Thursday, June 10, 2010

First Warp for Ellie's Loom

Ellie's Loom is warped and I am finally weaving.

The first warp is one that I had been planning for my 4 harness Le Clerc. It is yet another project from the Fall 2009 issue of Handwoven Magazine. The "recipe" is on page 44 and is titled "One threading, four patterns, four towels". I had already dyed the contrasting yarns so decided to proceed as planned. This is my fourth project from that issue of Handwoven, and I have more planned. (This may be the best issue ever)

The towels are huck variations. They appealed to me because huck is a new weave structure to me (most structures are since I am only a beginning level weaver), and with four different towels on the same warp, the bore factor should be conquered.

Learning to get along with Ellie's loom has been challenging. I think anytime a weaver deals with a new loom there is a lot to learn about how to get along with it. Everything is strange. The braking system, where to tie up the harnesses out of the way to thread, how to wind the beam where to tie the lease sticks and the list goes on.

Things went pretty smoothly until I started tying up the treadles. The Herald Loom was shipped with wire tie ups, and when I got the loom it had about eight - not enough for my project.

The wires that were in treadles showed signs of being bent with pliers. I got suspicious that Ellie must have had big problems with the wires jumping out of the holes in the lams. Perhaps this is the reason the loom has never been warped.

I researched on Ravelry and Weavolution and found out that indeed, the big complaint about Herald looms is the wire tie ups. Other weavers hated the loom because of the wire tieups. They experienced lots of problems keeping them attached to the lams. Another big disadvantage of the wires is that the treadle height cannot be adjusted, and since the treadles sit on a slant, the back wires or ties are necessarily shorter than the front one's.

Based on this information, I decided that I would most likely change out the wires for ties. I started researching my options. Texsolve cord was recommended. My investigation into it revealed I would have to spend about a hundred dollars to get enough cord to make every connection on the loom. At that point, I was not going to invest a lot of money in a loom that perhaps would not even work, so I needed a cheaper solution than Texsolve.

So, I went to my trusty references from Peggy Osterkamp. Peggy is a total genius. She knows everything about weaving. Her books cover absolutely every problem and question that I have ever had about weaving. I think any weaver with no support needs all of her books.

Peggy recommended tying up treadles with a snitch knot and cords. That is what I did but I used shoe laces for the tie cords, and some nylon cord for the snitch knot section.

I cut a length of cord that is about 10 inches long. I threaded a pony bead onto the cord (to prevent the knot from pulling through the hole), then folded the cord in half and tied a double overhand knot in the two ends. Next I took the loop and let the bead slide down to the knot. I threaded the loop through the hole in the treadle and made a snitch knot that I put my shoe lace ties through. I then adjusted the height of the treadles, looped the end of the shoe laces like the first half of a bow and the treadles were tied up.

After correcting a few threading errors, I am finally weaving. I have employed my poor man's temple for the waffle weave - alligator clips, cord and fishing weights!

Weaving is proceeding. I think I am going to love the loom and I sure love weaving in the airconditioning as opposed to my old studio in the unairconditioned garage.


Joanne said...

Yippeee! Weaving is going on. I am so happy for you! What a great idea on fixing your treadles.

gkrueg said...

One of the wire tie ups on my Herald loom broke. Fortunately, I had a couple of treadles I wasn't using, and was able to swap out an unused tie up and finish the project. In the meantime, in a panic, I went web surfing and found you. I used your shoe lace tie up to replace the missing wire on my most recent project, and it's working like a charm. Thank you so much.

Unknown said...

Hi, I have an opportunity to purchase a Herald Theracraft 4 harness, 6 treadle loom. Do you think a complete novice could deal with the issues the Heralds have?

FiberGeek said...

I think a novice can handle the issues with the Herald loom provided that they have Peggy Osterkamp's book that shows how make string tie ups for treadles on a loom. I have gotten really good with snitch knots that I use to make the connections. These tie ups have done the job for me, and I have now woven quite a lot on the loom.

Since this post, I switched the tie ups from shoestrings to some one hundred pound test catfish line that I got at Wal-Mart. I just cut the line into the lengths I needed and replaced the shoe laces.

There are some other options for making the tie ups. One of the most common is to use Texsolv cord. This is a special cord marketed to weavers that is made so little holes appear evenly spaced. The connection is made secure with a special plastic peg.

Another option would be to put hooks and eyes in the holes in the treadles and use loops of cord to make the ties, similar to the way LeClerc ties up their loom's treadles.

For all of these workarounds, it would really help the brand new weaver if they have someone with more experience who can help make this all work.

My Herald is a good loom, once I got around the tie up problems. I often see these very cheap on the used market. I do think any weaver would loose patience with the wire tieups the loom originally used.

Macomber looms also use wires for tie ups, and some weavers can make them work. However, I think most of them get converted to Texsolv - but their treadles have a long slot and not the little holes like the Herald treadles. So, someone who has experience in converting a Macomber loom could be a huge help with the Herald changeover,

If you are considering one or any used loom, be sure that the loom is square and that the harnesses are square, so the loom won't give you tons of tension problems. Check with your local weaving guild or check out Ravelry to get help.