Due to some advice from one of the ladies on the yahoo weaving group I joined, I discovered a threading error which is what resulted in the bad sheds. In this photo here you can see how the purple thread cuts over the top of the pink one?
I had several of these throughout the width of the warp, one I recalled thinking “it should be ok, it’ll sort itself out I’m sure” and the rest I simply didn’t see. The reason was this, say I had only 4 warp threads, Thread number one should go into the first heddle on shaft number one, thread two onto shaft two, three onto three and four onto four, however, I had crossed threads behind the back beam and hadn’t realised it, so what at first glance liked correct actually ended up with thread one in shaft one, but thread two in say shaft 3 and thread three in shaft 2, or something of that nature.
Once I realised that correcting this would mean removing about 1/8th of the warp, and I decided to just take it all out and start again. This of course meant that I could put the warp threads over the back beam this time (which I did). I didn’t actually mind redoing the entire thing, I really do like this stage of warping the loom, I find threading the heddles and sleying the reed to be peaceful activities for the most part.
So, long story short, my loom is now thread correctly, I’m producing a lovely shed and I’ve actually woven about 30cm’s of fabric. It’s ugly, the selvedges are horrible and the betting is inconsistent, but it’s a start and I’m learning a great deal from the experience.
At the moment I’m concentrating on trying to get a good rhythm of throw-beat-change-feet as recommend by Peggy Osterkamp. I’m finding her 3 books and DVD to be invaluable resources right now. I’m finding that things are a little uncoordinated at the moment, I’m having trouble lifting my legs up to depress the peddles, I’m going to try with a taller chair to see if that helps. If you look at the photo above, I believe that most of my beating errors have happened at the times I’ve dropped the shuttle, next time it happens I think I will put a pin in and check it once I’ve moved on a few more inches.
Currently I’ve weaving with a 2ply yarn from Touch yarns, it’s lovely stuff and the closest match I could find to the warp. I’m going to attempt to dye some of the white wool pink, blue and black so that I can have a bit of a play with colour and then I guess I should start thinking about an actual project.
I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has posted advice and resources to help me figure out my error. I’m storing it all away for future trouble shooting.
edit – one other thing that I found invaluable from Peggy’s books was the simple hint that your boat shuttle should slide along the bottom edge of your beater, if it has one, and the bottom of your sheds should rest on that same shelf. When I had a quick go on this loom at the previous owners house, he never mentioned this, even when I was trying to throw the shuttle across the unsupported warp threads! I would have kept doing that and wondering why my shuttle kept falling down. USE THE SHELF! 🙂