Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Taming the Rigid Heddle Loom - Maybe!

rough sleying the rigid heddle reed - just like I do 'ordinary' reeds for floor looms

beaming the same way I do a floor loom - vinyl wallpaper warp packing

threading the heddle - the cross was transferred behind the heddle for threading

weaving commences - notice weft is wound onto the shuttle by figure 8's on the spine - this puts the yarn where the shed is the biggest for ease of passsage

After waiting for several weeks for Doug to find the time to finish the wood and assemble the loom, I decided tonight was the night to get it set up and operating.

Since I don't have a table - or space - sufficient to wind a warp long enough using Ashford's warping peg method, and since I am a weaver with a whole studio full of weaving tools - I wound a warp the usual way on my warping board. It's about 2.5 meters, which should be long enough for a scarf given that I can use the loom waste for the fringes.

The yarn is a thick and thin wool that I dyed a while ago and wrapped to around 6 epi. I only have a 7.5 and a 12.5 heddle so I used the 7.5 with a finer yarn planned for weft. (My mom gave me a bag of old - and I do mean old! - Patton's yarn. Since I'm encouraging her in reducing her stash I told her that of course I could use it! Should make good weft yarn for this scarf. And several others, to boot...)

As well as wind the warp I also had to make final adjustments to the loom so set up took a bit longer than it will in the future.

The Ashford rigid heddle loom comes with these nifty plastic thingees to attach the apron rods to the beams. I knew right away that wouldn't work for me on the back beam so I rooted in my studio to find the spool of TexSolv tie up cord and attached the beam with that. I tried the plastic gizmos on the front but already I can tell they will be exchanged for more tie up cord as soon as this warp comes off.

But one thing I have already learned - the space constraints due to the small size of the loom are going to make threading two heddles so I can weave twills a bit of a nuisance. I'm going to read through Betty Davenport's book and see if she has any suggestions for making this easier.

One thing I do know, reducing the size of my hands isn't an option! :^)


littlegarth lochmaben said...

Laura - I am really interested in your rigid heddle work ! I have a 4 harness Harrisville loom at home but we have a weekend cottage on the east of Scotland with no loom ! Husband has bought me the 20" knitters loom with double heddle set and extra heddles for Christmas. I have Beth Davenport's book and am all set to go ! I don't mind a few wooly scarves to get started but would like to progress to twills before too long so am watching you very carefully !!!
By the way I have just finished two 10/2 scarves in Tencel using your snowflake pattern from Weaver's. What a beauttiful pattern I am thrilled with it. Many thanks

Laura said...

Hi Dorothy,

The twill set up looks fairly straight forward - a bit fiddly to thread the two heddles, but I think I've figured out how to do it. At least how I'll *try* to do it. :)

Today I have to thread the *big* loom and get started on the afghans over the weekend.


little garth lochmaben said...

Laura - many thanks for your reply. Loom has to stay in the box until Christmas ! I think I will get Beth Davenport's other book on rigid heddle weaving and keep an eye on Syne from Weavecast also.
Looking forward to hearing more from you though along with your great pictures !
Congratulations on the dealership !