Tips and Tricks for Weaving
These are tips and tricks for weaving compiled by the
Easy way to tell direction of the cross is to have the
top two ties a different color or leave the bottom groups untied.
A “U” shaped piece of cardboard can hold the cross
separate with a paper clip holding yarns in place. *To eliminate the twist
when chaining a warp alternate hands as you chain.
Or instead of chaining wrap the warp around a stick/dowel
like a kite-string. This maintains tension and lessens tangles.
To help keep track of your warp count when winding the
warp place pennies, within easy reach of board or reel, for every 10 ends then
as you go along drop off a penny each time you’ve done 10.
If you have to step away while warping large binder clips
Don’t pinch yarn while winding; the process of winding
the pegs will tension itself. Close your index finger to your thumb and let
the yarn glide through the opening formed by them.
Counting thread should be a different color from rest of
ties and should loop over/tie every inch. A double knot first then a slip knot
works well for this.
For multiple warps a paddle works best. It takes a while
to learn to use it correctly, but it is worth it. A rigid heddle paddle
maintains the cross easily.
Store guide strings labeled with sizes in a Ziploc bag.
Use string which does not stretch. *And a small glass of red wine before
Back to Front:
Use TBTs (tightly bundled ties) to hold firmly.
Cathlena uses a counter and spacer string on the raddle.
Dowels or lease strings hold the cross and maintain
Front to Back:
Measure from the bottom floor brace at the front of the
loom to the back beam. Tie up warp to bottom brace at the measured length.
This provides tension. Now at front beam thread a cord through the cross and
tape down the cord to the beam. This will free your hands while still
maintaining some tension. Use a crisp card, like a throw-away credit card
received in mail or a laminated index card cut to size, as a sley hook. Untie
the choke ties, pull 1st thread from under cord and shove/sley
through the dent. The warp thread wraps itself in a “U” shape around the card
as it is pushed through the dent.
The warp bundle can be tied to the breast beam at the one
yard point with a tight tie.
Or the warp bundle can be wrapped once around the breast
beam letting the hanging bundle supply necessary tension.
An autodenter works well to avoid skipped dents. They are
a bit pricey, but worth it. Available where weaving equipment is sold.
To keep heddles out of the way while threading use a
string with paper/binder clips to pull out of the way.
Also, twist ties, pipe cleaners/chenille stems,
shoelaces, and heavy rubber bands work for most tying purposes.
James's method of threading 4 threads at a time is a
time-saver. Line up 4 heddles in pattern, have 4 threads in hand, pull 1st
thread through heddle but leave looped on threading hook, do not remove from
the hook and move on to the second thread, stick hook through heddle and pull
through again, when all four threads are through the heddles pull all through.
This works for right to left or left to right threading. It reads more
complicated than it is.
For slippery threads such as tencel , rayon, and silk,
spritz with a little water and they won’t slip out of their knots.
A pair of reed holders or c-clamps work well to hold the
reed away from the loom to comfortably sley at a table. The angle can be
adjusted to best suit your needs. This works very well when doing a
complicated warp or pattern.
Lease stick holders which mount to the loom are also like
a second pair of hands. Angel Wings,
, or Jim Hokett’s lease holders, 505-854-3451, are available. Or they can be
easily made with a few power tools.
To hold tension on warp, place the warp between two lathe
strips held together with clamps. Let hang freely.
When winding/beaming on your warp remember to
periodically “pop” your warp. This is a good solid yank.
Weigh broken warp threads with film canisters or medicine
bottles filled with pennies. Or use washers on a big paper clip. And fishing
weights also work well.
For a section of loose droopy warp threads place a dowel
across the section in question and weight with milk bottles filled with water
Empty yarn cones can be used to weigh a repair thread.
Pull the repair thread through the hole in the top of the cone, wind thread on
second cone, top with first cone and let it hang freely.
When treadling walk the pedals on the loom for more
comfort. It is easy to rework a draft to reflect the treadle change. The draft
may look more complicated but it is easier to weave.
Masking (painters, drafters) tape marked with an arrow
can be positioned on the loom showing which direction you are working.
A high contrast sewing thread can be placed in your
weaving at the beginning of a pattern repeat to aid in keeping place and also,
as a checkpoint for the pattern. This thread can be easily pulled out. *Dry
Erase boards, of any size, can be used to mark
pattern sequences, drafts, etc. They can then be marked to show where you
Corrugated cardboard using
T-pins can also work for this.
Divide a pattern into a
section, whatever works best for you, then make it a point to weave that
section without interruption, even if you have to COUNT OUT LOUD!
Blow up drafts on a copy
machine to make the draft easier to read.
Post-It notes can be used as
place markers and a multitude of other uses.
A broken warp thread can be
treated as a supplementary warp and made into a design feature.
When needing a particular
length for a project, such as a scarf, a string with the desired length or a
paper tape (from an adding machine) can be attached to the web at the
beginning of the project. These float out of the way when weaving.
A shedding device for frame
looms can be made with a wooden stick the width of the loom and paper clips
used as heddles.
Set a goal, such as one bobbin
at a time, or whatever you want, to help you maintain a weaving schedule.
Also, make it a point to put
your hobby first, all else will fall into place.
Wind a new warp when you see
the knots appear at the back of your loom. Then you will be ready to start a
new project. project.
Daylight bulbs help immensely.
When you don’t have a swift,
(because it’s not in the budget, you’re too cheap, or you’re in a hotel room
with a new skein that demands to be used immediately), a lampshade works
wonderfully well! Loosen, but don’t remove, the finial on the lamp and get to
spinning. This works best on wide or heavy based lamps with a fabric shade.
The fabric shade helps hold the skein in position. It also works on some
The next time you need to use a floating selvage on a
weaving project, try this: Wind your floating selvage with your warp and tie
it to the warp beam. It can then be weighted as needed. At Sheep to Shawl, a
weight was added to the floating selvages on the 4-shaft loom and it worked
great. You didn’t have to keep letting out the selvage yarn.
Cleaning a Rusty Reed No Chemicals!
Use old rags that you can throw out when you’re done (the rust won’t come out
in the wash). Saturate the rags in white vinegar, wring out and place them along
the length of your rusty, nasty reed. Then wrap up the whole thing in plastic
and leave it for 24 hours. Remove the plastic and rub the rust off with one of
the rags. Now rub the reed with a completely dry cloth and use a hair dryer to
completely dry everything. This works like a miracle!