Thursday, June 20, 2024

Samples Finished

The samples are off the table loom, hand washed, line dried, and pressed.

  • Yarn: 10/2 cotton
  • Sett: 30 e.p.i.
  • Width in reed: 5 and 1/2 inches
  • Width off loom: 4 and 7/8 inches
  • Width after washing and pressing: 4 and 3/4
  • Drafts and on-loom samples in this post, Following Ideas
I tried four ideas, and so have four samples.

Originally "Chain of Hearts," which quickly became "Pumpkin Heads"

Pumpkin Head Plaid

The next two used a different treadling.

"Circle and Cross?" Or "Xs?" My eye wants to focus on the Xs.

That one seemed to work better as a plaid because my eye is clearly drawn to the circles and crosses. The only difference between this one and the one above is the color stripes in the weft.

Circle and Cross Plaid

What was curious about this last sample, is that after washing and drying, I discovered that the fabric puckered.

Before pressing

Some sort of differential shrinkage, but this was the only sample to do this. I think the pattern has potential, but I don't think it would be considered "easy care." Or maybe it's a design feature (???)

For now, I'm just keeping them within viewing range, to see if further inspiration strikes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Following Ideas

I'm guessing this process is a common one. When I weave up a sample, I find myself with a constant mental flow of "what if I . . ." Sound familiar? When my chain of hearts ended up looking more like pumpkin heads . . .

I was a little disappointed, but wasn't going to let a good sample warp go to waste. What else could I try? Something plaid-like? I already had the yellow and orange yarns on bobbins from a previous project. I also chose a bobbin with navy yarn on it that needed to be used up.

I kind of like it, although I think it would be best to repeat the colors in the warp stripes. 
I also like the circles instead of the squares for the check pattern. And I liked that they have some pattern in them. Just not one that looks like a face. 

So back to the draft. Here's the original "chain of hearts."

Here's what I got by simply playing with the treadling.

And this one, by adding weft colors.

The next step was to try it. 

I lost the pumpkin heads, but it doesn't quite look like my computer draft. Let's check the underside.

Still not seeing it. I firmed my beat for the next sample.

Better, and more interesting. Possibly usable. I'm thinking, kitchen of shirt fabric.

  • The beater on my Glimakra is heavy and I have to keep a light touch to make a balanced weave. In other words, it's easy to weave more picks (weft threads) per inch (PPI) than the warp thread count (ends per inch or EPI). The result is a more dense fabric with a squished-looking pattern.
  • The beater on my table loom is very lightweight and it takes effort on my part to get a balanced weave. It's easy to have too few PPI compared to the EPI. The result is a more open fabric with an elongated pattern.
  • Now, I'm wondering how yarn size effects how the pattern looks. Another experiment?

I'm at the end of my sample warp, so I need to get it off the loom and wet finished to see exactly how these look and behave as cloth. I'll do that today.

QUESTION: Do you design out of your head? Do you start with a ready-made draft or invent your own? Do you follow your ideas and inspirations, or work it from another angle? I'm curious!

Friday, June 14, 2024

Chain of Hearts Sample


  • Loom: 4-shaft table loom
  • Yarn: 10/2 cotton for warp and weft
  • Warp length: a little over a yard
  • Warp width in reed: 5.5 inches
  • Sett: 30 e.p.i.

  1. 1 - 3 - 4
  2. 1 - 2 - 3
  3. 2 - 3
  4. 1- 2
  5. 1 - 4
  6. 4


First impression:  They look more like little faces than hearts, lol. 

I think this is because the bottom point of the heart is embedded in the top of the heart. Without color to distinguish one from another, they lose their heart identity. 

  • Sett is good
  • I like the color scheme
  • It's fast to weave, not having to change weft colors
  • I think it could be cute kid fabric, sort of an aliens from a flying saucer theme
  • Or, do the "faces" in orange warp and the remaining warp and weft in black for a jack o'lantern look
  • I don't want to use it for the project I had in mind.

Even so, I will still experiment for as long as I have warp!

Related posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

"Things I Want To Keep Track Of"

Since returning to this blog after a number of years, I've been amazed at what I'm discovering. Because I use this blog as a journal, I find I have a lot of informative posts on things I've studied and what I've experimented with. It's information I want to refer to, but as is the way of the internet, good information gets pushed to the background by new material, until it's either lost or forgotten. For example, my crackle study series. I find myself referring to these posts every time I weave crackle. But now, I have to dig around to find them. I have to hunt through the months and years of my blog archive. Using labels helps, but sometimes it means a lot of posts to scroll through. My "Related Posts" at the end of most blog posts helps too, as long as I get them all updated (which doesn't always happen). 

I've been thinking about a way to organize information, so that I can find it again more easily. What I've come up with is to make a link list in my sidebar. To start, I'm calling it "Things I Want To Keep Track Of," and I've made a beginning. I've created some index pages for this link list which list the links to the relevant blog posts, maybe with an introduction, a photo, and a few notes. 

I'm still going through and organizing posts, so this is a work in progress. Hopefully, it will be an ongoing work in progress. I hope I'm always studying something new and adding to this list for years to come.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

That Cute Hearts Draft: The Evolution of a Project

That cute hearts draft I'm referring to is this one . . . 

Image from from my New Project For the Table Loom post.

It inspired me to enthusiasm, But when Valerie commented that it has some pretty long floats, I thought I'd better take a closer look. The floats skip five threads at regular intervals, which might be okay in some contexts, but also could mean the threads getting caught on something. This was a good reminder of two things:
  1. Just because it's on Pinterest doesn't mean it's a tried and true draft.
  2. Don't neglect sampling.

I played around with it for awhile, to see if I could make improvements, but I could not. So, I looked at a few other drafts with a similar motif. 

This one one is a free Valentine's draft from Handwoven Magazine

I wanted to better preserve the background stripes, so I played around with it in WeaveDreamer.

I like the hearts, but I didn't care for the doo-dads between them. These are what resolve the floats problem, however, so I understand why they're there. 

Then I found this one on Pinterest . . .

The hearts are threaded and treadled the same as in the Handwoven draft, but a circle-like motif is added between the hearts. This was done by adding a 1-2-1 threading between two 4-2-4s. I played around with it a bit, and ended up with this . . .

By changing the warp colors and the treadling, I got my distinct stripes, my hearts as chains of hearts, and no long floats.

I'm not sure if I'm done playing with drafts yet, but this is the one I favor at the moment. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

New Project For the Table Loom

Now that I have a project in progress on the big loom, I've started planning something for my table loom. I have a mental list of utilitarian projects for the big loom, such as rugs for my new loom room and draperies for the dining room. Being large projects, they will take more time, so the table loom will give me the opportunity to play, explore, and experiment to my heart's content on a smaller scale. 

Speaking of hearts, my inspiration for this project is a really cute draft I found the on Pinterest.

For yarn choices, I decided to work with warm colors, which are rarely a first choice for me. But I liked my cottage windows table runner so well, with it's rare-for-me color choices, that I trying it again.

The natural will be the background, the colors will be the hearts.

Being 10/2s, the hearts motifs will be small, and will make a nice hand towel with pretty stripes. 

I'm working up the measurements as we speak, and will soon be able to start measuring the warp. 

Related posts

Monday, June 03, 2024

Dornik Herringbone Throw Rug: Starting to Weave

Once the loom was dressed, I could commence weaving! This is always exciting for me, because I am wondering if what reveals itself on the loom will match the idea I have in my head.

Project Particulars
  • Project: throw rug
  • Pattern: Dornik Herringbone from Mary Meigs Atwater's Recipe Book.
  • Loom: Glimakra 8-shaft countermarch
  • Draft: I showed you screenshots from Recipe Book in my Step Three: Planning That First 8-shaft Project post, but I also created a more modern looking draft with WeaveDesign.

You can click on the image to enlarge it. Davison has the 4-shaft
version of this draft on page 25 of A Handweaver's Pattern Book.

Pretty simple, actually. Atwater states that the benefit of this particular herringbone pattern is that it doesn't produce a three-thread skip at the point of reverse.
  • Yarn: 4-ply medium weight cotton
    • Warp: Peaches & Creme in "Happy Go Lucky" (variegated)
    • Weft: Sugar 'n Cream in sage green
  • Sett: 8 e.p.i.
  • P.P.I.: 15
  • Width in reed: 43⅝ inches
  • Width on loom: 40⅝ inches
  • Projected length: 60 inches or so plus fringe
Weaving Observations
  • It's pretty slow going to start. I'm getting used to the loom again: developing a rhythm with the shuttle, experimenting with how hard to throw it and how hard to beat, best time to advance the warp, when to change beater position, plus getting used to feeling for the next treadle with my feet. 
  • The sett should have been tighter; I should have been thinking "twill." But I'm okay with the results, which I think will work for this rug.
  • Not as tweedy looking as I imagined, but that's okay too.
 So far so good. Hopefully, I'll develop a rhythm and pick up speed soon.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 6: Checking the Shed, Weaving a Header

Continued from Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 5: Tying Up the Lamms & Treadles

Remove the countermarch locking pins

The locking pins keep the jacks (and everything else) from moving.

The shafts shouldn't drop more than slightly.

Evaluate the shed

This involves weaving a couple shots and then pressing each treadle in turn to check the levelness of the bottom of the shed. 

Adjustments needed on both bottom and top

Fortunately, I took good notes on adjusting the shed the first time I set up the Glimakra. That post is here. Plus, I have Joanne Hall's Tying Up the Countermarch Loom (book review here). The summary of the process as follows.

All adjustments to a countermarch loom start at the top. 
  • With locking pins in place, check:
    • That the shafts are centered to the loom. 
    • That the warp runs through the center of the heddle eyes. If it doesn't, then the shafts need to be raised or lowered accordingly by adjusting the cord on the anchor pins on the jacks at the top of the countermarch.
    • That the beater height allows the shed to run through the middle of the reed.
    • That the lamms are level with one another. Adjust if necessary.
  • Remove the locking pins
    • Depress each treadle in turn and examine the shed. 
    • If all the warp ends are level, that's it.
    • If some of them are above or below the others, make notes of which shaft they are on.
To adjust the shed, replace the countermarch locking pins.
  • To adjust the bottom threads of the shed:
    • Start by adjusting treadle cords at the upper lamms. Use your notes.
    • For shafts with warp threads that are too high, shorten the treadle ties.
    • For shafts with warp ends that are below the shed, lengthen the treadle ties.
    • Remove the locking pins and check again. Make more adjustments needed.
  • To adjust the top of the shed:
    • Adjust the treadle cords at the lower lamms, using your list.
    • For threads that run too high, lengthen the treadle ties.
    • For threads that run too low, shorten the treadle ties.
    • Recheck and repeat if needed.
    • Note that this is opposite of what was done with the upper lamms.

Note: Treadles don't have to be even in height.

Weave the header

Couldn't help but be a little nervous. Did I get my shed adjustments right? Did I make any threading mistakes? I caught a few when I sleyed the reed. Did I get the tension even across the warp? I'll find out now!

Things to check:
  • Shed: good
  • Treadle height: comfortable
  • Fell line: straight
  • Threading errors: the only "error" turned out to be a dropped treadle cord
  • The ski shuttle worked well

Next time should go more quickly. For one thing, the shafts and lamms should need no further adjustment in the future. Plus, with this warp, I spent a lot of time researching, reading, re-reading, and comparing notes from various sources. For future reference, I have this blog series to refer to. 

And with that, I'm ready to weave.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Taking My Ashford for a Spin

My Ashford Tradtional is my first spinning wheel. No wait. Actually, my first spinning wheel was a Babe Production Wheel. This is an inexpensive PVC spinning wheel, which was all I could afford at the time. That link will take you to its maker's website. I got a lot of friendly teasing about it at spinning group, but I didn't care. I had a wheel and I was spinning! Later, I took it to spinning demonstrations. I put a length of commercial acrylic yarn on the bobbin and invited interested folk to give it a try. It was a great teaching tool.

Anyway, the Ashford was my first "real" spinning wheel, although later on I mostly used my Kromski Minstrel because its slightly more portable. When Goatldi sent me that lovely Shetland roving . . .

. . . I looked first to my Kromski, but all it's bobbins are full (of ancient singles, which I wasn't ready to deal with). So, I dug around in my spinning equipment drawer and found some empty bobbins for the Ashford. I got it out, dusted it off, and did a quick review on its maintenance. I had to replace the drive band and give it a good oiling, but other than that, it was ready to go!

After a little practice treadling, I secured some of the roving to the leader and cautiously began to spin. I was pleased that my hands remembered what to do. I had forgotten how much I love this. 

Practice is still in order, but with a nudge from Goatldi, I'm spinning again!

Related post

Monday, May 27, 2024

Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 5: Tying Up the Lamms & Treadles

Continued from Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 4: Threading, Sleying, Lashing On 

Tying up the treadles of a countermarch is a big job. The popular jack loom requires only tying up the shafts that rise. With my Schacht Mighty Wolf, treadle tie-up was just a matter of sliding the required shaft cords into the slot on the appropriate treadle. (There's a photo at the top of this post.)

A countermarch, on the other hand, engages all shafts; some rise and the other sink. That means all treadles have to be connected to all shafts. An 8-shaft loom like mine has 8 shafts times 10 treadles. So 80 individual cords need to be attached to the treadles. 

I've got three ways to tie up the treadles of a countermarch loom. Two I've tried, and one I plan to try soon. I'll update this post then.

Preliminary steps

  • Check position of warp
    • Should be centered in the reed and heddle eyes
    • Adjust shafts and beater height as necessary
  • Check the lamms*
    • Should be level and even in height.
    • Adjust if necessary

* Because this is my first warp after re-assembling the loom, tweaking the lamm tie-up and shaft placement should be a one-time job. Once set, future warps shouldn't need it.

The tie-up draft

Example tie-up draft for a countermarch loom

Reading the draft
  • Rows represent the shafts with the bottom being #1. The top row is shaft #8
  • Columns represent the treadles.
  • Xs and Os represent which shafts rise and which shafts sink.
  • Memory tricks for reading CM drafts
    • X as in X marks the spot (to sink the shovel)
    • O are shaped like bubbles which rise

Converting a draft

Most sources will tell you if it's a rising or sinking shed loom draft. If they don't, it's likely a rising shed draft because most American weavers have rising shed (jack) looms. You can make your own CM tie-up draft on graph paper.
  • Fill in the rising shaft squares on the graph with Os.
  • Fill in the remaining graph squares with Xs.
For a sinking shed tie-up (counterbalance loom) 
  • Fill in the sinkng shaft squares on the graph with Xs.
  • Fill in the remaining graph squares with Os.

Tying up the lamms

The lamms are the levers that control whether the shafts rise or sink.

Upper lamms
  • The shorter set of lamms
  • Function to lower the shafts
  • Memory aid: smaller sink
  • Designated by an X on the tie-up draft

 Lower lamms

  • The longer set of lamms
  • Function to raise the shafts
  • Memory aid: lower lift  
  • Designated by an O (or blank) on the tie-up draft
With draft in hand, I start by putting anchor pegs in the holes that don't need to be tied up. So on the upper lamms, I put pegs in the Os. On the lower lamms, I put pegs in the Xs. Then all I need to do is to put the lamm ties in the empty holes.

Tip: a dab of glue on the ends of the ties stiffens them so that it's easier to thread them through the lamms and treadles.

It looks like this when I'm done.

I double check the tie-up when I drop the treadle cords down in front of the each corresponding lower lamm. Each cord should have an empty lamm hole directly beneath it.

Treadle tie-up method 1: traditional

The cords are secured on the bottom of the treadle, with each lamm tie inserted through the corresponding hole in the treadle. 

Loom set-up

Treadles lifted at a height of 6 - 8 inches.

Start with the ties near the back of the loom, which need to be tightest. This is because the angle of the pressed treadle is narrowest at the back of the loom, but sharpest at the front of the loom. Hence more treadle cord is required.

Done. Distance between moving parts (treadles, lamms, & shafts) should be equally spaced.

Advantage to method 1

  • Carries on the tradition of countermarch looms. (Not sure if that's an actual advantage, but I had to think of something positive to say.)


  • Tie-up for lamms and treadles must be changed for each new draft
  • Time consuming
  • Tiring on the back
  • Poking the pegs of the anchor pins into the underside of the treadles must be done by touch.
  • Requires patience

Method 2: skeleton tie-up

Shortly after I got my Glimakra, I started using a skeleton tie-up. Like the table loom, this ties the shafts to their own treadles, so that more than one treadle may need to be engaged depending on the lift work. 

8-shaft skeleton tie-up for a countermarch loom.
O = rising shafts, X = sinking shafts. Details here.

Advantage to method 2
  • Don't have to re-tie the lamms and treadles again
  • Footwork is more complicated

Method 3: Tie-up from the top of the lamms

This method was described in the October 2017 issue of Complex Weavers Journal. I found several blog posts and videos on it, but still had questions. So, I ordered that back issue of CWJ and will give this a try in the near future.

 © May 2024 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal
Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 6: Checking the Shed, Weaving a Header

Friday, May 24, 2024

Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 4: Threading, Sleying, Lashing On

1. Prepare the loom for threading the heddles.

With a large loom, the important thing is to be comfortable. To accommodate heddle threading, I removed the breast and and knee beams. Then I had room to place a chair closer to the heddles.

I'll probably replace the chair with a slightly shorter stool next time.

This next idea I found on Peggy Osterkamp's blog, Threading the Loom Without Mistakes. She credits Jim Ahrens for teaching her this trick. 

A stick, such as an apron rod or broom handle, is hung from the castle. The warp (coming from the warp beam) is draped over the stick as you see below.

Lease sticks are placed in the threading cross and secured so that the cross hangs behind the shafts and easily accessible for threading. You can see a nice diagram at Peggy's blog (link above).

It just a matter of cutting the bottom warp loops to separate the ends and then picking the next one from the cross, threading as you go across the warp.

2. Threading the heddles

With a little experimentation, I found that the warp needs to hang in length to about the top of the lower lamms.

With this length I could easily pull bundles of warp ends through to cut the loop on the bottom from the warping board.

It also gave me enough length to secure the warp in the threaded heddles with a slip knot.

3. Sleying the reed. 

In the beater or not? I chose to lay the reed flat across support sticks. 
  1. Put the breast and knee beams back in place.
  2. Remove lease sticks and holder
  3. Lay the reed horizontally on support sticks
The set-up

This was a good time to double/triple check my threading.

Then the beater is put back on and the reed secured.

4. Lashing the warp onto the front apron rod.

I think tying the warp onto the apron rod is the more common practice, but I like to lash the warp to the front apron rod. I think it's easier to tension it this way. Weaver's preference. I have a photo tutorial here ⇢ How To Lash On a Warp.

The first time I warped this loom I didn't go behind the knee beam so that there was no room for my knees under the warp!

Photo from Warping the Glimakra: The 3 Duhs

I remembered this time.

  • The lashing cord needs to be smooth and 9-10 times the width of the warp.
  • No knots in the cord (one continuous length).
Dressing the Glimakra B2F Step 5: Tying Up the Lamms & Treadles

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Like Christmas in May

My dear friend and weaving enabler Goatldi (from New Life on the Farm New Beginnings blog), told me she was doing some clean up of her yarn stash - would I be interested in anything? I said, surprise me! Yesterday, all this arrived . . .

Colors and sizes that will enhance my stash!

ALSO, in the box I found this . . .

Some of her gorgeous homegrown Shetland roving. It is sooo soft. Just luscious. 

Now, I'm anxious to dust off one of my two spinning wheels. The bobbins for the Kromski are all full, but I rummaged around and found two empties for my Ashford Traditional. So I'm going to need to tune it up and give it a spin. I wonder if spinning is like riding a bicycle? Something one never forgets?

Related post