Weaving the Heading: Without Rags or Toilet Paper

When you tie on warps, whether you lace on like I did here, or tie on with surgeon’s knots, you can begin weaving right away without rags, toilet paper, and such. See the solution, below.

This way the warp weaves the width it’s supposed to be and doesn’t splay out. Also it’s not lumpy. Sometimes I begin with the 2-stick heading so I can cut off the knots for a smooth roll-up on the cloth beam. Often, I begin the way I did here, just to see how the sett is and what things will look like. That becomes my sample. Then I make the 2-stick heading when I cut off my sample and other pieces as I go along.

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Throw 3 wefts without beating. Then beat in all 3 at once. You are really not beating hard—more like gently putting the wefts in place. You will feel a bit of resistance as you beat in these 3 wefts. This is how the warps are spread out from their groups in the bundles. The wefts should now be close to or against the knots on the apron rod. If there are still separations in the warp between the warp bundles, repeat the process by weaving in 3 more wefts and then beating them in all at once. Note in the illustration that the wefts extend out beyond the width of the warp. This prevents the warp threads from narrowing in when 3 wefts are to be beaten at once. I weave these wefts as tabby or close to it if tabby can’t be made with a weave structure.

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Tying On: How to Avoid Bending the Apron Rod

The problem:
The apron rod bends.


The solution:
It’s important that the apron rod stays straight. Slip off excess lashing on the rod as shown. You only want lashing on the apron rod to be as wide as the warp that will be tied on. I’ve seen huge dowels to try to prevent bending. That doesn’t work. It will be easy to slip the lashing onto the rod again for wider warps, so don’t worry about that.

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Check the warp tension:
Close your eyes (that’s important; it helps you to concentrate), and use the flat part of your fingers to pat gently across the warp. All the threads should feel the same. If they’re too tight or too loose, they should be re-tensioned.
Don’t agonize. That’s important, too. Unless a bundle of warps feels definitely softer or definitely tighter compared to the  others, it is probably just right.

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I like to tie on with surgeon’s knots. If you need to adjust bundles, just tug one of the tails of the knot to open or loosen it. There is no need to untie, then retie the knot. To tighten a warp bundle, brace the heels of both hands on the apron rod and pull the tails of the knot to cinch the warps tighter.
Complete the surgeon’s knot:
When you’re satisfied that the tension is even, take the tails of the knots and tie them together to complete the final part of the knot. In other words, each knot will consist of the beginning parts of a surgeon’s knot with the final part of the knot on top of it. See my eBook on knots and of course, Weaving for Beginners for how to tie this and other knots for weavers.

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Tying the Lease Sticks Separately

I always recommend having the lease sticks in behind the heddles when weaving. That is because it makes it easy to find where a thread belongs if it breaks. This make repairing go MUCH easier. In cases where the warp threads are fragile or sticky and it’s hard to move them when they are tied together like they usually are, I tie them separately.


Here is a closer view of how I tied the lease sticks separately for my fragile warp threads. Now, they are much easier to move one at a time.


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Here are the cones of the yarns I’m using. It’s always interesting to see how differently the yarns look on and off the cones.


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A close-up of the plied yarn. It varies widely. You can see how vulnerable it is sometimes. It can either break or simply pull apart. However, I love it so am patient.


The black boucle. Perhaps you see why I love it.

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Sleying the Reed with Delicate Warp Yarns

Introduction
I’m finally allowed to go to my studio as of a week or so ago. My friends were talking about a weave structure that looked interesting and they said it was easy to treadle so I wanted to try it. It called for dark and light thread for the warp and weft yarns. I found two cones of yarns I’ve loved and horded for many (I mean many) years. Both wool. A black rather thin loop boucle is for the dark yarn. The light is a two-ply black and white with the white being barely spun and thick and thin so vulnerable to breaking or even pulling apart. I figure they are about the size of 5/2 cotton. The sett is 20 ends per inch (epi).

The widest place in a reed is in the middle as seen in the photo. This keeps fragile threads from abrading where the space is less at the bottom of the reed itself.


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To repeat, to give as much space as possible for fragile yarns to pass through the dents, enter your hook in the middle as shown.


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It’s ideal to select a reed that allows for 2 ends per dent. Rather than 1 end per dent, this wider spacing allows the threads to pass through with less abrasion from the wires of the reed. Also, these boucle yarns need space to pass by one another in the dents.  This is my rule of thumb for ordinary warp yarns, too.


Too check for mistakes, look at the bottom of the reed. It’s easier to see exactly what has been threaded and where at this place in the reed.


Another reason for 2 per dent is that if a knot is in a warp thread, it is likely it can pass through and not get hung up in the reed. In my case, with this plied yarn I’ve found that a knot can’t pass. I can expect repairs. And the thinnest knot is a weaver’s knot which I know well. See my eBook on knots and of course, my book Weaving for Beginners.

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Weave Motions Part Three: Change the Shed

When to change the shed
When to change the shed is immensely important. Change the shed immediately after the beater has hit the fell of the cloth with the beater still against it. The fell locks in the weft as wide as the warp is in the reed—preventing the narrowing in of the cloth. If the cloth becomes too narrow, the outside warp threads will begin to break.


To change the sheds efficiently, try to tie up the treadles so you can “walk the treadles.” That means you alternate your feet as you make the sheds—left, right, left, right, etc. This will be the case if you chose the configuration in the photo. (To make plain weave (tabby) you will press down both left treadles at once with your left foot. Do the same with your right foot for the next shed.) Visualize how much fun it will be to treadle a twill: 1&2, 2&3, 3&4, 4&1.

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If your treadles are in numerical order you can still “walk” them. To lift shafts 1 & 3, first put one foot on the treadle for shaft 1 and then, put your opposite foot on the treadle for shaft 3—you will be using both feet and two treadles, but you’ll be putting your left and right foot on the treadles one at a time. (It is not good for your back to move both feet at once.) For the next shed, put your first foot on the treadle for shaft 2 and then, your opposite foot on the treadle for shaft 4. Now, begin the process again by throwing the shuttle.

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Keep track of which shed to use
Enter your shuttle on the side of the warp where your treadle is down for a particular shed. In other words, if your shuttle is on the right, then you’ll know that the shed to open is the one using the right foot. The photo shows an example of this arrangement with the shuttle being on the right side of the warp and the right treadle being pressed.

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Weave Motions for Good Selvedges Part Two: BEAT

Introduction
I have 5 pages of text and illustrations in my book, Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth on the Beat. This post is taken mostly from Weaving for Beginners. However, I couldn’t resist including how to beat lightly from the Weaving & Drafting book. There’s, a lot more to it if one is interested. Also, I am talking about weaving fabric here, not rugs and textiles that take a much harder or lighter beat.

Swing the beater with one arm; don’t pull it. Tap the weft into place, do not press it in. All my teachers (me, too) say that “beat” is a misnomer. What you want to do, generally, is to place the weft with the beater, not beat it in.
When to beat
This is especially important. Beat immediately after you’ve thrown the shuttle and adjusted the weft diagonal and snugged it up to the outside warp thread. The shed should still be open when you beat.
Your hands on the beater don’t need to be in the middle of the beater, provided the beater is rigid. In fact, when you are throwing the shuttle, the hand on the beater can change from side to side. However, if the beater on your loom is wobbly or flimsy you’ll need to swing the beater with your hand in the center of it.

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The photos show the hand positions on the center of the beater and on the shuttle when beating and when the shuttle enters and exits the shed. (If your beater is not flimsy, your hands can be to the sides of the center—wherever it is comfortable as you reach your hands forward to beat.)
Beat evenly with the same gentle swinging of the beater and with the edge of the cloth (the fell) always about the same distance from the shafts. You can picture it—if the fell is up close to the heddles, you can’t get the same amount of “swing” with the beater as when it is near the breast beam.

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Advance the warp often
If you try to weave too close to the breast beam, the wefts might not beat in straight across—they may curve up at the selvedges with unwoven V-shaped areas appearing at the edges.
To keep the fell of the cloth about mid-way between the breast beam and the heddles, you will need to roll the cloth forward often. This is called “advancing the warp.” You need to advance the warp after weaving about every 2”.


Five ways to beat lighter
In order of my preference:
1. Lessen the tension on the warp.
2. Weave with the fell a bit closer to the shafts.
3. Beat on a closed shed.
4. Beat after changing to the new shed, and even so, forget “beat” and think “nudge”.
5. Increase the density of the warp (sett, epi).

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Weave Motions for Good Selvedges: Part One

Introduction
The way you weave greatly affects the look of your selvedges as well as the woven cloth itself. The 3 stages are: throw, beat, change the shed. This post is about the first step: throw. Parts two and three will address beat and change the shed.

This is a good way to hold the shuttle for both entering the shed and catching the shuttle.


The shuttle should glide along the shuttle race (ledge on the beater at the base of the reed) of the beater. If your loom doesn’t have this ledge, throw the shuttle close to the reed.
If the warp threads on the bottom of your shed aren’t resting on the shuttle race, check the tension on the warp. If the tension is too high, the warps will float above the shuttle race. If adjusting the warp tension doesn’t put the threads on the shuttle race, adjust the height of the beater, if possible. Many looms have this adjustment on the legs of the beater. Sometimes, people put the beater on the loom backwards so the ledge faces the shafts and isn’t available for weaving. If this is the case, don’t change it now—you can still weave. However, do change it before you sley the reed for your next project. The shuttle race should face the weaver as shown. Remember, too, that some looms do not have a shuttle race.

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You want to place the weft in the shed on a diagonal. A diagonal should form naturally from the edge of the woven cloth to the shuttle race. (The edge of the cloth where the last weft was woven is called the fell of the cloth.) Be sure to maintain the diagonal and, keep the shuttle on the shuttle race (or close to the reed). However, there are some special circumstances where you don’t want to place the shuttle on the race.


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Snug up the weft against the outside warp thread, (the selvedge thread)—neither pulling that thread in, nor leaving a loop on the outside of it. I like to snug the weft up until it barely moves that outside thread—just grazes it. This is how good-looking selvedges are made.


Don’t touch the selvedges. You can control the weft at the selvedges with your shuttle. As your shuttle comes out of the shed, press the weft thread onto the shuttle or bobbin and pull on the shuttle to snug the weft into place at the selvedge. For boat shuttles, if your shuttle cavity is open on the bottom of the shuttle you can use your ring finger to stop the bobbin to pull on the weft to snug it in place. (See previous photo.) For shuttles that are closed on the bottom, use your thumb on the bobbin as shown here.

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Separate Selvedges: Part Two

This knot You Need to Learn. It will save time and frustration.

Introduction:
There is a wonderful knot to tie the weights to the threads. It’s easy to undo, which is necessary every time you need to let down the weights for more thread. This is the same knot I tie for weighting supplementary warps, described in my second book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, on page 156. Here it is again along with the steps to tie it. The steps sound more complicated than they are, but if you learn it well, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation in your future weaving life because the knot comes undone quickly.


Step 1
Hold the selvedge supply taut by gripping the warp with the finger of the left hand. In this manner, the warp will be taut throughout the procedure.


Step 2
With the right hand, pull a big loop of warp through the loop of the weight using your finger and thumb. The left hand continues holding the warp taut, but now just uses the 2 fingers shown in the illustration.

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Step 3
With your left hand, adjust your thumb and first two fingers to pinch the warp to the loop of the weight—the right hand still holds the loop of warp.


Step 4
With the right hand, take the loop in front of the left hand’s pinch and then behind the selvedge threads.

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Step 5
Readjust your left thumb and index finger so that they will be able to receive some thread (Step 6). (You are letting go of the weight now, but the fingers of the left hand still hold the threads taut.)


Step 6
Open the pinch in the left hand slightly and accept a small amount from the big loop in the right hand.


Step 7
Pull on the small loop and enlarge it somewhat. Be sure to hold the loop in the right hand, and do not let it be pulled through by the left hand.


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Step 8
With both hands pull down (towards the floor) and cinch the knot tight.


Step 9
To undo the knot, simply pull on the loop that was held in the right hand, drop the weight down, and retie.


Separate Selvedges: Part One

Regular selvedge threads often get tight. The problem is solved by winding separate selvedge threads.  More than anything, you want to keep the selvedge warp threads from tightening up. By weighting them separately from the main warp they can weave and take up without getting tight.
It isn’t hard to do, and it ensures good-looking selvedges that weave without problems. It is more efficient to start with them as separate warps, rather than to find out mid-warp that your selvedge threads are breaking because they are too tight, or that they are becoming so close together that the shed can’t open, or that the wefts at edges are beating down too much as seen in the photo.
When to weight selvedge threads separately
I use separate selvedges for warps that are over 3-5 yards long. I also use them when I begin to weave if I find that the normal warp’s selvedge threads aren’t supporting the wefts as they turn at the edges.


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For separate selvedges, I make 2 tiny warps—one for each selvedge—often, with 4 threads for each. I determine the number of threads to use by the number of shafts in use. That is, if there are 4 shafts, I use 4 threads, if there are 8 shafts, I use 8 threads.  For more shafts, see my book Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth in the chapter on selvedges. They will not be beamed onto the warp beam with the main warp but will hang over the back beam behind the loom with weights providing the tension on them. These threads are made separately from the warp threads, may be different from the warp threads, and are sleyed closer in the reed. (More follows.)
How to measure the threads
Because they will take up more than the main warp, measure out the selvedge threads longer, say, 10% longer than the regular warp threads. Measure out 4 threads making only one cross—a thread-by-thread cross at one end. Be sure you separately make two of these tiny warps. Tie the crosses as usual and make ties at the beginning and end of the warps and at several places in the middle. It will be hard to make real choke ties because the warps are so tiny.
You can wind your little selvedge threads like a little kitestick, on a pencil, bobbin, or small tube, or make a chain. Or use a little piece of cardboard as in the previous post.
Put each little selvedge warp in a plastic bag to keep it from twisting and tangling during weaving.
What threads to use
I double the sett (epi) for the 4 selvedge threads in the outside dents of the reed. However, if the warp threads are too thick to double up, use thinner threads for the selvedge threads. With thinner threads, you can get them closer, and the selvedges look almost machine made. Be sure your threads are plied, smooth, and strong.
Threading the selvedges
Thread the selvedge threads one per heddle, one on each shaft: 4,3,2,1.
Putting the selvedges in the reed
You will put in more threads per dent for the selvedge threads. Since the warp will naturally draw in a bit, it is a good idea not to fight it, and to sley the selvedge threads more densely than the body of the warp to keep the threads from breaking.
I double the sett (epi) for the 4 selvedge thread in the outside dents of the reed.

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If the selvedges build up faster than the rest of the fabric, the threads may be too close together. Threads sleyed too closely may keep the weft from packing in. Also, the selvedges may build up faster than the rest of the cloth if they aren’t weighted enough.


How to weight the threads
I have found the “plastic bag and pencil” way to be satisfactory, and the cardboard, too. I use clothes pins to hold the bag and the warp at the knot together, which helps to prevent twisting.
The weights
I like to use nuts, washers or fishing weights for my selvedges. These “weights” are small enough that I can add or subtract them in small increments to adjust the tension. You can also use plastic bottles filled with the amount of water needed for the weight. As the selvedge threads get woven, the weights and their supply of thread rise up. When they reach the back beam, they need to be let down to just above the floor. A small bag of weights is more convenient than a bottle because it doesn’t have to be let down so often during weaving since it is smaller.
How much weight?
Six to fourteen ounces of weight are needed. I start with 6 ounces and add or subtract, as necessary. The way to know if you need more or less weight is simple. The fell of the cloth will be straight if the weight is correct as in the photo.

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If the fell of the cloth curves up at the edges towards the shafts (making a “smile”,) it means there isn’t enough weight. Sometimes, one selvedge takes more weight than the other does. Do whatever is needed so the fell is straight. 
It’s better to have the selvedge threads a little too loose than too tight. If too tight, the body of the fabric may pucker into the selvedges. It might not be noticeable until the cloth is washed.


If the fell of the cloth curves down at the edges towards the breast beam (making a “frown”.), it means there is too much weight as shown.
When to attach the weights
Weights need a loop of some kind so you can attach the selvedge threads. It can be a loop of string or a metal shower curtain hook.
How to attach the weights
See the next post.


Floating Selvedges Part Two: Adjusting Height and Weight

Adjusting the height –
If the floating selvedge isn’t high enough in the shed for the shuttle to go under it easily, raise the threads by tying loops of string around them and attaching the loops to the castle of your loom. Raise the loops so the floating selvedge threads float in the middle of the open sheds as in the photo.


Adjusting the tension
Since they don’t interlace with the wefts like the main weave, they are likely to get looser as you weave along. You can hook a weight on each one and let it slide along as the warp is advanced as in the photo. Because they don’t get tighter as a rule, they can be beamed on with the regular warp ends.

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If you used separate threads for the floating selvedges, they must be anchored at the back of the loom in some way so there is tension on them for weaving. The next post will talk about how to know how much weight to add.


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I love this idea for winding a selvedge thread. I learned it from the participants in a workshop I taught years ago.


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Selvedges And More, Oh, My! Floating Selvedges Part One

Introduction:
Every new weaver learns about floating selvedges. In case of any doubts, here’s where the shuttle goes and why it works. Upcoming posts will have more in-depth selvedge “talk”.


What:
There will be one extra thread on each side of the warp for the floating selvedges. I sometimes add these two extra threads, and other times I just use the outside threads on the existing warp. (I make new threads if using the two already in the warp will spoil the design at the edge.) Floating selvedges are commonly used when the outside warp thread doesn’t weave into the cloth, or when it isn’t caught often enough because of the structure of the weave.
Why:
These floating selvedges give a warp thread for the weft to go around on every shed, so there is never a thread left dangling out of the cloth at the edge.

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Where:
These floating threads move neither up nor down when the sheds are made but stay in the middle of the sheds.
If you are using threads from your existing warp and the warp has already been threaded, remove the two outside warp threads from their heddles and replace them in the reed. If you are using separately made threads, take them through the castle but not through any heddles and put them in the outside dents of the reed as shown in the previous photo. Tie them on to the cloth apron rod as usual. (How to tension threads made separately follows in the next post.)
When:
I never use floating selvedges unless they are needed because it slows down the weaving a bit. Twills that only weave in one direction do not need them. Only twills that change directions need them, such as herringbone. Use a floating selvedge when two shuttles are used so you don’t have to worry about the rotation of the shuttles to catch the outside thread.

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How to enter the shed:
There is a certain way for the shuttle to enter and exit the sheds to make the wefts always catch the outside warp threads. Here is what I do.
Enter the shuttle into the shed over the floating thread and exit the shuttle under it. It’s easy to push the warp end down with the nose of the shuttle when entering the shed.


How to exit the shed:
The shuttle naturally leaves the shed at the opposite side going under the floating selvedge. There are many ways you can enter and exit the sheds to make the floaters do their job; you just need to do it the same way all the time. I prefer the method here because it’s easy and works naturally with the way the shuttle enters and exits the sheds. Next: Adjusting and tensioning floating selvedges.

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I Just Learned a Tip: A Threading to Catch the Outside Warp Thread for Twills

I love getting comments from my Post readers. And I love learning new things. A comment from Jon gave this threading to catch the outside warp thread. With it you don’t have to think and you don’t need a floating selvedge. I might not use it if I thought I would weave other structures besides twills in a piece, but it beats a floating selvedge if you plan a big twill project. Try to figure out how it works just from the threading.


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Here is the regular 4-shaft twill tie-up. Can you see how a thread is always caught on each edge with every weft shot? Notice the circles in the tie-up. That’s because it’s showing shafts lifted. Remember that bubbles rise.


Now add the treadling. Can you figure out what the edges will look like from this information?


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Here is the complete draft. The edges make a sort of plain weave. Perhaps you could thread more threads for the edges and make a border. Maybe an idea to ponder and worth trying? This is how my mind works—I’d want to do a sample first to see how the two weaves work. Now I’m thinking again…you could thread the edges: 22, 44 and 11, 33 to get a real basket weave on the edges and I think that should surely work with the twill. When I want bands of both twill and plain weave in a cloth, I often use basket weave instead of real plain weave because they both draw in the same.  (If you use plain weave bands, they will turn out to be wider than the twill areas.)

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Pineapple Plants to Cloth: Part Three—Warping

Here is the warping reel. The woman sits in the middle and reaches out to the pegs on either side. In the middle are the pegs for the cross. Children grow up with these processes so it’s in their bones.


Two threads are taken as one on the warping reel. You can barely see them against the man’s blue shirt.


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The threads come from the “pancakes” that came from the bowls from the knot-tying people.


Two pancakes sit in the box. What looks like kitty litter is sprinkled on top to weight down the pancakes so the threads can be drawn off without tangling. This idea could be used by other weavers, I think.

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Here is a photo of me wearing a gorgeous pina cloth dyed in indigo. This is the photo we used the photo for my blog—a rare good picture. I can’t remember who the other woman was but I remember the lovely evening vividly.


Here is what I did with the cloth when I got home. I have bars on my bedroom walls for hanging textiles. I love looking at that piece.

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Pineapple Plants to Cloth: Part Two: Making Threads

Pineapple fibers are too short to be threads for weaving. They are joined with a specific knot to make the long threads needed.


This group of people are knotting the fibers to make long threads.


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This woman has been tying for a long time.


This young girl is showing the joined fibers she has knotted together.


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The threads fall into a bowl as they are tied. Later they are draw out of the bowls for warp threads in this studio—without any snarls!


This “pancake” came from one of the bowls. The threads will be drawn from it for warping. I brought one home just because it was beautiful and fascinated me. The end of the top thread was marked so one knows where to start.

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From Pineapple Plants to Cloth: Part One

The first step is cutting the leaves in the field. Here you can see the length of the leaves and that they all seem to be the same length.


Inside, the process begins. The set-up is on the floor.


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The leaves are stripped.


Then they are scraped. The scraper was a broken plate.

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Finally the leaves are stripped down to the fibers. Next time, how the fibers of a certain length turn into long threads for warps and wefts.

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A Trick when Weaving Twills: How to Catch the Outside Thread

If the trick is not observed:
This photo shows how the outside thread is skipped if the trick is not observed when weaving twill.


Here is the trick:
Always start the twill weaving sequence by entering the shuttle on the even side of the warp. The “even side” refers to the side where the outside thread is threaded in a heddle on an even shaft. For a 4-shaft twill, that would be shaft #4 or shaft #2.

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If you didn’t follow the trick:
If you are weaving along, and you notice the problem, you won’t want to interrupt the sequence of the twill weave. In this situation, you can cut the weft thread and enter the shuttle on the other side of the warp. In other words, if the shuttle was on the right edge of the warp and normally would be entered from that side, cut the weft and enter it from the left side. This procedure might need to be done a couple of times to get the right sequence and side of the warp to work out.

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Of course, you can take the shuttle around the outside warp by hand as you enter the shed. To do this, you’ll take the shuttle around the outside warp thread and place it into the new shed. You can do it every few wefts—just to keep the outside thread woven into the cloth. Another option is to use a floating selvedge. This is the solution I would recommend if the twill changes direction (zig zags).

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Ways to Catch the Outside Thread when Using Two Shuttles

When using two shuttles, you’ll need to do something special to catch in the outside warp threads. Here’s what to do:

Check the area where the shuttle came out of the shed— (at one edge of the warp) and notice if it came out under or over the last warp thread.

If the shuttle comes out under the last warp thread, place that shuttle on the woven cloth closer to the reed. See Shuttle A.

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If the shuttle comes out over the last warp thread, place it on the woven cloth closer to you. See Shuttle B.

I say to myself: “under, away from me” or “over, near me,” to remember what to do.

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Note: If the previous shuttle is in the position where you want to place your new shuttle, slide the previous shuttle out of the way a little bit so you can put this new shuttle where it should be:

away = closer to the reed
near you = nearer the breast beam.

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This intertwines the two wefts at the edge and catches the outside warp threads into the cloth.

What if Your Selvedges Splay Out?

If your outside selvedge threads begin to splay out as shown, there is too much angle in the diagonal of the weft. You must stop this or the warps will just continue to splay out more and more.


To correct this problem, throw the next weft, and while it is still loose in the shed, tug the previous weft at the selvedge, pulling out the tiny bit of excess weft.

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Then, Take up that extra weft in the new shed and beat it in as usual. The tiny bit of slack that is taken out will straighten the warps. When the selvedges are back in place, decrease the angle of the diagonal in your wefts. You should need to make this adjustment only a few times to get the selvedges back in place. If you are throwing the shuttle on the shuttle race as I recommend, the way to decrease the angle is to move the fell of the cloth a little closer to the reed.

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One common selvedge flaw is a characteristic ridge or ripple caused by a combination of too much weft in one shot, and too little weft in the following shot. The ridge is produced by changing the shed before the weft is beaten into place. With each shot the problem becomes worse.

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A Project Finished Four Months Later

Finally after beginning with the idea 4 months ago, this velvet piece is finished! In April when my posts were about velvet fragments I brought back from Italy, I was working on how to mount this piece I loved to be a scroll. I didn’t want a hem at the bottom. (I liked the cut edge.) I ended up using a product similar to “Fray-chek”. I got “Aleene’s Original Stop Fraying” on Amazon. It’s amazing what can be gotten online when one can’t get to JoAnn’s.


The piece hung in my hallway for months clipped onto a yard stick with clothes pins. I didn’t want a hem so knew a regular stick couldn’t work. Finally, it dawned on me to use a beautiful piece of black bamboo. I’ve used it quite a bit and have a “goodly” amount of it in my stash. I think it’s perfect. Then I used mono filament from the bamboo to hang it.

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The background fabric is the gazar silk I first posted about in April. Here is a repeat of a photo of it hanging off my ironing board that shows its body and sheerness. You may remember how I struggled to iron it perfectly. I wanted the background to be perfectly flat—like a scroll. I have had to accept some little puckers. I am realizing that a normal scroll is backed with paper so it can be absolutely flat and a textile is what it is: beautiful, but not paper.

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When Not to Use Packing Paper

Introduction:
Some weavers prefer to use packing sticks rather than paper. I prefer paper because the warp beam builds up so much more if sticks are used.


Sectional warp beam
If your loom has a sectional warp beam like in the photo, you do not need to use packing paper. It is meant to wind the warp in sections. However, you can use a sectional beam like a plain beam. Read on.


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If the sectional beam doesn’t have an apron rod, you’ll have to make one. After that, follow the procedures you do with a plain beam except don’t use packing paper.
Attach a smooth narrow stick or dowel (about ½” diameter) to the cords on the sectional beam with lark’s head knots.
If there are no cords, make some with strong string, not thick or bulky rope. Cut the cords twice the distance from around the beam to where the shafts are like in the photo. Fold each cord in half and knot the ends. Then, attach them to pegs at about 3-4” intervals to the sectional beam with lark’s head knots.
Attach the cords to the apron rod with lark’s head knots. See the end of the post for how to make a lark’s head knot.

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Very large warp beam
If your warp beam’s circumference is very big, say, around 11” or more as in the photo, you don’t need to use packing paper.


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The lark’s head knot
This is another of my favorites that I find I use a lot.


Using Packing Paper When Beaming

Introduction:
When I was teaching I used to say the teacher learned the most. I learned something when I got this comment after a post. “I thought it might be useful to add here that paper also has a grain (I think of it as a warp/weft) and will curl and fold parallel with its ‘warp’ more smoothly. So, folding the sides of the warping paper, if it is held sideways, will crinkle the paper.” I use short pieces of packing paper and I wonder if this person uses continuous packing paper. I’ve not noticed any problems when I have folded my papers for years, but it’s only because I never ran into paper that had such strong grain.


Preparing the Packing Paper
The principle is this: cut the paper 4” wider than your warp is intended to be and about 2” longer than the circumference of the loom’s warp beam. For longer warps, you will need several sheets prepared—say, about one for every yard of warp length. The edges should be folded so they are double strength at the edges—these doubled areas will extend beyond the warp.

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Use heavy paper such as a grocery bag. Cut off the bottom, cut off any handles, and cut along the seam so it lies flat. Fold each of the edges in 1”.


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When winding in the packing paper, be careful that warp threads never travel over the paper folded double at the edges. The warp itself only goes over the single-thickness paper with the folded extensions sticking out to strengthen the paper at the edges. You may put in the paper with the folded part on top or underneath—either way of inserting the paper is all right. Make sure no warp falls on the doubled edges. Remember the comment I mentioned in the introduction. “…that paper also has a grain (I think of it as a warp/weft) and will curl and fold parallel with its ‘warp’ more smoothly.”


A Trick so the paper won’t wrinkle
Also watch for paper that is crinkling or rolling in at an angle. A simple trick prevents this: Insert the paper so that it can be wound with the warp, then turn the beam a bit until the end of the paper catches in. With your thumb and forefinger, take hold at the center of the opposite end of the paper, as in the photo, right in the middle. Hold it taut there as you wind the paper in with the warp so the paper can’t wrinkle.

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When to put in the paper.
My teacher said about every yard. I usually put it in more often. I watch the edges of the warp building up. Just before the edge seems not to be sharp like a cliff or rolling in, is when I put in a new piece of paper. In Japan I noticed that they use small pieces of paper, too, but use them continuously.


I don’t recommend continuous packing paper because it is very difficult to get it wound on without wrinkling, and it builds up the warp beam circumference faster than short pieces put in every yard or so. Winding the warp tightly prevents the layers from biting down into one another so continuous packing paper isn’t necessary.

A Fancy Twill


I can’t remember where I first saw this pattern but I do remember it was called a “fancy twill” and I’ve always called it that. I wove a bit with this thick red silk weft before the pandemic. It’s a twill.

Here is the way it works. In the photo it shows what the warps are doing: 3 up, 2 down, 1 up, and 2 down for each pick. (Just like the fraction shows.) When you design a twill like this, all the numbers need to add up to the number of shafts you are using. In this case, it’s an 8-shaft    “fancy” twill.

Here in the weaving I think you can track the warps up and down by following a weft.

Here is the back side of the cloth.

I wove some of the pattern in white on white with the idea I might see how it would dye. Of course, the pattern doesn’t show up when there’s not contrasting warps and wefts. However, you can make a pattern appear if you change the warp color, say for a border; and have the center part have the warp and weft be the same. I’ve used this idea and like it a lot. It makes me think of Nellie, one of my students. She made an elaborate twill draft for a scarf but made the warp and weft the same except for one tiny inch. All her work didn’t show up except for in that one-inch section of warp. But I took her “idea” to heart.

Look what I found in the Handwoven magazine I got this week! My “Nellie idea”!

What is a Scroll? A Trilogy of Scrolls?

Introduction:

What is a scroll?
My inspiration is Japanese scrolls. They are narrow “wall hangings” that hang in little niches where art is displayed–usually a flower arrangement. Usually they are long and have a nice background with a piece of art mounted on it. I went to an exhibit in Japan a couple of years ago and the artist’s scrolls were many shapes and sizes–all with a background she chose for the art displayed on it. So that is what I’m calling MY scrolls. I’ve been matching up backgrounds and art. Sometimes parts are made by me –woven and/or dyed or things I’ve brought home from many trips. I’ve been under lock down since March 8 and can’t get to my studio where my looms are. I’ve been enjoying looking at what I have in my apartment and using what I have on hand.

Another background cloth from the striped warp in previous posts.

The background this time is plain weave. The warp threads are DMC 6-strand embroidery cotton. Someone gave me two cartons of cones of the stuff we usually see as little tiny skeins. The colors are wonderful and can be subtle. I took some light ones and some dark ones for the stripes. buy singulair online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/singulair.html no prescription


Here is a close up of the art. They are shiny silk squares I cut from fabrics I dyed all with black walnuts a year ago or so. I attached them to pieces of cotton fabric (also black walnut dyed) with a museum-quality double stick tape. I love this tape and use it a lot. I got it from a bookbinding supply place in Brooklyn. The name is Talas. They have an extensive catalog and do online orders. I then attached these pieces to a flannel cloth for just the right amount of body for the hanging.

I’m thinking I have a trilogy—not a triptych; but they might hang together.

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The fabric for the squares in this section was an upholstery fabric, I think. One side is silk, the other is cotton. The squares didn’t like to stay flat with time! However, it shows you how I mounted them with tiny bits of the tape in the middle of the tops of the squares. buy super kamagra online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/super-kamagra.html no prescription

A Weft-faced Twill: Actually, Weft Predominant Twill


Here is another piece I wove for a background for a scroll. You might recognize the warp from the “Three Faces of Karl” scroll in previous posts. I seemed to be wanting to use up things I’d been hoarding in my studio: this time, the black thin wool boucle. And I wanted to show off the boucle which I love and the rough silk as wefts. buy symbicort online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/symbicort.html no prescription


Here is the back side which shows the warp dominating. This was the back when I was weaving and remained so.

Since there is a fat weft and the thin boucle weft, the selvedges naturally go in and out. Thick yarns don’t turn as easily as thin ones at the selvedges, but I didn’t want to lose the idea of the special silk so I let it stick out or turn at the selvedge as it wanted to. buy tadalista online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/tadalista.html no prescription


This is a close-up of the warp face side (the back side). The thick weft is very rough being made of the waste part of silk cocoons. It’s called kibiso. It is very lumpy and sort of flat, and a little paper-like. I dyed it with black walnuts a year ago and kept looking at it until I finally decided to try it.

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“Three Faces…” Revisited: Broken Point and Unbalanced Twills


Someone asked me about the weave structure for the background of this piece in the previous post. I realized there is a story behind it. (Just when I think I’ve run out of post ideas, something comes up to get me going again!)

This is what I intended to weave. Since I was going to use the butcher’s twine that I’d been hoarding for years, I wanted to have the weft dominate the warp to show it off. When I think of twills I usually think of balanced twills where the warp and weft show equally. That can be written as 2/2 twill. In the fraction, the top number represents the number of warps lifted and the bottom number, the warps to be lowered. Regularly the treadling would be 12, 23, 34, 41 etc. And to reverse the direction it would be 41, 34, 32, 21 etc.
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For the weft to dominate over the warp I need to weave a weft faced twill. That would be a 1/3 twill with 1 shaft up and 3, down. 1,2,3,4, and 4,3,2,1. That would be easy with only one shaft lifted at a time and the weft would show a lot and the warp hardly any. (because only 1 warp would be up for each row). In the piece, I wove 16 rows one direction and 16 rows the other.

Besides that, I wanted the points where the direction of the twill changed to be crisp so special attention needed to be made. Normally one might think to change the direction at the point you would treadle 1,2,3,4,3,2,1. The point is often mush or not sharp with that treadling. What you do is at the point of reversal you jump to a specific treadle and to begin the reverse direction. How do you know what to do? Read on.

You make yourself a “twill circle”.  You make a circle and put on it as many points as there are treadles for one repeat. The photo shows the circle I used for a 4-shaft twill. Wherever you end up and are ready to change directions, you jump to the point directly across the circle. In this instance if I ended with treadle 4, the next treadle should be 2. That would be the first shot for the reversed direction. So wherever my 16th row happened to land, I would always know what treadle to start the reversal with. If I ended on 1, then I would begin with 3. The lower circle shows a circle if I were weaving with 8 shafts. If I ended up on treadle 4 I would jump to treadle 8 and if I landed on treadle 5, I would know to jump to treadle 1. buy tricor online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/tricor.html no prescription


However, I decided I liked the wrong side better when it was off the loom! The wrong side is the reverse, with the warp dominating as a 3/1 twill. If you look closely at one row you might be able to see 3 warps up between each single weft. Warp face and weft faced twills can be called unbalanced twills as opposed to balanced twill which would be a 2/2 or 4/4 twill, or 5/5 twill etc. buy valtrex online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/valtrex.html no prescription