Saturday, October 17, 2009

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

A temple in use

Close up of temple ends - top and bottom

There are several 'hot buttons' in the weaving world.

Warping back to front vs front to back.
Floating selvedges
Using a temple

No doubt there are more, but these three seem to crop up at regular intervals, are hotly debated - with no one changing their minds about their stance - then cool off until the next time it crops up.

I've gotten to the point in my life and weaving career where I don't often participate in these debates any more. Got tired of getting flamed for my input the last time. So I'll talk about my opinion here on my blog and those who want to read can, and those who aren't interested can ignore my pithy comments. :^)

I'm sure that everyone knows that I am highly concerned with weaving with the highest degree of efficiency that I can achieve. So where do I fall on the temple/no temple debate? Smack in the middle.

Over the years I have tried to weave without a temple because using one really does mean that I weave more slowly. Generally I try to weave without one. But there are times....

So in my experience - for whatever that is worth - I have found that it is necessary to use a temple in certain situations.

When using a fine, fragile yarn
When using (some) singles
When trying to weave a dense fabric - e.g. a worsted fabric (this would apply to weft-faced rugs, generally, too, but I don't weave them any more)

Quite frankly if I can figure out how to mount ring/rotary temples on my AVL I would use a temple every time I used the fly shuttle, too.

So that is one item on my shopping list for Convergence - to look once more at the Fireside rotary temples. I've been told that several people have successfully mounted them on an AVL. If it can be done, I'm confident that Doug will figure out a way. I acquired roller temples, but they are large and don't fit easily onto the AVL. Unless I'm willing for Doug to do major surgery on the loom, which I am currently not - so I make do with my trusty Leclerc temple when it's needed.

I don't use it all that often, but when I do I always know where it is and how to use it.

So for people who have never used one, what a temple does is keep the web stretched out to the width of the warp as it comes from the reed. This allows the weft to be beaten in more tightly for dense fabrics than can be done without it.

It also keeps the selvedge threads from being bent inwards, which for a fragile thread like a very fine yarn or a singles, means much fewer problems with broken selvedge ends. Always a good thing!

What a temple does not do is eliminate draw in once the cloth is off the loom.

For some weave structures, like a 1:3 or 3:1 twill, the shed may not clear properly at the selvedges without the temple, causing floats/skips. Which is why I dragged my trusty temple out for the warp shown above - when I wove this warp in a 2:2 twill I had no problems with skips. But when I changed to twill blocks - argh! The temple sorted that out in a hurry. :D

There was one warp that I tried to use the temple on, but the wood grain caught on the very fine threads. I nearly bought a metal temple, but decided that - since the fabric was for samples - I'd ignore the selvedges and cut them off later. :(

To use a temple, tie on as usual. Weave a header about 2 inches long. Set the temple - bottom up - on top of the warp at the reed. Size the temple so that it is just slightly narrower, or exactly the same width (never wider) than the warp in the reed. You need to have the teeth at about 1/4 to 1/8" from the selvedge.

Open the temple at the hinge, setting one end into the selvedge about 1/8 to 1/4" from the edge just below the fell. Set the other side into the opposite selvedge. Push the temple flat and secure with the metal band that prevents the temple from folding. Weave about 3/4 to 1". Open the temple and move to just below the fell. Repeat.

Generally I count how many picks before each advance, then I weave by counting picks, reset temple, count picks, reset temple. I can get into quite a good rhythm doing this. Of course it's slower than not using the temple, but I get much better results in the above situations if I do.

As for pricking my fingers - yes, I've done that once or twice. I soon learned to not grab the temple in a way that would prick fingers.

In the end, if a weaver is happy with their results, they don't need to change a thing. But if they aren't happy ...... then looking at different methods might bring them closer to their goal.

Currently reading The Medieval Underworld by Andrew McCall (Doug wanted to read Diamond Age so I've left my bookmark in the book and am letting him have it first)


Benita said...

I agree with you. I generally don't use a temple, but there are times when I find I have to.

As for warping f2b or b2f, I teach beginning weaving, and find f2b easier for newbie weavers to pick up, so this is the way I generally warp. Mind you, when I warp wide warps, then I think b2f makes more sense.

As for floating selvedges, if I am weaving fabric that is going to be cut into clothing, then I don't bother, no matter what the pattern is. If I am doing anything besides tabby, and the selvedges are going to be seen, then I always use a floating selvedge. I teach my students to use them, although their first sampler does not have them so they can experience what happens if you don't have one.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you for giving such a clear and concise explanation in the use of temples. I do not have any but at times they would have come in handy. Maybe in the future I will try them as I consider myself a beginning weaver.

I feel I was very fortunate when learning to weave because I learned to warp back to front. I have done both but still prefer the back to front.

The blog is most educational and interesting. Thanks for writing it.

Sandra Rude said...

I ordered AVL's temple rollers for the new loom. I figure I use the tarp clamp stretchers often enough that it would be handy on the new loom to have a temple that doesn't slow the weaving down. Jacquard weaving is probably slow enough without having to move the temple every inch :)

The two toothed temple I own will be sold with the Glimakra. I don't like teeth!

kaylyn said...

Hi; thank-you for your interesting post. I dress my loom B2f which I find very easy. However, it's also useful to know the other method (F2b); it might prove preferable to use it in some specialised context.

I'm particularly interested in your comments about using and positioning a temple. I have been extending mine to fit the weaving width of my project, but recently I received advice (and in your post, you seem to be making the same point), that a temple should be stretched to 1cm less than the weaving width. If so, where does one accurately position the teeth; on the outermost warp end on each selvedge? Regards.

Laura said...

The teeth should be set into the selvedge as close as possible to the selvedge without damaging it.

If I understand you correctly you are just setting it to the width of the weaving at the fell line? This position does not stretch the warp out to its width in the reed and therefore does not do the job it is supposed to be doing.

kaylyn said...

Hi Laura; I think I described it wrongly.

In fact, I place the temple upside down on the warp ends at the reed, and adjust the width of the temple according to the width of the warp in the reed.

I try to get the measurement as close as possible, but clearly, if it falls a fraction short, it's preferable?

When using fine warp ends is it advisable to place the teeth in the outermost end on each side?

Also, how does one deal with floating selvedges?

Thanks again for your help.

Laura said...

Hi Kaylyn,

Okay - it sounds like you're on the right track.

I don't put the teeth into the very last thread, but a little further in. There has to be sufficient cloth for the teeth to 'bite' without damaging the threads. Always better to go slightly narrower than wider than the width in the reed, I think.

Since I never use a floating selvedge, that isn't an issue for me.


kaylyn said...

Thanks Laura; your comments and advice have been very helpful.

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

An anecdote: my old loom is 115 cm wide, but takes 120 cm reeds. In a couple of instances I have woven 120 cm wide curtain material - with the help of a temple, of course. With the fell as far as possible from the breast beam, the temple held the width, and the material was then folded to the breat beam width...
Maybe not something to recommend, but it worked!

Nancy C said...

It really is a decision based on pragmatism. If you need to use a temple/floating selvedge etc etc you use it. I think the arguments blaze more between non-pros than pros, who tend to have a "whatever it takes to get this done efficiently and quickly."
NOT putting down the non-pro, but, let's face it, when time=money you tend to get less finicky about how you get there (without sacrificing quality, of course.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blogs. I check it every day and have learned a great deal. Stay well and keep weaving.

Sharon Schulze said...

A floating selvedge and a temple work just fine together since the temple only goes into the woven cloth so the floating selvedge is already in place. You can't put the teeth in only the floating selvedge but that's not such a good idea anyway - putting the temple a few threads in gives a sturdier bite into the cloth. And if the yarn is very fragile having the temple a few ends in keeps from popping that outside thread, right?

I use floating selvedges sometimes and they don't really bother me but since studying with Laura in Canada I haven't used them - but I also haven't done anything exotic. When the time comes one thing I will probably consider is the combination of fatness of the warp yarn and the pattern being used. If I get loops and deep dips because I have something set at , say, 8-10 epi I would use a floating selvedge. But I won't if I don't have to because it really is much faster to be able to get a nice fast rhythm going.

As for the debates - it's not just pros vs. the non-pros and the pros are not always concerned mostly with efficiency. Sometimes it seems like it's a match up between the people who MUST BE RIGHT and the folks who DO NOT WANT CONFLICT. But at least it's predictable!

kaylyn said...

Thank-you Sharon, and again, thank-you Laura; your technical advice and suggestions are hugely helpful.