Where fiber art, inspiration, and words meet.

Continuing Adventures in Weaving

You may remember I impulse-bought an 8-shaft Ashford table loom from my friends The Fiberists at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival this past fall. Ky’s Christmas present was assembling the loom for me, which he did somewhat belatedly in mid-January.

The Ashford 24″ 8-shaft table loom

Also in January I took a virtual weaving class that wasn’t as helpful as I had hoped. The instructor went through weaving 101 by walking us through measuring a sample warp, dressing the loom, and weave a twill sample. I really could have found the same information from various places online and saved my money but I recognize that part of keeping the fiber arts going is taking classes and fairly compensating teachers. I would just rather buy books, I guess. One reason why I hesitate to take classes is that I do better learning at my own pace. That’s actually the same reason I loathe Youtube videos for most things–I would much rather skim a page than try to find the information I’m looking for skipping around a video and guessing.

Rosepath twill sample with 8397409823740 mistakes
An attempt at Rosepath twill

I might have gotten more out of the class if I hadn’t tried weaving on my little 4-shaft Structo Artcraft table loom ten(!!!) years ago. I didn’t have a warping board then and measured my warp using a complicated system that involved a wire utility shelf and dowels. For the warp and weft of my first sample, I used some handspun, then for the second sample I used some leftover red and white TOFUtsies sock yarn. My first sample was plain weave but the second time around, I tried Rosepath twill with varying success – you can see a few places in the sample where I wove it properly and the rest … well, the rest is an experiment.

My two table looms, side-by-side

I probably could have made this sample, the one with the neon(ish) green warp, on my Structo Artcraft. It is only 80 ends of Harrisville Designs Highland Wool so it should fit on the approximate 9″ of weaving width the Structo has. I also really regretted not threading the Ashford for a Rosepath twill design (1-2-3-4-3-2-1 or similar) instead of a the 1-2-3-4 threading I did do. What am I talking about? The order you pull the warp thread through the heddles (those dangling white things in the middle of the loom) helps determine the pattern you can make in the fabric. The levers on top of the loom move the heddles up and down so you can weave under or over the warp thread. Here, this page might help.

I thought briefly about cutting the warp and retying it, but then decided to just stick with what I’ve got for now. I’ll make something more interesting the next time around. So I’ve been weaving away on my sample, at first following directions (if however briefly) and then I just started fooling around.

Fooling around
A time lapse of the fooling around

I’ve gone completely off script with this sample now and using a leftover sage green bulky weight single with a purple variegated worsted weight mohair yarn. I have no idea what pattern I’m weaving now – it’s the just the same 2 picks/rows repeated. On one, for the thick yarn, I’m lifting shaft 2, and on the other (for the worsted weight) I’m lifting shafts 1, 3, and 4. In the closeup below, I switched the shafts I was lifting for the yarns briefly.

Further fooling around, this time with leftover yarn

I’ve been weaving for about an hour a day. I discovered that I feel most comfortable standing at the loom – my desk chair isn’t tall enough even with something thick in it. Also, I find I need to move around a lot more than I thought I would.

I’d like to finish this sample and then try making some mug rugs with worsted weight cotton because I have a ton of it. For now, I’m just having fun using up yarn that’s been hanging around in my stash.


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