Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Part Four: Project 9 - Stage 1

Stage 1: preparation for weaving.
I bought a basic frame loom from a local hardware and craft store - this came with warp attached.
I decided to work with the loom as it was, in the later stages I cut off my samples and went back to stage 1 to learn how to prepare the loom for weaving.

This is the type of loom that I purchased - I was glad it came with the warp on as the instructions were hard to understand (bad translation into English), and it didn't seem to resemble any of the looms that featured on any of the helpful weaving websites.
Basic weaving frame

1) When it came to warping up, the theory is simple - but without clamps to hold my loom in place to get the tension even, it was nearly impossible. However, by using some very heavy chairs to anchor the loom in place, I was able to place the warp thread across the loom with an even tension.
Diagram of the warp threads on the loom
I used a crochet cotton for my warp thread, as the thickness and strength of the cotton was very similar to the warp that was removed from the loom.
Having placed the warp threads on the loom as the diagram above shows, I then rolled the bar on the right back towards the frame in the direction of the arrows.

2) The Shed: When weaving on a simple card loom, the weft (horizontal threads), must go under and over each warp thread. On a loom the warp threads are divided into odds, and evens.
"In the first row of plain weave, all the even threads are lifted up and the weft yarn is inserted between the two layers of threads. The space between the layers is called the shed. In the second row of weaving, all the odd threads are raised and the weft thread is returned through the shed." Course book, p188.
My loom had a bar/shaft which rolled forwards and backwards in order to form the shed - the space between the layers. I made a diagram to illustrate this:
Loom with warp and shaft
Once the shaft (central bar) was placed under the warp threads, and the warp threads were evenly spaced out on the shaft, all I had to do was to roll the bar forwards to lift the even threads, and roll it back to lift to odd threads. Simple:)

3) Beginning to weave: A heading cord gives a firm base for the weaving, and helps to keep the warp threads in place.
"Cut a length of warp thread from your spool, three times the width of the frame. This becomes the heading cord. Double it and then tie or loop one end of the doubled cord to one of the vertical sides of the frame towards the bottom and at the approximate position at which you want to start weaving. Bring the doubled cord towards the first warp thread. Just before you reach it, tie a knot in the cord." Course handbook, p.188
Following the diagram, wrap the cord around each of the warp threads as shown and tie a knot at the other side of the warp, finally tie the remaining cord to the other side of the frame.
Heading cord

The alternative method is to weave a few rows of warp thread - remembering to attach the ends of the thread to the sides of the frame.

Only having achieved this properly for the last sample in Stage 4, I could feel the difference it made when starting to weave. The warp was spaced evenly and there was some resistance when beating down the weft yarn.

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