Tag Archives: weaving looms

L is for looms for weaving

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LYou might be surprised to know that you don’t really need a loom to weave, or at least not a conventional one.

You just need to be able to put a set of vertical parallel threads (the warp) under tension, so that you can ‘weave’ other threads, of any material, horizontally – ‘under and over’ them – (the weft) – to form a piece of ‘material’ that will remain in place and can be used as a wall hanging.  Common yarns used are wool, cotton, linen, silk or a mix of any type of yarn

There are all kinds and sizes of looms that can produce all kinds of cloth, which can be taken off the loom and used to make braids, straps, clothes, blankets, rugs, carpets etc.

warp & weft in a plain weave

warp & weft in a plain weave

This diagram is just to show the basic weave, and the warp & weft.

Most yarns can be used for the weft, but only yarns that will take the tension without breaking can be used for the warp see here.

There are many other types of patterns that can be woven, and more complicated looms that can allow you to weave these, but the basic loom can be as simple as two lengths of wood.

Women_weaving_in_Beni_Hassan_tomb_(Вертикальный_ткацкий_станок_Египет) Flax was the predominant fibre in ancient Egypt (3600 BCE) and this is a picture comes from a wall on a tomb from this period.

You can see that one length of wood was fixed to the wall, and another weighed down by a sack on the floor. The warp seems to be being held under tension by the two weavers, who would be passing the weft yarn across the warp to each other, using shuttles that have been wound with the flax – the cross beams in the diagram.

f6b6dacfb8b3681be4f1316c0c2d7dd3This simple method is still used for weaving ‘Persian’ carpets.  This is a specialised type of ‘tapestry weaving’ using single knotted threads to make very complex patterns – the loom is enormous and is hung from the ceiling.

matchbox weaving from http---marisa-ramirez.tumblr.com

matchbox weaving

On the other hand, you can just as easily make something small like this – using a matchbox as a loom, and piercing the cardboard to create the warp.  The wood from a picture frame also makes a basic loom – just choose your size of frame and warp it up!

52b1593d3590c4645fb3a067ea0f939bSome beautiful wall hangings can be made with very simple looms, and if you really want to play with weaving ideas, you can try this kind of set up for weaving anything from plastic bags, to lengths of  tree bark, adding embellishments like lengths of ribbon, beads knotted onto the threads, un-spun wool fibres tucked into the weft – the world is your oyster – and yes you can use shells too!

woman working with a backstrap loom in Guatemala

woman working with a backstrap loom in Guatemala

Another fascinating ancient  weaving method is the backstrap loom, where you actually wear the loom!  The warp is attached to a tree, or something stable, and to keep the tension up, the weaver wears a belt around the back of her waist.

She sits on the floor so that she can move further away from the fixed point when she needs to extend the length of the woven piece, thus keeping the warp taut.

If you would like to make your own backstrap loom, I found a really good set of instructions here.

A Picanol rapier loom

A Picanol rapier loom

So how did we get from these easily understandable looms to this industrial monster!  To be honest, I’ve no idea, but this is how most cloth is woven industrially – I can’t see a single  person in this shot!

ALL THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST HAVE BEEN PINNED TO MY WEAVING IDEAS BOARD ON  PINTEREST.

If you click on any image on the board, you will see that below it, there is usually some text that tells you where the image came from. Click on the text to see the full article and credits. I have not had room to add them all here.  There are also loads of other weaving ideas on this board – feel free to browse – and to copy them to your own board – and by following links to other weavers boards you can access loads more information and inspiration!

HAPPY WEAVING!

“the road less travelled” – my favourite poem and my favourite place ….

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NB:  This week I am following a “blogging101″ online course to learn how to blog more effectively.  
Please bear with me while I do my daily assignments, I obviously don’t usually write daily posts and if you are fed up with them – don’t read them – smile!  On the other hand, you might like to comment and let me know how I’m doing!

This is actually not the assignment for today, it was to try changing the blog title and subtitle, and I have tinkered around with the subtitle, to try and give a better idea of what this blog is about – but I’m still not sure I’ve got it right – so comments/feedback would be appreciated!

But somehow, because I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s blogs for this course, I have also been inspired to write this ………

The last few lines of Robert Frost’s famous poem, and one of my all time favourites,  “The Road Not Taken are :-

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 

I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference.

I should be showing a picture of a track in the forest here, but I don’t have one to fit – instead, this is one of my all time favourite places – at the southern end of the Brecon Beacons, and I want to tell you about a drive I took yesterday….

the route up, southern edge of the Brecon Beacons, just off the Trecastle Road

The road is just at the bottom edge of this picture, you park your car then take to the hills, crossing a river and follow a path that runs besides a tributary stream, full of small waterfalls. (This is said to be the start of the River Tawe, that runs into Swansea and then into the sea.)  Just under the ridge, that’s covered in snow in this picture, there is a lake.  Its stunning!  I’ve taken my swimming costume up there in summers past, and swum in it, with my dog!

The best thing about this place, is that its less than10 miles away from the rather forlorn ex-mining valley which I showed you pictures of yesterday – if you read all the way to the end of “Welcome to 2015“.  So when I’m in the mood for solitude and contemplation It takes me about 15 minutes to get there.

Yesterday wasn’t a day for walking – it was dull, misty and cloudy, and I had parcels to post for customers.  I mostly go to my local post office, but I was a bit miffed with him because when I went in on Friday, with a heddle (part of a weaving loom) to post to Italy, I had assumed it would cost me £5.75 to post, but he insisted that because it was a centimetre of two over 60 cm, it would have to go by the more expensive ParcelForce, and I was just about to say OK, when he told me the price – £27 something.

I’d had quite a chat thro’ the etsy site with the guy in Italy, and even reduced the price for him a bit because he didn’t have quite enough in his paypal account – so £27 was the price he paid for the heddle, and there was no way I wanted to disappoint him, but I wasn’t paying £27 for postage!  The price quoted was for a parcel and I pointed out that it could go as a tube, which WAS £5.75, because its thin and not very wide, but the post office guy objected to that because it wasn’t in a proper tube!

picture of a post box, just for fun - see my recent blogs about Royal Mail

picture of a post box, just for fun – see my recent blogs about Royal Mail

Well, we went back and forth about it, and I had to fetch the leaflet for him to check the allowed dimensions for a tube, which this item did fit!  And insisted it went as a tube.  He hummed and hah-ed over this – the queue behind were getting restless – and in the end he relented, but made a very heavy point of telling me it was at my own risk.

Actually, I am taking a risk, because the package might be rejected in the UK,  by my favourite gripe, the Royal Mail ( see my previous posts about them), or by customs in Italy, which Riccardo told me was the same as the rest of Italy at the moment – nothing works!

That done, I went home and looked to see if I could have posted it through an alternative carrier, and the cheapest was about £15, and was only located in London – all the rest were not far off the £27 mark.  I also deleted the international postage options from the listing, at least until Riccardo tells me he’s got the parcel, and had to tell him that it may not arrive, in which case I will not only lose the £5.75 postage, but the cost of the heddle as well, because the Post Office won’t compensate me if it gets “lost”, as it probably doesn’t really qualify as a tube, and it certainly won’t if I made a claim!

This is not a digression, really!  Its why, after nearly a year of forgetting they were there, I thought I’d go up to the even smaller post office about 3 or 4 miles away, on the route towards Brecon, and instead of going straight there, just carried on and went up the Trecastle Road.  (Well that’s my name for the little winding country road – off the main route – that goes to Trecastle and beyond – I don’t know whether it actually has a name or not!)

looking the other way, back towards swansea with the river in view

Time for another photo – which one shall I choose – I’ve taken loads of this place, and  got this one printed up as a poster.  Actually, I have to admit, the whole drive was a digression – I just fancied a change, but I hadn’t realised it until I started on the road …. and for some reason, again totally spontaneously, I passed by my usual parking spot, and carried up to the sheep grid (there are loads of sheep on this road), past the alpaca farm that has sacks of alpaca manure in the gateway for people to pick up and put 50p in the box (thinks, I must stop by there one day and actually ask if they sell their fleeces), and past the road I had intended to turn round at, to the edge of the forestry’s fir plantation, where there is a little track that I have stopped by many times, with my lovely sheepdog Sol – now no longer with us.

I have a secret …  that I don’t tell many people, but it doesn’t matter now …. so I can tell you – smile.

Sol was also originally from a farm, (like Tilly, the kitten in yesterday’s blog). They didn’t want to keep him and train him as a working dog, because he was a cross – I can never remember the name of the breed, but it was an Australian sheepdog, bred to have amazing stamina and energy, and to run for miles and miles.  And Sol had surely inherited that trait.

this is Sol as a puppy, also, coincidentally, in the snow on the Trecastle Road.

this is Sol as a puppy, also, coincidentally, in the snow on the Trecastle Road.

He had so much energy that I could never exhaust him, and when I took him for walks in the hills, I had to be really careful he didn’t get a chance to chase any sheep.

So what I used to do, was to take him to the point where this little road branches off, let him out of the car, and he’d run beside the car for a mile or so first, which just about got him tired enough not to pull on the lead so much that he got loose.

For some reason I never actually drove down this road, but on the slightly larger main route.  There was seldom much traffic on it, and what there was were farm vehicles, who weren’t bothered by this, and occasionally some tourist traffic that probably were a bit amazed by us, but never stopped to tell us off, and probably told the story of the eccentric Welsh to their friends when they got back home.

I think I was propelled by my memories of Sol to go there yesterday, it was a small homage to him.  I miss him still.

The car just turned into the smaller road, I don’t know how – and I thought – well, its about time I found out why there was a road here – and carried on, fully expecting it to peter out into a track thro the forest, with a gate restricting access.

 “The road less travelled” turned into miles of beautiful scenery, that I’d never encountered before.  I was on the other side of the mountain, and it was cathartic!  It felt like a symbol of a new start, taking a chance on 2015 and finding a new place to be.

Yes, I know it sounds a bit batty, and spiritual, but that’s what is was, I felt totally uplifted – and a bit worried that I wouldn’t find a way back home, as the road kept going on and on!  Actually, it turned back on itself and finally led me to Trecastle, and back onto the main road, and the small post office, and then back home. And no pictures, cos I didn’t have my camera with me!

Sorry for going on and on but I just had to tell someone – smile.  And its my birthday today – and no – I’m not telling you how old I am, you’ve had all the secrets I’m giving out today – smile.

I KNOW – I hadn’t CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN – I’d gone around it.  

But it doesn’t matter – I saw the other side!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 

I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference.”

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SORRY – I haven’t been keeping this blog up, but I’m back selling again!

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I have been having a break, and have not been well – but I’m now up and running again, altho not yet at full steam.

For those of you on my mailing list I will be sending out a NEWZ FROM JULZ email in the next week. (If you’re not on the mailing list, just send me a message at julz@julzweaving.plus.com, and I’ll add you to it.)

In the meantime, if anyone would like to join the Show & Tell, and feature your work or ask other readers for information on techniques etc, I will be very happy to put something up for you on this blog – just get in touch, (julz@julzweaving.plus.com) and hopefully I’ll be hearing from you soon.

Currently I have limited listings on:

ebay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/julzweaving/m.html?item=121458128910&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/julzcraftsupplies?ref=hdr_shop_menu

all the best

julz

SHOW & TELL NO 2: DECORATED KROMSKI FANTASIA SPINNING WHEEL BY CHRISTINE FROM TOTNES DEVON

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SHOW & TELL (Click blue text to go to the original blog)  is open to all my customers who have bought from me at any time over the years. Please send in photos of your work, it can be in any craft or other media, with a brief description, to show (off) to others and hopefully inspire all of us.  If you’re not a customer, and would like to take part, just buy something, however small – from either ebay or etsy .  To my see current stock, please click on the links on the right hand side of this blog.

I will publish all contributions, and please don’t worry if you are just starting up, its just nice to see what people are doing!

Currently, the opportunity will be open until the END OF JUNE, altho I am always happy to see what my customers are doing, and will have other SHOW & TELL SESSIONS , so please send in photos of your work at any time to julz@julzweaving.plus.com.

CHRISTINE, from Totnes, Devon bought a KROMSKI FANTASIA SPINNING WHEEL from me last year, and was inspired by my suggestion, and the picture on the listing, that because of the way the wheel is made, there is a great opportunity to decorate it and make it totally individual.

She sent me these pictures earlier this year, and is happy for them to be part of this SHOW & TELL!

spinning wheel 2   spinning wheel  spinning wheel 3sock yarn

THIS IS HOW SHE ACCOMPLISHED THESE EFFECTS: “I finished the wood parts with danish oil and the MDF wheel was primed with white emulsion, after masking the cross piece with newspaper and masking tape. I then sprayed it with black matt car paint.  The front lettering is  traditional, bygone west country sheep counting language, much like the well known Cumbrian one which goes yan, tan,thether etc. On the back I drew little white leaping sheep, both using Eddings paint marker pens. Finished off with a couple of layers of varnish. I have also included a picture of the first yarn I spun on it, a sock yarn, spun from a hand painted superwash merino blend roving.”

I was really impressed when I saw what she’d done, and was going to put the pictures up at the time – but then I thought I’d lost them, as I hadn’t saved them separately – just as well I went back & checked!

Please do leave any comments for Christine at the end of this blog!

out of the boxThis is what the FANTASIA looks like when it comes out of the box – it doesn’t take too long to put it together, but whist its still in pieces, it makes it easier to decorate the various pieces in any way you want to – its only a suggestion, if you don’t want to bother, this is what it looks like…  fantasia unfinished

If you are interested in buying one yourself, have a look at the US distributers website – http://www.newvoyager.com – where you will find lots of useful information, as well as a picture of another decorated Fantasia.

I am a registered UK agent for all KROMSKI Spinning Wheels and Looms – I currently stock the 24″ Harp Loom, and if you want to order ANY Kromski product, I can get it for you.  For US customers, you will find a list of suppliers on the New Voyager website.

Please email me at julz@julzweaving.plus.com for prices and delivery times

I look forward to being able to put up more work from YOU! – Smile….

All the best

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meet up at Wonderwool – Builth Wells on 27 April?

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Wonderwool – click on this link to see their website – is ….

A Festival of Welsh Wool & Natural Fibres

and is at the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells over the weekend of 27 – 28 April.

I’m planning to be there on Saturday 27 April, but am just going as a visitor, and am not selling there.  However, I’ll be very pleased to meet anyone who wants to have a chat AND will be happy to bring any large items you order with me, to save you the postage.

If anyone would like to meet up, please contact me, either through the “leave a comment” box or directly at julz@julzweaving.plus.com, and we can exchange mobile numbers so we can find each other on the day.

I’d love to get some personal feedback from customers and find out how I can improve my service to you all!

Be nice to see you

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Some new BRITSH WOOLS……and an apology!

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herdwick wooljacob woolwensleydaleswaledale

I have just bought in some cones of Herdwick, Silver Jacob, Wensleydale & Swaledale Wool – all truly Pure British Wools from British Mills – suitable for weaving, both warp & weft, and of course for knitting.

To see the full details of these, please click on the links for either my ebay listings or my etsy shop just under my picture on the right of this blog.

The apology……in my previous blog – British Wools from British Mills, I was really pleased to have bought in some large cones of what I thought were British Wools from a British Mill.

It wasn’t until this week, when a prospective customer asked exactly what wools they were, that I went back to the British Mill, and asked them.   The way they advertised them gave me to understand that they were what I said they were.  However, it turned out that the wool is merino wool ie NOT FROM BRITAIN!  I feel like a total fool!

I have now changed the listings so that they are accurate!

bamboo feltOther new stock include some really soft and strong BAMBOO FELT (clicking on the red text will get you to the ebay listing).  This felt is made from 50% bamboo fibres and altho rather expensive, is unusual – it comes in 20 very bright colours – altho currently one was out of stock at the suppliers, so I only have 19 of them – do have a look at it, and tell me what you think, as I won’t be ordering any more unless people want it!

I have stocked up on both the standard sized & mini carders, and as the white merino rovings have sold out, I will be getting some more in soon – in the meantime, the ecru merino roving is a very good price!

New in is also some JUTE HESSIAN, and “DISHCLOTH COTTON” (click on the red text) both of which are useful for all sorts of crafts and also good for garden use!  And other odds & ends – again, to see the full range please click on the links beside my picture.

purple mini weave I have also been playing around with some bits of mini weaving – squares of only 1.5 x 1.5″ (40 mm x 40 mm) made on a tiny loom, that could be used for making into brooches, or added as decoration to tapestry, embroidery or felting projects – I’d be interested to know what you think – only listed on etsy HERE & HEREsmall weave

Just a reminder that the new Kromski stock is on sale – the warping sticks have sold out, and so have most of the Lazy Kates – there is one upright one left.  If you are buying a loom, please remember that the prices on the listings necessarily include the selling fees on the sites and that if you do want to buy one, email me first, at  julz@julzweaving.plus.com, and I will give you a discount if you buy direct! (see info on the About Julz Page)

I can also order in any particular items you want – including spinning wheels – so please ask if you don’t see what you need.

That’s all for now

All the best

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