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Monday, June 4, 2018

For Jenn and Dee and anyone else who can sit through a tutorial

Some time ago Jennifer hoped I would post pictures,
and I took pictures, and saved them to post in a continuum.

Eventually I thought, what a bore, and would have skipped the project,
except then Dee asked too. That's a quorum!

Here I am, winding forty bobbins, which will drop forty threads into a two inch bout,
yielding twenty threads per inch. 
This thread is 8/2, which yields excellent "hand" for fabric at 20 epi, and that's the most technical explanation I can give in twenty words or less.




Eleven two inch bouts ready to have thread wound on.


 Forty threads from the spool rack, put through front and back reeds of the tension box, to keep them in order.


The threads go under and over as many pegs as necessary to provide adequate tension. No tension and the threads go on in a sloppy, useless mess.


The silver thread guides keep the threads between the bout dividers.


Two bouts finished, starting on the third of eleven.


At the end of each bout, I tape down the threads, then cut them. I tie an overhand knot in the lose ends, then secure the knot through the next cord. I'm sure the knot has a name; the overhand knot goes through each loop and it's pulled down snug to secure the threads from the spool rack.


All eleven bouts are wound and taped down. The thread guides are back in their little bag.


Next, I lift the taped ends of each bout up and fasten the tape to the yard stick taped to the back beam.


Here is the same thing from the other side. 
When all eleven bouts are up and taped to the yard stick, I count the threads in each bout.
There should be forty. No time like now to go looking for a missing thread.


Now I need to unroll some slack so I can begin threading the heddles. I roll the thread up on the yardstick, then unroll it. My sister used to lift it high over her head and walk backwards. Not that brave.


Now I'm in front of the loom and the threads coming off the warp beam have enough slack to work with. I didn't take a picture, but that assembly on the right end of the warp beam is the brake. The brake is off, to allow the beam to move freely.


This sequence of heddles uses a pattern of sixteen heddles, four on each harness. I count off all sixteen as a group before I begin threading. It helps avoid errors. Unthreading and rethreading hundreds of heddles is no treat. Ask me how I know.


All heddles are threaded, and each group of sixteen tied off in a slip knot. The first bout is threaded through the reed.


Through the reed, and secured again with a slip knot.


Tied up to the cloth beam, and a few inches of "idle weave" to straighten up the bouts.


Four repeats of the towel pattern done. The first eight rows are plain weave, the next eight are twill. Blue jeans are woven in twill. 


Here is the magic. That V is called the shed, and I throw the shuttle back and forth between the changing shedds.


And I change the shedds by stepping on combinations of treadles tied to the harnesses.


The end.

30 comments:

  1. I understood the last two pictures and commentary!! The rest, less so, but thank you for the work you put into trying to teach us mortals :)

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  2. Wow! And wow again! My mother was a weaver in a Yorkshire textile mill. They produce high end worsted suiting. She looked after 6 looms. The noise was deafening. As a young girl, I was frightened because I couldn't hear what I was saying. Everybody learned to lip read. My sister became a mender, i.e. she had to repair errors in the finished cloth. This was done by pulling out an entire thread all the way across and re-doing it with a needle. After 4 or 5 years, most girls stopped when their eyesight deteriorated or they got married.

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    1. I cannot imagine anything harder; walking all day among the six looms, watching the threads like a hawk, breathing all the wool fibers. It's easy to deal with the thread I've wound onto my loom; she had hundreds and hundreds of thread in constant motion from active bobbins, being woven as she watched for a thread to break--on six active looms. My complete admiration and sympathy for her very hard, hard work.

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  3. That took me back...I was an obsessive counter in the set up process.

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  4. I could follow much of what you are saying but I couldn't do it, lol. I love the product.

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  5. When you think about it, humans have been weaving for hundreds and hundreds of years. The basic principal must always have been the same. Who was the brilliant one who devised the actual type of loom that you are showing us in your post? I have learned that when people wove back in Scotland and England as a cottage industry, the loom would take up most of their main room. Looms were dismantled and brought over to North America when they immigrated. You must come from a long line of industrious people, Joanne! -Jenn

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    1. I had a third great grandfather who was a weaver. I'll write a post about looms some day. I do have a great story.

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  6. I'm very impressed. It's the sort of thing I could never learn on my own or from a tutorial. I would need an actual person standing beside me to talk me through each move until I "got it". Doing is how I learn most things.

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    1. We just "did it", River, before the days of internet and YouTube. When I do look at YouTube weaving videos now, I am amused at the vast numbers of ways there are to do the jobs that Jan and I devised our own way of doing, because no one was around to explain it.

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  7. Fascinating. And awe inspiring.
    I feel about it just as I did my mother's bobbin lace. It is beyond me but I am so glad that others are braver, more persistent, more skilled.

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  8. Brilliant, you have just persuaded me never to get out my loom again, threading took forever. You are so good at it and I expect the end result will give you much pleasure. Here in England, archaeological evidence in the bronze age shows rows of loom weights, stones with holes in them, dropped on a hut floor. the loom was vertical of course.

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    1. I was gifted one of those loom weights. Wonderful little thing.

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  9. That is a real magic,i could never do it.

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  10. Hari OM
    As my mother also practiced weaving (albeit a hand-loom), I could follow most of this and like others, am in awe! I do know I treasure the towels I have and the'hand' is LUSH!!! YAM xx

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  11. Oh my, Joanne. With all the concentration that it must take to do all that, we can all see that your brain is working at way above average.

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  12. Sounds so complicated but you make it look easy!

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  13. Holy Crow that sounds complicated. You must have one powerful brain to be able to keep all that straight as you go along.

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  14. That is one complex piece of machinery! Weaving is probably the ultimate "women's craft" -- when you're at your loom, do you feel connected to the untold generations of women before you who have spun and woven the world's fabrics?

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    1. Actually, I think a "woman's profession" only in this country, and then only after the revolution. Weaving was exclusively a male profession, and even in this country, weaving was illegal. Fabric had to be imported (and taxed!). Weaving was illegal. However, over the mountains, men built spinning wheels and built looms and raised sheep and flax. F the King.

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    2. D'oh! Guess I was thinking of Penelope etc of Greek myth fame. Weaving was women's work to them!

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  15. What a wonderful new adventure for you. I am sooooooooo impressed with your skill.

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  16. wow. so much to keep track of before you finally get to the weaving. but towels!

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  17. The next warp I'll tie onto the end of this warp and pull through. No heddles or reed to thread. That took a day.

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  18. Oh my goodness! This must be fun and rewarding for you, the results are fabulous. No such thing as instant gratification in the process! There is a weaver's guild here, They have a show in October. The towels and everyday things are priced accordingly. I bought one , just one, and use it for the middle of the table, it is so beautiful. If anyone uses it as a towel, they will be in big trouble! a Thirty five dollar towel is not a towel.

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  19. That is a lot of work, does it ever get muddled up.
    Merle.............

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