elenahpowell

Insert suitably punny comment about looms here

In Collections, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Rambling, Weaving on March 7, 2015 at 1:10 pm

So I got…some looms. Three. I wasn’t expecting three, but that’s the joy of eBay. They came yesterday, very impressively all fitting into one box. A huge box.

I thought I’d got a slighter bigger table loom (although with less shafts) and an inkle loom (for weaving bands), turns out there was a rigid heddle loom in there too (it looked like a pile of sticks). It was a job lot of stuff, so there’s some random bits of crap (most of which came in two cat food boxes), some acrylic yarn that I probably won’t use and a lot of diy-ed stick shuttles (I don’t much like stick shuttles), and two pieces of fabric woven on the table loom. And the inkle loom came with the most rickety table, it’s more annoying than useful really. Think it’s just going to be easier to have it on an actual table.

Not many pictures because I was too busy a) going oh dear me what have I done and b) figuring out what belonged to what and c) cackling at the stack of knitting magazines that I didn’t ask for but got anyway. They’re brilliant. I’ll have to do something with them.

This is most of it.

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Also note the new warping frame – it goes up to 11m long! The rigid heddle is off at the side somewhere.

Both the inkle and table loom came with warps on, I tried using the warps on the inkle loom but the tension was so knackered it was pointless (so I very quickly strung it up and did a tiny little band, IT’S GREAT). With the table loom it looked like someone had just wrapped some thread around it in the hopes of making it look like it was working, what actually happened was the back apron (which is literally an apron on this, a piece of canvas and a stick that the warp is attached to before threading) had been cut off for some reason, and everything wound to the front apron. Untangle it all and you find a piece of weaving, I have plans for it. Again, it was acrylic and not worth saving to use again because it’s just not very nice to weave with.  (The pink thing on top is what I did on the inkle loom.)

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It looks like/was sold as a Dryad loom, but there’s no label thing anywhere that I can see – so who knows, and goodness knows how old it is. If it is a Dryad one that’s…freaky – Dryad was based in Leicester, that’s where I’m from innit.

I have absolutely no idea why someone thought screwing two bits of mismatched wood to the base was a good idea, wasn’t even level! The amount of dust and crud that came out when I took it off… There is absolutely no reason why you’d do that, it’s not like it was holding it together or anything, it was just holding crap in. The reed was pretty grim – in fact all of it was pretty grim, it still needs a bit of love. That yarn must have been on there a long time. But now it’s cleaned up it looks to be fine (which is good, I didn’t fancy trying to find a reed that’d fit). The shafts are a little on the rusty side, and the threads could probably do with being replaced, but they’re functional for now. I’ll need to diy something to stop one of them popping out of it’s track though. I’m going to need to get more heddles – but that can wait a while, simply because putting heddles on is going to be a nightmare (I’m going to have to unscrew the castle where the shafts sit and then somehow unscrew each shaft to get the heddles on). It doesn’t fold up like the first loom, but I should be able to unscrew it into two pieces.

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Theoretically it might be possible to have an extra four shafts made up to make it an eight shaft loom – there isn’t much space at the back, so it’d probably have to be two in front and two behind the existing four. It’d just make it a lot more flexible, and I could do more complex patterns on a bigger scale. It’s about 21″ across (instead of 16″ on the other one), so not a whole lot bigger, but noticeable. I really don’t have the sort of brain to figure it out (3d things aahhh!) but it should be possible…

I’ve come up with a solution for the missing back apron using a stick, a ring binder clip and lots of string. It’ll be fine.

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And this is the rigid heddle loom which is, in principle, very similar to the inkle loom (although INKLE what a word). It’s an old Spears one as far as I can tell (furious googling last night). Although you can use inkle looms for card/tablet weaving, which means text is possible! I can make labels! How nice would it be to weave title labels for bits of work…? Just me?

Anyway. It’s far less flexible than the table looms – there are only two options, up and down. For the inkle loom heddles are made from string and attached one by one as you wind the warp on, on this loom it’s just that white thing which also acts as the reed. There’s dents as in table loom reeds, but also holes, so lifting it up or pushing it down when it’s threaded changes the shed/gap you weave into. But you know what that means? Dot dot dash. I have no idea if threading it using morse code would work, but worth a shot. I can’t use the software I have to write drafts for the inkle or rigid heddle loom, so it’s going to be interesting…

I’ll leave you with a kitten.

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  1. That Inkle loom looks like it’s going to be a work horse! What a nice score. Have fun playing.

  2. Looks like you’ve got a whole lot of fun ahead of you. I’m just doing my second experimental weaving with my inkle loom and am feeling very excited about the possibilities. Getting the edges nice and even seems to be the biggest challenge so far.

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