Warp Speed

Weaving, that is. Star Trek never had this.

I don’t have pictures yet. Sorry. But I need to write anyway.

I have a SampleIt Loom. Have had for a few years now. I got it soon after I started spinning. If you spin, you have to USE the yarn you make, or the thread you make. But then, you also have to make ENOUGH thread or yarn.

Problem was, I didn’t have enough of any one thing to really DO anything with on the loom, and warping the loom requires space that I did not have. Still don’t. So my loom sits in the corner, lonely and abandoned looking, gathering dust. Too costly to let it do that forever, I WILL use it. But I need a project that I have enough yarn for first.

Stumbled on Band Weaving. Was not impressed. Then I was. It is quite lovely in many patterns. They used to call it Ribbon Weaving, and sometimes Tape Weaving. Look it up, it is easier than me trying to explain and you getting it all wrong.

Shoelaces. You can make shoelaces with this. Decorative ones. In any color you want, provided you can find the thread. I started with crochet thread, bedspread weight cotton. Works good.

It took WEEKS to get from “I want to do THIS” to actually threading a heddle.

First I had to make a loom. I did. A modification of the Beka 4″ wide loom, mine is wider, and shorter. Just 9″ by 12″. Works much the same, but has a design change on the warp board on the back to make it simpler for me to make.

Then I made an even smaller loom, just a 6X9″ frame. I tied on two raddles, and added a 3/4″ by 1/4″ board that is about 8″ long to wind the warp onto. Tied that on, strung the heddle, and made pink and yellow shoelaces. The colors I HAD that I didn’t mind using on a practice product. I now have two 30″ long striped shoelaces that someone in my family will find in their mailbox sometime around Christmas this year.  25 threads wide, ends up about 1/2″ in finished width.

Next are Kevin’s bootlaces. Navy, Light Blue, and Dark Green. These are about 3/8 of an inch wide. They are wool. Handspun wool. It is what I have on hand. I started these on the same tiny loom, but used some clamps instead of string, to make it faster to advance the warp. The loom suddenly went from simple looking to trashy – the clamps are large, with pink handles and grips.

The thing is, weaving by hand is SLOW. And this is a TINY loom. Even the larger one is SMALL. Weaving ribbon is pretty fast as far as passing the shuttle is concerned. The time is lost in advancing the warp .

Warp thread is the long thread that you put through the heddle (look it up). It runs from the back of the loom to the front, and however many warp threads you put on determines in part the width of the end product.

The threads that go back and forth in the shuttle, to form the rows from bottom to top are the Weft. So you weave the weft into the warp, again and again, until you run out of room. Then you advance the warp – you unroll more thread to use at the top, and you roll up (or just reanchor) the finished weaving at the bottom.

There are all sorts of ways that looms handle this one basic function. Some are easy, and some are hard. Some are simple, but take time. If you make a loom by hand, this is one area where you often have to compromise, and accept a more difficult or time consuming method, in order to simplify the pieces and assembly of the loom.

I’m faster now at advancing the warp than on the first set of shoestrings. With those, I wove about 3-4 minutes, and then spent 2-3 minutes advancing the warp. Now it takes less than a minute to advance the warp, but I’m also weaving wool, which is a bit slower since it likes to cling to itself and does not slip easily when the heddle is raised or lowered. It seems to be taking longer to weave this set of laces, even though I’ve gained so much speed on the warp advance.

Band Weaving is a great place to start, because it teaches you patterns in Straight Weave. Straight weave is just back and forth, every other thread, alternating row to row. So if you have a hole and slot heddle you just lift for one row, and drop for the next row. There are literally hundreds of patterns you can create with Straight Weave, just by varying the colors.

With Band Weaving, it is a Compressed Warp style weaving, so all the warp threads get pushed together tight, and you don’t even see the weft threads. It makes it so you only have to worry about the colors on the Warp, in order to work out a pattern. It can be simpler to start out than many other kinds of weaving.

Kevin is weaving on a Peg Loom, and it is Compressed Weft. So the back and forth threads compact down, and you don’t see the warp threads that hold them together. This simplifies the process for him, he only has to worry about getting things right one direction, not two.

There are other things I want to do. But I have to work out how to make the loom do them. There are problems with small looms that cause aggravation for weavers worldwide, and it makes it difficult to produce even work.  Wider and longer finished work compounds those problems, and it gets really awkward to first warp the loom, and then keep the warp from getting all tangled or having uneven tension. I assume there may be solutions. But I cannot find them.

Meanwhile, I CAN make small ribbons. And they make really cool decorative shoelaces.

I am either really crafty creative, or I am really pathetic.

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Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.