Sometimes, I need a do-over.
A while back, I tried weaving on some cardboard. It was fun, but Girl Child had the last laugh when I found the cardboard on the floor beside my bed ripped to shreds. And the handspun was worse, tangled and twisted every which way. The whole thing looked like a small heap of worn out nerves! Poor little thing, never had a chance. This time, I figured I’d try something a little more child-proof.
This is a 10″ Schacht Cricket Loom which is of the rigid heddle loom family. I knew I would get a loom to try out at some point, but this thread in the Greenbank Mill Ravelry Group really pushed me into it. Bob, one of the spinners that visits the mill got a new floor loom and showed us his beautiful start on some green fabric. And, just like that, I had to try it out again!
So far, I’m looking like the newb that I am. It seems that just like with knitting, beginning to learn how to weave is largely about controlling your tension.
See my selvedge there? It took me a while in knitting to discover if I knit the first two or three stitches in the row of a flat piece of knitting tightly (like garter stitch), it made for a relatively neater, more uniform edge. It’s probably going to take a minute to discover what makes the edges neat in weaving without drawing in the sides. I can’t tell if this is too tight or will draw in or be to loose, or what. And I’m also wondering if I am weaving too tightly. But, at some point, I am sure my muscles will develop a way of knowing, one way or the other..
In the meantime, I am learning some new terms as well. Thatslotted piece that the yarn is traveling through is the heddle (also called a reed). This one is an 8-dent heddle and comes standard with the loom. As I understand it, this means that the loom will create 8 warp ends per inch. Which brings me to the warp (omg). The warp is the set of vertical threads traveling up and down the loom. In these photos, that would be the green yarn. Trust. Warping takes time and attention when you first start. That’s all I’m going to say about that, lol…The purple threads traveling horizontally, interlocking with the warp threads collectively are called the weft. The yarn supply is held on that long shuttle stick shown in the first two photos. The yarn is wrapped around the stick in a figure eight which causes it to come off the stick smoothly while weaving.
Now, the heddle has a neutral position, an up position and a down position. These positions allow you to set up the loom and/or weave by creating what is called a shed for the shuttle to pass through.
See how there is a triangular space created in this photo? That is because the heddle is in the up position. The shuttle goes through that space to pass the weft back and forth across the warp. The way the loom is warped, the weft will travel up and down, over and under the warp threads. Then the heddle comes forward to push and pack the weft down. That’s called a “beat”. The whole process is kind of ingenious in its simplicity.
So, I am treading lightly. Baby steps for now. A piece of cardboard with bright yarn wrapped around it is just a sitting duck around here! On the other hand, a floor loom is a huge expense to sit around not being used. So, this time around, I decided it would be between the Schacht Cricket Loom and the Ashford Knitter’s Loom. In the end, I got the Cricket because I loved the projects I saw in The Cricket Club more than the weaving projects I saw in other ravelry groups using other looms. I figure I can graduate to a larger loom if I really like weaving on this and want something larger. Then, I can get the 20″ AKL and have the best of both worlds! We’ll see.
A few other reasons I got this loom is
- It’s simplicity supposedly forces the beginner to concentrate on basic weaving principles.
- I read someone got a project done in three hours (which might be great for a late holiday crafting start ;) )
- It’s small enough to take to guild meetings and get help!
I’m still keeping my scarf and bag projects handy for if and when I get frustrated. And I love this textured batt right now…
Spinning on that in the car, lol. Only at stop lights. :)
AND, I can’t wait to get my hands in this!
I just can’t help but have fun with all this stuff!