Broken Threads Disaster–My Solution

woven-cloth-finest-threads-2
I’m weaving 125 fine threads per inch so I can weave another ruffle (see my gallery) which I will shibori dye with indigo. Then the ruffle will disappear and appear in the dyed and un-dyed areas.   [click any photo to enlarge]
woven-cloth-finest-threads-3

I’m trying to weave with finer-than-ever silk threads. I should have starched them first but didn’t because I didn’t realize it would be necessary. That would have made the threads stronger.  There are 125 threads per inch and I made more threading errors than I’ve ever made in my life. I have spent hours correcting these almost invisible threads and have lost a few and a few have broken –there are 16 threads to date that are hanging off the back of my loom and I expect I’ll have more as I weave along. Here is a close up of the weaving and one broken thread pinned in. (I’ve been mending the threads with sewing thread so I can see them.)
rig-for-broken-threads-2
I used this stand which I’d used when I was weaving velvet to rig up a way to keep all the threads from tangling. Knowing that the only thread that can’t tangle is one under  tension this is what I did.
rig-for-broken-threads-with-cross-1-2
I took the threads as they came from the warp beam and made a cross to keep them in order. 
rig-cross-only-2

 Here is a close-up of the cross I made to keep the threads in order.
rig-for-broken-threads-with-cross-2-2
To further keep them in order they went through this grid.

spools-for-broken-threads-2
Here is how I tensioned the threads. These are fish net shuttles I used when weaving velvet.

Camp Season Almost Here

Table Looms for Camp
Here are my Structo table looms all ready for the campers later in June. Last year we had great creativity from the 6-11 year-olds. Finally a use for my looms that have been gathering dust n my studio. Last year was a great success so we are going to do it again this year. I always wonder before hand how it will go over. The kids last year were so eager. I made the warps–2 1/2″ wide and then cut cut them off when they are all done and glue the cut ends.

My First Guest Post! Calm Obsession by Regina Potts

Claw for post
I started guest posting with Regina Potts. It all began when she emailed me with a better way to stretch out the cloth on the loom. I suggested using croc clips in my book, Weaving for Beginners. We’ll be collaborating in future posts. I like her idea, her stories, and the way she thinks.
Here it is in PDF format. Just click the post title below
Weighted Claw Temple by Regina Potts

Fine-Threads Saga Part Two: Threading the Heddles!

Peggy post 7-24-15-2
Well, this job will take a good while, but I think it will work out. In my books I show a trick for threading that isn’t really a trick; it’s a technique I always use. Jim Ahrens taught it to us in our Production Weaving classes. What you do is put tension on the threads so they are taut when they are in the lease sticks making it easier to see which is the next thread. I usually use a 3 ½-ounce wrench for a weight (it lives in my apron pocket). WrenchI separate out a bundle of cut warp threads about the thickness of a medium-sized carrot to tension. When you select a strand to thread next you pull it out of the weighted bundle using the threading hook. This is described on page 71 in Weaving for Beginners and on page 51 in Book #2, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps available now in PDF format.  [click any photo to enlarge]
Peggy Osterkamp-2
For these tiny threads I used very small fishing weights and tied many ties along the lengths of small bundles just so none of the threads flew around.Peggy post 7-24-15-3
You can see them hanging down at the back of the loom if you look closely. ( My loom is folded up for threading.) The fishing weights were from weaving velvet one time.

 

Peggy post 7-24-15-4 This photo shows the threads in the lease sticks. Peggy post 7-24-15
This photo shows the threads behind the heddles as they go into the heddles.
Peggy post 7-24-15-5Peggy post 7-24-15-6

These photos show the
threads coming out of the heddles.

Peggy post 7-24-15-6
This last photo shows where I am so far—threads that are in the heddles and held to the side out of the way by a tiny ball of UHU removable putty.

These fantastic photos are by Bob Hemstock, my miraculous web guy.

Think About Using a Paddle – Free PDF

 Free Chapter Cover ClipSince I sent out over 60 copies of my Book #1: Winding a Warp & using a Paddle for my Holiday Gifts, I thought I would point readers to the wealth of information that I wrote about using a paddle. This post (Weaving Tip) includes the complete Chapter 10 which has important information for using any type of paddle. Following that in the book are separate chapters for the two types of paddle. There are descriptions of different types of paddles, too.

If you didn’t get a free book over the holidays, here is your chance to get your own copy 50% off the regular price. This offer will go until February 1. I’ve taught many weavers how to use paddles and everyone feels so empowered afterwards. I hope you will want to try it. I tell you the limitations as well as the reasons why you would want to use one. [if viewing this post in an email and the links below do not work just click here]
©2005 • 3rd printing, revised edition; 138 pages; 195 illustrations. Lie-flat wire-0 binding  •  $39.95  >  January Special 50% Off = $20.00
CLICK HERE to download for free introductory chapter: “Using a Paddle” or click the PayPal button below to order the book.




 

Peggy’s Weaving Studio Update

Peggy Osterkamp’s Weaving Studio

I got 15 small collapse pieces back from the framer in New York who makes may special plexi shadow boxes and had to do some rearranging in the studio to get them on the wall. If you like how they look, let me know and I can give you his contact information.

We decided they would look better with a black background so up went the felt pieces I had and I think they look really nice. They are the small pieces on the black background.

While I was at it, I thought I’d share pictures of the studio as it is just before I leave it for 3 weeks while I am in Japan.
[click first photo for slideshow]

Weaving Keynote Speech

2012 CNCH  Weaving Convention

2012 CNCH Weaving Convention

I spent the month of March preparing my keynote speech for the northern California weaving conference, CNCH. It will be May 17-20 at the Oakland Convention Center. It was a lot of work but fun figuring out what I could say in 1/2 hour. Believe me, there was a lot I had to relegate to the cutting room floor. It was hard to give up so many ideas. Maybe we can make a video and put it on line!

April will be devoted to preparing for my two classes and a retrospective of my work. I’ve already made the list for the exhibit for the labels, but now I need to be sure every piece is prepared and ironed, etc. I’m honored to have this recognition.

The two classes are about collapse weaving and supplementary warp–two of my favorite things. (I’ve signed up for CNCH 2013 to teach them again–also about using the paddle.

Getting the Pegs Needed on Warping Reels

Warping Reel Pegs, Vertical

Warping Reel Pegs, Vertical

While thinking about using the paddle with a warping reel, it occurred to me to show how you can get the pegs you need for the crosses on warping reels. In my books I recommend using 4 pegs for the crosses and usually reels only have 3. This is what I have used to get the needed 4 pegs.

Horizontal Warping Reel Pegs, Detail

Horizontal Warping Reel Pegs, Detail

Warping Reel Pegs, Horizontal

Warping Reel Pegs, Horizontal

These illustrations are from my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle, on pages 33 and 34.

Using a Paddle with a Warping Reel

I received a comment asking about how to use a paddle with a vertical warping reel. In my Book #1, Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle I do discuss this. Here is a clip from the paddle chapter.

paddle and reel

paddle and reel

WHERE TO PLACE THE PADDLE
You want the paddle to be easy to reach, so when you get to the lease pegs, you can easily make the lease and put it onto the pegs.
Other than being clamped to something
approximately at the center of the warping
board as in Figure 118, below, the paddle can be clamped to the bottom of the warping board itself if the height of the board is convenient for you.
Clamping a paddle at a height close to the
pegs on a reel is shown in Figure 119a.

paddle and chair

paddle and chair

Clamping it to the back of a chair works well, too. See Figure 119b.

Also, see below where to place the paddle at a warping board.

Paddle and warping board

Paddle and warping board

Weaving with Varying Warp Tension for Wavy Wefts

Weaving Cloth with Wavy Wefts, close up

Weaving Cloth with Wavy wefts, warp tensions, #2

The photos show tight and loose tension on the warps. this is what makes the wavy wefts. I show the mechanism we put on my 4-shaft loom in a previous post. Search for wavy wefts to see the loom and other posts on wavy wefts. It’s been fun experimenting!

Weaving with an Extra Warp

Weaving with more than one warp is something I really like to do. We call it a “supplementary warp” when in theory, it could be removed and an intact cloth would remain.

“Red Square” was woven on 10 shafts–2 for the foundation warp and 8 for the red warp.

The sewing thread warp I’m weaving on now has a supplementary warp, too. In this case these warps aren’t threaded in heddles, but between them. See more in previous posts.

I weight my supplementary warps with washers that are hanging from shower curtain hooks.

The knot to use (because it is easy to undo and redo as needed) is described in 3 of my books because I think it is so useful. “Weaving for Beginners”, Book #2: “Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps”, and Book #3: “Weaving and Drafting Your Own Cloth”. See the chapter, Two or More Warps in Book #2 for details.

That Special Tie Up: Only Use 4 Treadles!

One tie up for all 4 shaft looms

I received this comment about the tie up I posted. (Search for tying up your treadles.)

 

“Thanks for the tie-up, Peggy! What if you have a 6 treadle loom and want to add a tabby tie-up? Is it best to put it in the middle or on the outside treadles, in your opinion?”

Here’s my opinion:
No, no, no!! The extra treadles just get in the way and offer the chance for mistakes. To do tabby put your foot between the treadles and push 1&3 with one foot and 2&4 with the other. Then you can walk the treadles. Which two treadles to not hook up you can decide on depending on how your feet fit the treadles–and what’s comfortable. Getting comfortable helps avoid mistakes. See page 2 in my third book, Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth.

Bobbin Types for Boat Shuttles

Fit bobbins to cavities

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.

Doubling Stand Mentioned in Handwoven Magazine

Doubling Stand

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”.

Use a Kitestick

Warp wound on a kitestick (click to enlarge)

I got a question from a weaving in Australia about where to get a kitestick.  She read about it in my new book, Weaving for Beginners, and saw me using it on my DVD, Warping the Loom Back to Front

.

A Kitestick

Kitestick: Approximately 1 ½” x ½” x 12″ or
longer.
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.

Temples and Stretchers (Croc Clips)

One more thing about temples and croc clips!

Devices that deal with too much draw-in
If everything about your cloth is just as you want it, but the draw-in is causing the selvedges to break. You can stretch out the warp near the reed so the reed can’t abrade the threads while weaving.

Temple (Click to enlarge)

Temple
A temple is a stretcher that holds the cloth out at the selvedges.
See Figure 529. It allows you to snug the wefts up to the selvedges without breaking the threads during weaving. It may be made of wood or metal. Any temple needs to be
strong. They are available in many widths for weaving wide rugs or narrow placemats.

Cord and clip stretchers

Croc Clips

This stretcher is a variation of a temple that you can make yourself. See Figure 530. The clips are “Crocodile clips” (also called “croc clips”) and are available at hardware stores. They are made to clip tarps and are very inexpensive.

This information is from page 312 in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners” in the chapter on selvedges. For more information, see the tip: “Using a Temple or Stretcher“.

Rigid Heddle Weaving in my New Book

Another comment–it makes me so happy.
“…You did a great job with it (Weaving for  Beginners) and I have referred to it a few times as a budding weaver.

I have a large floor loom that I have not “confronted” yet, and the rigid heddle helped me to understand clearly the basic process and also enlighten me that I knew more than I realized. I was excited to see this section in your great book.”

Japanese Spool Winders

Old Japanese Spool Winder (click to enlarge)

I have had this old spool winder for years–but the arm to guide the thread onto the spool was missing.

New Arm on Old Winder

A friend made a new arm complete with tiny wooden pegs to attach it. When I bought it I loved all the gears. I tried to use it a few years ago, but without the guiding arm it was almost impossibly tedious to both turn the crank and guide the silk onto the spool.

New Spool Winder

So, I bought a new one from Habu Textiles in New York. It’s that winder I used for the skein that took a month to spool off. (see previous post) In the end, I sent the remaining skeins to Habu to spool off. I have several old wooden spools. they look lovely with silk thread wound on them just as they are.

Weights and Croc Clips, Continued

Croc Clips (click on to enlarge)

Here is a welcome response to my post about how much weight to use for using croc clips instead of a temple to hold out the width of the warp. You can read a summary of  my post, below. Read more about temples in the tip section.  The illustration here  is from “Weaving for Beginners” on page 312.

Thank you so much! I have 3 lbs on each side right now, weaving with JaggerSpun Zephyr. It seems to be just right. I started with a temple, but it is one of the new Glimakra ones, these have mean thick teeth that no matter what seem to damage the cloth. The older ones have nice small teeth that cause no damage. That is why I am using the clips. I was uncertain, it was working, but…..was it right? Now I know it is for sure. thanks again!

Here’s a summary of my post.
“I have a question on the weight to put when using the crocodile clamps in place of a temple. …”
I’m not sure of an amount of weight to tell you. You want plenty of weight, that’s for sure–probably more than a pound on each side. What you want to achieve is to have the warp spread out to the width it is in the reed. You need whatever it takes to accomplish that. So much depends on the situation, such as, how wide is the warp and how much does the cloth draw in? I have a lot to say about draw-in in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“–over 12 entries in the index.  (Too much tension on the warp can cause too much draw-in, for example.)
A weaving friend suggested that if you have a very wide warp it probably would be better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

How Much Weight for Croc Clips?

I received this question. “I have a question on the weight to put when using the crocodile clamps in place of a temple. I heard once it should be at least a pound on each side. Is this so? I have used fishing weights and it does not work, I know it needs more than that, but how much?”

Here are my thoughts. Does anyone have more information to tell us?

I’m not sure of an amount of weight to tell you. You want plenty of weight, that’s for sure–probably more than a pound on each side. What you want to achieve is to have the warp spread out to the width it is in the reed. You need whatever it takes to accomplish that. So much depends on the situation, such as, how wide is the warp and how much does the cloth draw in? I have a lot to say about draw-in in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“–over 12 entries in the index.  (Too much tension on the warp can cause too much draw-in, for example.)
A weaving friend suggested that if you have a very wide warp it probably would be better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

An Old Curtain Stretcher

Today while cleaning out my studio I found an old fashion curtain stretcher that I think my aunt used to use. I hate to part with it, but I only used it a few times many years ago, so it must get passed on. It has wooden “sticks” that unfold to form a big rectangle the size of a curtain. The whole thing stands up (wobbly) or leans against a wall. There are pins on all four sides. I used it when stretching and drying some large pieces  I did when I was beginning to weave. There is something else–sticks that make a frame and some metal rods–perhaps it is an upright quilting frame. It is going out into the world, too. I used it once–perhaps to stitch hems on a piece, I can’t remember exactly.