Archive for June, 2012

Understanding my loom

June 18, 2012

When I finished my second rug last week I decided it was high time I made an effort to understand the workings of my Toika Jeena countermarche loom. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never properly balanced my loom, or rather I must confess I don’t know how to do it! I knew that proper weavers do this before beginning any new project, particularly if they’ve had to change the treadling tie up. When I have changed a tie up it’s been rough and ready guess work to get a decent shed for each of the new treadle lifts. But with the advent of a more serious / dedicated approach to my attempts to weave rugs I felt now was the right moment to ‘understand my loom.

A very small jute warp for balancing my loom

I’ve spent some time this past week reading, thinking, experimenting, making many diagrams with the intention of explaining to myself (convincingly) how the countermarche loom works and how to balance it. Many of the those generous weavers who help each other on the Weavolution website reckon you must first put some sort of warp on the loom before attempting to balance it. So I did. A very small one in jute (see above!) . This is a fibre I particularly want to work with some time soon – makes the hands a little sore though (but I have  the right hand cream . . .). I made a particularly point of not drawing in the warp by allowing more than usual space at the selvedges – correcting the mistake I’d made in the early stages of my second rug. I think this warp should have been at least twice the width, but it’s served its purpose.

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Finishing the Second Rug

June 11, 2012

It’s quite small really, but certainly not perfectly formed. In fact my second rug is a bit of a disappointment. I thought I could do a lot better. I had made some promising samples and practised and practised this pick and pick (or as I discovered today sometimes called Warpway) technique of alternating wefts so that lines or columns are produced running in the direction of the warp. Although I felt I took a bit of a risk in not mirroring the colour sequence (I did mirror the weave pattern), I’m pleased with the effect and am tempted to make this a feature of my preliminary design attempts. The all too evident untidiness at the selvedges has got me thinking hard about the reasons for this – to the extent of wondering if my loom simply isn’t balanced properly – but more of that later.  Here’s the rug as I’d like it viewed – in two halves.

The central pattern appears in both images – so you know. I showed this pattern in a close up in my last blog. Although it looks quite different from the other patterns it’s made from the same pick and pick technique only shifting the sequence of the pattern after every two picks.

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Towards a Second Rug

June 4, 2012

At the beginning of last week I had put a warp of ecru bourette silk on my loom and begun work on a small 96cm x 48cm rug. The intention was to consolidate a number of the weft techniques I’d been practising over a series of samples. I also wanted to develop some of the colour and pattern ideas I’d played with on my last 4 samples. I left last week’s blog at about 12 cm into the rug. I’m now about to hit the half-way mark at 48cm.

Despite what looked like a promising warp and some confident pick and pick weaving at the outset I gradually began to develop problems with the warp pulling in at the edges and the outer ends not retaining the tension they should have.  Even  using the temple I got to a point where I thought I’d have to abandon this project. But I persevered and it may be OK. I know I’ve just got to take even more care with the warp preparation and not allow my concentration to falter! Even before these two problems asserted themselves I discovered this little error.

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