots and lots of used looms around that people are eager to find good homes for. Almost anything will work–if you don’t like it you can always sell it and get something else. Good, good bargains are out there. Smaller looms are harder to find. If you have space for a bigger one, you might get a really good price.
When people ask me what to charge when selling a loom I give about the same advice–people expect used looms to be cheap. You’ll never get what a new one costs. Be glad to find a good home for it.
More from Katie: “Also wondering, what is your inspiration for your pieces? I searched around on your blog and found beautiful work but couldn’t find how you had decided to use certain colors or what motivated you to do certain pieces.”
Usually my inspiration comes from what I am trying to accomplish. For the silk pieces (see the gallery) I wanted to see if I could create sheer cloth. I found the fine, fine silk on spools in my stash. They were easier to use than the silk skeins I had. Then I made several more warps with that silk after accomplishing the sheer that I wanted. I also tried to create moire. Now that the skeins are on spools, I want to work with them.
Often it’s the threads that I want to see what I can do with–or a weave structure. I wove many collapse and supplementary warp pieces, for example.
I like to get started on an experiment and see what inspiration then comes from within. I love it when an idea comes from inside my body. Often ideas start in my head, then the body comes in when I’m least expecting it.
Kitestick: Approximately 1 ½” x ½” x 12″ or
This is not a precise measurement. In a pinch,
a ruler or a yard stick will do. See Figure 24d.
Use a kitestick when you take the warp off the warping board.
From Page 25 in Weaving for Beginners: Use your 1½”x ½” x 12″ stick, or a ruler or a yardstick. This is the way I prefer to hold the warp at this point. It isn’t necessary to wind the stick precisely. The instructions look harder to follow than they really are. Follow them any way you can at first, and master the technique another time. What’s important is that the warp is wound up onto a stick so the threads can’t tangle.
Another way to take the warp off the warping board is given on
page 34. (This refers to chaining the warp to take it off the warping board.)
Before you begin, look at the points below, and read about the trick
to winding the kitestick at the end of point 5.
I’ll be giving a seminar on Supplementary Warp Techniques at the Northern California Conference of Handweavers (CNCH) May 18-20, 2012, at the Oakland Museum. Here are two pieces–both made on the same warp.
From a satisfied reader, Laurie Mrvos: “… I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing as a new weaver pretty much in a vacuum, and I have read your books, including this one, (Weaving for Beginners), carefully and multiple times. I keep saying, “thank God for Peggy Osterkamp”, because I couldn’t have figured out what I was doing without your books, and the other beginning weaving books I have are not as thorough and well written. Thank you, Peggy. I’m so grateful for the enormous effort and care you have obviously put into your books. I’m a happy beneficiary of your labors.”
Emails like that really make my day. I appreciate them so much.
I found my fine and not so fine over-twisted yarns for collapse from this shop in London. It was easy to order. I contacted them and they have several types and S & Z twist yarns as well. Contact: the handweavers studio & gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org or try email@example.com. they have a web site, too.
Here’s a question I received yesterday. “I want to tie on a new warp for some scarves. However, I want to change the sett from 18 epi to 16 epi. Is it possible to do this?If so, how? I also would like to make it an inch narrower. Do I just not tie on the threads from the original warp and let them hang?”
Ideally when tying on a new warp the new warp should be exactly the same as the old one, hence the question. Yes, I think it would be ok to make the new warp with the number of ends needed and just tie those onto the old warp. The old warp ends not used can just hang. (Would you center the new threads, or just begin tying at one edge and have all the extra ends on one side?) You would then pull the warp ends through the heddles–the old ones will just go along for the ride. Then you’ll have to cut the ends to sley the reed to the new sett. You can cut so the thrums (ends of the old warp) are used when you sley the reed so you will have less loom waste for the new warp. Of course, if you want the keep the thrums for fringe, then cut off at the knots and re-sley.
These procedures are for when you tie on new warps behind the heddles as I recommend. For an over view of the process, go to the tab, “Weaving Tips” on the home page and look for “Try Tying on New Warps This Way”. It is so much better than tying on in front of the reed and dragging the new warp through the heddles. In my Book #2, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, I explain this thoroughly–especially how to tie the knots so the new warp is on tension immediately.
You can use the Search button on the upper right corner of the home page, too. Search for “tying on” there are several entries.
My sewing thread piece is off the loom and ready for action. Here is a detail. There are so many ways to manipulate the piece that I’m letting it marinate awhile (if you know what I mean). The hand is very nice and there is a lot of transparent area–all this pleases me. Stay tuned.
Here is the Pink Creature I mentioned in my previous post. I thought it would come up with a search, but it didn’t. This is one of my very favorite pieces.
I’ll be teaching 2 seminars at the Northern California Handweavers Conference next spring (May 18-20, 2012) at the Oakland Convention Center. One subject is collapse weave–a technique I love and have experimented with a lot. Here are a couple of pieces mounted in plexi shadow boxes.
Pink Creature has been in a previous blog. Do a Search for it on the home page.
Ashenhurt and other sett charts tell you the setts for balanced weaves–where both the warp and the weft show equally. Weavers often don’t want both to show equally, they may want the warp to predominate in some cases, or the weft. Then you adjust the sett from the charts accordingly–more warps per inch (epi) for a warp predominate fabric or fewer epi for a weft predominate cloth. Read more in my new book, Weaving for Beginners, in the chapter on sett. These photos are found on page 277.
I’m still experimenting with sheer this time with a warp of sewing thread instead of the fine silk.
The weft is the lovely gold silk that took me a month to spool off from the skein. It is stiff because it is undegummed. That helps keep the beat open and there are variations in the thickness of the thread which make the cloth look nice.
I was very nervous about the sett–wasn’t sure if it was too open, but wanted the cloth to be sheer for sure. It probably is too open, but of course, I made do. What I had to do was beat gently (which I hate to do) and beat on a closed shed (also don’t like to do). So, it’s going slowly but I’ve got the cloth I’m after. (The next risk: will I be able to make out of it what I have in mind?)
I have reed marks which are just fine–in fact they are a gift. The threads in the reed groups move around randomly which gives a bit of color variation. Nice, so it doesn’t look like commercial cloth. So, the next time, I think I’ll stick to this sett and just go slowly so I can get the color variations. (I made the warp with 10 different spools of thread–so 10 different shades in the warp. Instead of a paddle, I have a wonderful heck block on my reel that I inherited from Jim Ahrens. This allows me to get a thread-by-thread cross.)
The principles of how warps and wefts bend are valuable to understanding a lot about weaving–especially why cloth draws in and causes selvedge threads to break.
The principles apply for so many aspects–for example, for weaving balanced or near balanced fabric, the warp tension must not be too tight. That would prevent the warps from bending. If the tension is too tight, the warps will be straight and that will force the wefts to do all the bending. Besides draw-in problems, the cloth will be more weft face with the wefts beaten down more than for a balanced look.
The warp tension should be just enough to get a shed for fabric that has a balanced look. So many students I see have the tension much too tight. Tight tension is only desirable for weft faced textiles. (Then you must bubble the weft or the draw-in will be too much.)
Here’s how the bending works in different sett (epi) situations,
and how it affects your cloth’s draw-in.
Balanced plain weave is shown in Figure 518a.
“Balanced” means there are the same number of warps per inch (epi) as wefts per inch. You can see that both the warps and the wefts bend or curve. The diagonal of the wefts in the sheds
provides the slack needed to allow for the wefts to bend. The warps bend after the cloth is taken off the loom when there is no longer any tension on them. Remember, you allowed for this occurrence in planning the length of the warp by adding in an allowance for “take-up.” See page 290.
In weft-faced weaving, the warps are straight and the wefts do all the bending. See Figure 518b. Notice that the warps are farther apart than for balanced plain weave. Fewer ends per inch (epi) force the wefts to bend so much that there needs to be much more weft in the shed than for balanced weaves. To allow for the yarn to bend over and under the warp threads, more diagonal, or
even bubbling of the weft is needed. Read about bubbling on page 128.
In Figure 518c, the warps are very close together (more ends per inch), and they are bending, but the wefts are straight. This is warp-faced plain weave. Warps that close force the wefts to be straight. These warps take up much more than those in balanced weaving do, because they have to curve so much over and under the wefts. Less slack or weft diagonal is needed because the wefts are straight and do not bend.
I hope you’ll check out the close-up enlargements of the blue silk pieces in my recent posts (and this one, too.)
I had another photo shoot today. It was absolutely wonderful to see the close-up details possible with a digital camera and a great photographer who knows how to photograph textiles.
This piece is fun. Do you know what it is? (40 shafts! with a manual dobby–maybe not worth all the work pegging.)