Once again, I turned my warping ‘board’ into a raddle, only this time I clamped it at the back of the loom to keep the warp ends spread out and in the right order. (I’m assuming this is what a raddle is and does.) Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.
Then I got stuck into threading the heddles. This is always uncomfortable for me, though removing the reed does help a lot. I suspect it is why my shoulder muscles are all siezed up and painful today (though I also suspect doing 20 rows of Sylvi last night rather than just 10 didn’t help).
Unlike the project in Handwoven that I’m basing this on, the twill pattern I’m using is a basic diagonal line that swaps direction for each colour. This is as much because I’m a newbie, and avoiding extended hours of back-straining warping, as it is about preferring simple graphic patterns.
I’m using floating selvedges for the first time, too. The project calls for worsted yarn, at 10 dpi. That would have been great, as my reed is 10 dpi so it would mean one end per slot. But I’m using 8ply/dk yarns (which are quite varied in thickness from sport to worsted weight) so I ended up with a threading of 1-1-1-2.
Turns out, the Ashford Table Loom comes with only enough heddles to match the 10dpi reed.
So I had to make some out of some linen.
Which, while time-consuming, wasn’t such a bad thing. Unused heddles usually sit at the side, and if I work on a project that uses the full width of the loom (like the denim rag rug) they get in the way. I could buy more heddles, but then I’d have to dismantle the shafts to get them on only to have more heddles getting in the way. I got to thinking that removable heddles that could be snapped on or off as needed would be a wonderful thing.
Finally I had the entire warp threaded onto the heddles, then I replaced the reed and threaded the ends through that. I love the way the colours reflect in the shiny surface of the reed:
And here it is all tied up and ready for weaving.
Tension is probably going to be an issue here. The project notes warn of it. The different yarns are likely to have different levels of stretch. To minimise the problem, I’ve used (as far as I know) all wool and acrylic and avoided alpaca, cotton and fibres that don’t have much elasticity. If I have any troubles I’ll weigh the looser threads down at the back of the loom.
I’m all ready to start now… except for my shoulders being all seized up.
Actually, while I warping up I got to thinking about how a loom like this might be altered to make it more ergonomic to warp. Removing the reed helps a lot, but I still have to stretch out my arms and hold them there while threading each warp end. If I stand up, I can lean over and reduce the distance I have to reach, but that’s a classic position for straining the neck (not to mention the muscles in the backs of my legs!). But if the whole loom could be tilted forward – perhaps as far as 90 degrees – I’d only have to position a seat at the right height and the heddles would be right in front of me.
Might have to have a chat with the beau about that…