Last night before my head hit the pillow I had a solution to the fan reed problem. I wonder if anyone else came up with it? I’ll wait awhile to see, and then post my solution. The problem was how can straight selvedge-to-selvedge wefts be woven as well as the wavy wefts shown
in my obi.
Lauri asked how the fan reed works to make wavy wefts and well as straight-across ones. When the fan reed is raised and lowered, the spacing in the reed changes to cause warps to be more dense or less dense in areas, making the weft wavy. The waves occur this way: where the warps are close together, the wefts can’t beat down as much so the wefts will be higher so-to-speak. Where the warps are sparse, the wefts beat down significantly more. At first I just thought that if the reed were stationary the wefts would be straight, but there is no place on the reed where the wires are evenly spaced. I, too, wonder how the obi was woven with mostly straight wefts and areas with wavy lines. Any ideas? The obi hangs in my living room, across from the computer where I look at it everyday. I’ll be pondering this question. I hope someone will have the answer.
Read more about fan reeds in my post on January 18, 2011.
Here is my heck block that Jim Ahrens built and used.
This is the view of the whole assembly–the two poles that the heck block rides up and down on, the heck block and the reel itself. My ceiling is higher than the poles Jim made so a board was put in to anchor the poles to.
Jennifer asks for a quick way to warp multiple threads at a time. The most available method for weavers today is to use a paddle. I have a chapter on using various types in my Book #1, “Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.”
Jim Ahrens’ warping mill which I use in my studio has a heck block–a marvelous (and old) mechanism that he made. I am warping 10 ends at once while making a thread-by-thread cross (lease).
This is from Page 16 of my Book #1 ,” Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.” I don’t know if anyone makes them now, AVL did for awhile. You might look them up in old weaving books from Europe. The heck block
The heck is a mechanical way to spread your warp at precisely spaced intervals along the frame of a warping reel. It moves up and down on a vertical support that stands next to the reel, or if the reel is horizontal, it moves back and forth on a support alongside the reel. The central
support of the reel extends beyond the reel and turns with it: a cord wound around this support is attached by a pulley to the heck.
As you turn the reel to measure out your warp, the cord unwinds, and the heck block moves along the length of the reel. As you turn the reel for the return trip, the cord winds back round the pipe, drawing the heck back along its support. Multiple warp ends, which are threaded
into a leasing and tensioning device on the heck block, are carried with the heck
and so are laid down on the reel automatically.
I’ve always been fascinated by illustrations of fan reeds in books. In Japan, I purchased an obi woven with one. I also saw another style which I am calling a “special” fan reed.
The reed must raise and lower to accomplish the variety of spacing. Overhead beaters are ideal. I’m still trying to figure out a way to use one with my underslung beater. At any rate, I do love the wavy lines in the
obi that are caused by the reed. Only a portion of the obi is woven this way; most of it is woven with the wefts going straight across from selvedge to selvedge. Maybe someday I’ll get to my photos from the Japan trip and show cloth woven with the “special” fan reed.
I received a question about weaving the Rep Weave portion of the sampler in my new book, Weaving for Beginners, on Page 127. QUESTION: “I’m not clear on how to weave a few rows that cover exactly the same threads.” ANSWER: Remember, in rep weave, there are two sheds and they always alternate. There are never two consecutive rows of weft that cover exactly the same threads. The look of the cloth is a solid color, but the 1,2 shed ALTERNATES with the 3,4 shed. The solid color is achieved when you use the same color weft for BOTH sheds. With this weave the wefts pack down so you can’t really see the two rows because they appear as one row. So, just remember, always change sheds and alternate them–never repeat the same shed twice.
The incorrect illustration is in the Tying On New Warps chapter, right at the beginning. (Page 99, Figure 142.) It is meant to show the concept for tying on new warp threads BEHIND THE HEDDLES. It really is a much better way of doing it. Most weavers don’t know about this method. Read more in the Weaving Tips section of the blog. Here is the way the illustration should be.
My student today had trouble seeing the floating selvedges. I got the idea to make the threads in a contrasting color! I never thought of doing that in all my years of teaching! It’s so much fun being able to dream up solutions after so many years.