I bought a stand for my Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom. I had been using it on the dining room table or the kitchen island. However if I am sitting at the dining room table the loom is too high, and if I am standing there it is too low, requiring me to bend over. Standing at the kitchen island works better but not if I want to sit down. The loom stand is the right height for weaving while sitting, but I also have the option of taking the loom off the stand for working on the table or island.
The loom stand came unassembled. I was a bit intimidated about putting it together after hearing that there was a lot of swearing while my uncle assembled the same stand for my aunt. I did not have any trouble at all, so maybe my uncle did not look at the instructions.
I started my first weaving project right away after putting the stand together and attaching the loom. The warping peg was 11 feet away on the dining room table. When I got about 2/3 of the way through with putting the warp threads through the heddle slots and wrapping them around the warping peg, I realized the threads at the beginning were sagging too much. I don’t know if the loom stand moved while I was working, or if I had not pulled the yarns evenly or what. I tried to fix the sagging threads which was challenging because the warp yarn is all one long string. Part of the way through I gave up on that, and decided it was not worth it. There would be a time later in the process to even out the warp yarn lengths.
The next step in the project was winding the 11 feet of warp yarn on to the back beam, with paper between the rounds to keep the tension even. My paper was not quite wide enough. Then I realized that I had missed threading one of the slots in the middle. It was time for a break.
Later I noticed our dog Lyla near the loom, batting at the long warp yarns hanging on the floor. It turns out she had put a nugget of her food under the loom stand. And on a related note, she also kept dragging the Christmas tree skirt across the floor and trying to bury her food under it. I gave up and put tree skirt back in the basement.
This is the first time I have had so many problems trying to warp the loom for a weaving project. I reminded myself that making mistakes is normal, and always a learning process whether you are knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing, or doing any other craft, whether you are just learning or more experienced. At that point it was late in the evening, so I abandoned the project for the day.
I was mentally ready and had a chunk of time to work on the weaving again on a cold, snowy, windy Sunday afternoon while my husband watched football on TV. I decided to have a positive attitude as I took the loom off the stand and moved it back to the dining room table to fix the warping problems. The next photo shows the loom back on the table with the tangled warp yarns stretched out and ready to be tamed.
Untangling the warp threads was a very slow process. I used masking tape to hold them in place as I went along two threads at a time.
With some time and patience, I was able to get the warp yarns separated and evened out, wound on to the back beam, and ready for weaving with the loom back on the new stand.
The first of three towels was blue waffle weave to replace the first one I had made earlier and given away.
For the second towel, I decided to try weaving a row of trees using a pickup stick, from a pattern I found online. Click here if you want to see the video, which also has a link with written instructions. The written pattern was helpful, but also confusing as it was using a different number of warp yarns for the tree pattern, and some other things did not seem to jive with what the video was saying. I figured it out which is good for keeping my brain active, but it took awhile and I was trying to finish this project before leaving for Minneapolis in a few days. After I completed one pattern repeat of the trees, I continued with periodic dotted lines, like the row before and after the trees, in order to get the towel done faster.
By the time I got to the third towel I was running out of time. I had found another pattern called “Windowpane” which is similar to waffle weave, but with eight rows in the pattern instead of six. I ended up doing a sampler towel with a section of yellow plain weave using a textured linen and cotton blend yarn, a section of blue windowpane, and a section of green waffle weave, with plain off white in between. There was some warp yarn left, so I make a narrower washcloth using the yellow textured yarn with waffle weave. The following photo shows the blue waffle weave towel after removing the weaving from the loom. Can you spot the mistake?
After careful examination, I realized I had woven one row with plain weave instead of a pick up stick row. I was able to fix it by weaving in a piece of yarn with the correct pattern using a needle, and then pulling the incorrect row out. It was only the one row that was incorrect within the six row pattern. It could have been a lot worse if I had woven a few rows of the pattern, and then started over with another repeat, in which case I would not have been able to fix it at all.
The next photos show all three towels, after fixing the mistake in the blue towel and then weaving in ends and washing, followed by a close up photo of the row of trees on the second towel. I can tell where I fixed the mistake in the blue towel, due to the difference in the spacing. I hope it will gradually become less obvious over time as towel is used and washed. I am keeping this one, so probably no one will ever know.
The washcloth using up the end of the warp yarn turned out well. I had to remove some of the warp yarns to make it narrower for a square shape. Following are photos of the washcloth next to the blue waffle weave towel to show the scale, and then closer up.
I look forward to weaving more towels and washcloths, while experimenting with patterns and yarns. However time is running out before we leave on our snowbird trip to Arizona with the new fifth wheel trailer. Due to limited space in the RV, I don’t think I will be bringing the loom. 😦