Monday, June 29, 2009

The Elephant in the Room

There’s an elephant in my living room. You know what I mean, something large and obvious that you do your best to ignore. My elephant is a warp weighted loom. It stands in the opening between my living room and my loom room. It has been standing there for a very long time.

The fabric on the loom is a plaid wool that was started as a class project. Perhaps foolishly, I decided that I wanted to put on a warp long enough to have a useful piece of fabric when I was done – 5 yards to be exact.

As a learning experience it was very successful for me (even though I was one of the teachers for the class!) – I learned that it is possible to pack the warp into the tablet woven header band way too tightly. So instead of the recommended sett or 20 – 28 ends per inch for plain weave, I have a sett of 36 – 40 ends per inch. This means a couple things. First, the fabric is warp faced, very warp faced. Second, it’s a bit of a struggle to get a clear shed. Third, the warps sticking together causes abrasion and breakage.

Now it takes a while to weave on a warp weighted loom – longer than on a floor loom (there is a reason they invented those treadles). When it’s hard to get a clear shed it takes even longer. And you’re standing up the whole time. So, are you surprised that my loom is an elephant?

I’ve made a promise to myself. I will finish this project by the end of the summer and nothing goes on the floor loom until the WWL comes down. Stay tuned to this channel for updates.

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