Putting the warp onto the loom

I’m about to transfer my 30/2 Ne Cotton warp chains onto the sectional wheel on my dobby loom. Before I do this I thought I’d go over the teething warp tie-on that I did with Karuna first, luckily I took photos to help remind me, so here we go:

Warping onto a sectional warp beam on an AVL 16 shaft dobby loom

Once you’ve created your chains it’s time to take them to the back of your loom

Hook the lease sticks over the raddle to support it and keep both your hands free for tying on to the lead cords.Makes sure you’ve put your lease sticks, one on each side of the cross.

Secure sections by tying a knot in the end of the section and then make a loop with your lead yarn (from the sectional warp beam) and hook it around your knot and pull tight. A great example of this can be found here.

Apply even tension as you wind the sectional warp beam and start rolling it on. This is where a second person comes in really really handy, while one of you turns the sectional warp beam, the other one applies tension to the warp threads and ensures everything stays snag free.

Once most of the yarn has been wound onto the sectional warp beam, tie the two chains into a loose knots leaving enough yarn to thread your heddles and tie on to the front beam

Remove lease sticks from raddle and pass through rollers


Pull towards front of loom and place two extra lease sticks under the lease sticks holding the threading cross to support it at the back of the shafts.

I placed a smidgen on blue-tac under each spare leas stick onto the loom frame, providing supporting so everything held steady and didn’t slip off

Support sticks seen from the front resting on front apron rod

Now it’s time to thread the heddles!

I thread from left to right, dividing the heddles in half, one set on each side of the shaft and then I count out from the left the required number of heddles to be used, in total, for that shaft, then do the same for the other 15 shafts. I then find my first 4 warp ends, note that this is of course where your cross comes in handy because each thread is in order and you can clearly see which is the first thread and the next etc. Put one thread between your fingers and using your threading hook, pull the first thread through the eye of the first heddle and follow in using your threading plan.

I might do a post with more details of threading heddles and tying onto the apron rod at another time, but that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope this is helpful to to others, it’s helped me with my cotton warp.

Regarding my cotton warp, I’ve decided two things – I want an AVL warping wheel! Cotton does not like to sit nicely once it’s been put under tension on the warping mill and then chained off. THe threads relax and twist around each other, the wool did that too but was a hell of a lot easier to separate. And secondly, I need some way to secure my sectional warp beam so that it doesn’t move when I pull the yarn been warped on. If I could do that I could probably warp on by myself.


Post #1 – Weaving update

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! 🙂

More weaving

For the last little while I’ve been a little obsessed with my weaving. I’ve finished warping up the hand towels from the Ashford book of Rigid Heddle weaving, I really don’t like their cotton but I’ve stuck with it and now it’s all ready to start weaving.

One of the reasons I really don’t like this cotton (not that I’ve used much else before of course) is it has this horrible tendency to kink, which is a real pain in the butt when your trying to tension the warp. You can see in the next picture some loose warp threads already:

I’m going to attempt to tighten these with pieces of dowel or similar as I go *fingers crossed* I would like to get some other 8/2 cotton and compare them.

More importantly I’ve been having some fun warping up my countermarch loom. Before threading the heddles I used a reed from my RH loom in place of a raddle and split the warp threads into groups of 4 (1 for each shaft) and then placed these groups into a dent in the reed.

Then I proceeded to thread the heddles on each of the 4 shafts, starting from the first heddle in shaft 1 and then the 1st heddle in shaft 2 etc, tying them off into bundles of 10 as I went, when I say “bundles of 10” I actually mean bundles of 40, 10 heddles per shaft.

Then I hung the reed from the beater holders so that it was laying horizontal just in front of the heddles. My goal was to sley 2 ends per dent (1-2 meaning, 1 end per heddle, 2 ends per dent).  Before sleying the reed I worked out how many dents I would be using, I found that I would have 12.4″ (or 124 dents ’cause I’m using a 10 dent reed) spare on each side of the reed.

I have no idea if I did this stage correctly but what I did was to take a group of 4 ends and place the end on the 1st & 2nd heddle into the first dent in the reed and the 3rd & 4th end into the second dent on the reed.

Here you can just see the 2 ends in each dent.

I proceeded in this manner all the way along, tying off groups of 5 heddles (20 ends) under the reed. I then replaced the beater onto it’s holders and placed the sleyed reed into it’s holder in the beater. 

Looking good, right? I thought so, I continued and tied the warp threads to the cloth beam.

Ok, time to get everything tensioned nicely by going to the back of the loom and patting the warp threads.

Can you see the problem in the following photo boys and girls?

That’s right, I forgot to draw the warp threads around the back beam! Idiot! But we have a solution (thank you husband mine)

Unfortunately this rod has a tendency to bow in the middle so I need to replace it with something sturdier, just not tonight. 

My next big adventure will be in getting the proper treadle tie-up working, creating a good shed and then maybe doing some actual weaving (what a novel idea). I did play with tie-up before warping the loom, there are lots of photos but I’m done with the posting for the night I think.