Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's That Sinking Feeling

Tough day...nothing completed...or at least nothing to photograph... spent the afternoon re-warping my new six foot tapestry loom.

There were three reasons for re-warping:

FIRST: I couldn't figure out how to keep the weft from sinking down and around the lower beam. The instructions said I had to wind at least one full turn of warp around the lower beam before I tightened the tension. That leaves lots of room for the weft to gradually sink as one beats. I had wove some thick yarn in first, followed by some twining and double half hitches but nothing seemed to keep that weft from sinking down and around the beam.

SECOND: The heddle bar was set too low as well as the cartoon holder. When we put it together we weren't one hundred percent sure how everything worked so we just put things where we thought they made sense.

And FINALLY, the warp was starting to have that frayed look so I figured I might as well re-warp with stronger warp material. This loom can really set a tight tension. I have never woven on anything that can get that tight.

I sent out a SOS on the tapestry list to see if anyone had any suggestions for my sinking weft. Some of the ideas included -

  1. Weave a header with cotton seine twine warp. Expect it to sink a bit especially at the sides but level it by filling in with the cotton twine. I should weave to the point it stops sinking and remains level. Then twine, weave another warp header and twine again before starting the tapestry.
  2. Another idea is to weave in old one inch plastic Venetian blinds slats to provide a solid base. They provide a straight filler which will not sink.
  3. Begin by tying the warp as a weft to the side of the loom; weave across, tie to the other side, weave back and tie back to the starting side. Do three and a half passes through the warp and tie it each time with strong tension. Do the spacing weft passes next. Then weave the tapestry. If and when the warp needs to be forwarded, remove the tied ends on the sides - the tapestry should not slide on the warp.

I am trying out the second idea. One of my friends saw the posting and called saying she had some of those slats from Venetian blinds under her loom collecting dust. They are now dusted and waiting on my studio floor to be woven.

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