Warped and Twisted

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!

Look at those colors! Yum!!

I just can’t help but have fun with all this stuff!

Comments

  1. I’ve got a cricket too and I’m still learning how to use it. Lovely fiber, I’ve yet to order from them but really need to :)

  2. What a great little loom, it looks really nice. Portable is nice too. When I took my table loom to my weaving class I found out that it didn’t fit in the boot of my car, it had to sit on the back seats, and even that was tricky. It is not that big, but takes up space like a cube.

    Your weaving looks good, edges can be difficult, (just look at my last weaving!). I also find getting the tension of the warp correct, can be hard.

    But isn’t it fun!

    • Well, that’s encouraging! Thanks! It is fun too! But wherever I read that three hours to get a scarf done…I don’t know about that. :)

      I’m not certain I will ever get a floor loom…or a table loom…I think portable has always been my way. But, at least I will know what I am looking at next time, lol. I will have to see your last weaving project. I love to see the potential of this craft!

  3. Oh you beat me to it … The cricket is on my wish list at the moment :)… Looks fabulous!!

  4. Thanks for the break down of the weaving parts. I have been on the fence about getting a loom for almost six months now but have been holding out, for who knows what. I appreciate how you explained the different parts with photos and actual written descriptions; as well as listing the reasons you went with one over of the other. Definitely thinking more about getting one!

    • No problem! I’m sure y’all can find better explanations for sure. But, it’s helpful for me to commit it to memory better if I write to y’all about it, lol. When I write these, I do try to keep it smoothly enough to read through…But, if you’re deciding between this and another rigid heddle loom though (especially if you don’t know that you’ll take to weaving right off), I think the biggest issues are probably cost, capabilities/features, ease of use and possibly size. I was choosing between this and the AKL. The AKL seemed easy to use too based on the reviews. It’s also portable (and even folds). It has more capabilities/features (I believe you can use more than one heddle for more complex weaving-without having to modify it). I think it’s starter size is larger than the Cricket as well (if I remember correctly, the smaller AKL is 12″). On the other hand, it was a little more expensive too and not knowing whether I’d really like weaving or not, I’d rather go $60+ cheaper on a small loom to find out first! :) There’s not much difference to me between 10 and 12″ trying to learn on a loom. Why pay so much at the onset? I figured if I really like weaving that much and I want to try fancy tricks, like any other craft, I will find a way to get another later on down the road…at which point will probably be the 20″ AKL rather than the 12″ AKL or the 15″ Cricket. I think that the 20″ AKL would justify the larger price tag and will give me some good distance between the looms to help me figure out which to grab for what project. If portability is not an issue and you know you want a loom that is large enough to give you plenty of room to work with, you might try the rigid heddle looms that are 30+”…which opens up loads more possibilities. I’ve never really been able to get away from the aspect that my stuff has to be able to move with me easily if I need it to-compact projects, compact totes, compact patterns (on iDevices, etc)…even my spinning wheels emphasize compactness. But, if you don’t have that stipulation to be concerned about, there are plenty of other choices!

  5. I had somone demonstrate how to set up and weave with the akl at Rhinebeck and it almost convinced me to buy it on the spot. In the end, I decided to wait because I just have too much going on right now. I’ll be watching your progress, though! And maybe santa will bring me a loom this year.

    • Oooh! I hope so. I think this winter is going to be a LOONNNGGG and COLD one. I’m sort of making sure that I have a lot to choose from if I’m stuck in the house. :) Which reminds me that I need to stock up on hot chocolate…

  6. grayseasaylor says:

    More good experiments…learning, Stacey! I am sitting here thinking that I need to learn how to darn…that it is a form of weaving, too. Setting up the warp for a loom is too daunting for me at this stage of my life, but your creativity does inspire me to appreciate what you are learning :)
    xx from Gracie

    • I’m going to look up darning then. For some reason, I always felt that had to do with mending garments…OMGoodness Gracie! Warping will probably not be my favorite thing to do about weaving, lol! But, thinking back on it, if I had to do it again, I don’t think I’d have to read the directions over again, so it must be simple enough–in theory. In practice, ugh. But the weaving itself is kind of nice. It’s near rhythmic and I’m sure it’s even more so after you come up with your own method for dealing with edges. The next thing I have to learn is how to read a weaving pattern! But I’m sure I have lots more purple left before I get to that point…

  7. Before I started spinning, I had decided to buy a Cricket and learn to weave. I have seen many pictures of gorgeous woven scarves and such made on a Cricket and I coveted them. Then I read all about how to warp a loom and realized that weaving would probably bore me to tears. So there is no loom in my future. Ever. But I’m looking forward to watching your weaving skills grows.

    • Lol! I definitely get that! The warping was a little much to read through and try to execute at the same time. I am sure it gets easier with time, and when I think about it now, it was only a few steps. But it does make me appreciate the immediacy of simple knitting with needles and yarn, for sure.

  8. I’m not a weaver, but I love that color!

    • Are you talking about the weaving or the roving? I personally like the roving…but the weaving colors, I wasn’t crazy about. They came with the loom though, so, I thought that was cool. I didn’t have to waste my good stuff trying it out. ;)

      • Actually both! I have a serious purple fetish, and that roving looks so intriguing.. I wish I knew how to spin so I could guess how it would turn out.

  9. KittasaurusRex says:

    I keep telling myself that what I’m really interested in is not the weaving itself, but the names of the parts and patterns and how everything goes together; what I really want is for a weaver to very patiently, and at great length, geek out about weaving in my direction while I watch the weaving take place.
    But if we’re being really honest here, if I had space and money, I’d have a nice mid-sized loom and know a million names for things about weaving.

    • LOL! I don’t have the space for a large loom either (though I hear some are collapsible and fit well into corners of rooms and whatnot. What I feel I do have space for is more stash, more spindles and at least one more spinning wheel. Priorities, right? ;) Well, I’m grateful to have the Fiberguild around to show me stuff if I don’t catch on right away. What I’m doing right now is simple weaving though. But apparently, even on this simple loom, I can try sticks that will allow me to make more complex patterns. When I get to that point, I’m sure I’ll be hitting them up!

  10. You’re not Stacey Come Lately, you’re StaceyThe Pioneer and Enabler! :). I’ve been stalking the Cricket Club forum threads too! Just like with the Joy, the Bug and the spindles you always show me the way! I am hoping to have a cricket some time in the next year, so I really appreciate all your detail and experience that you share. Looking forward to reading more weaving posts! X

  11. marlene toerien says:

    HI, wellcome to my world of weaving!

  12. Wow! Looks like you were busy! I love the purple. The yarn looks like a candy cane.

  13. A weaver in town taught me how to weave on cardboard and now I am looking into getting a loom. The one you have looks perfect for me.

  14. Oh, the weaving bug bites again! I love your little loom, and your selvedge is looking quite a bit better than my first did. Pretty fibers and spindle, too!

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 549 other followers

%d bloggers like this: