The Filler Project

I’ve not touched my knitters looms since weaving off the demonstration warp from my summer school workshop. With the rag rug stalled until more fabric arrived, I decided to tackle a rigid heddle project I’d set some yarn aside for back then: a palindrome scarf, where you take a skein of hand-painted yarn and warp the loom with it keeping the colours lined up. I also wanted to try weaving twill on a rigid heddle loom, so why not combine the two?

Lining up the yarn was more challenging than I expected. Direct warping to a single peg made it a bit hard to see if the colours were lining up, so I clamped a warping board to the table so had four pegs to work with. But even that proved difficult (the yarn had very subtle colour changes) so I switched the warping board for a large square nail loom, which allowed me to spread the warp out to one or two threads per nail.

Of course, I was so caught up in problem-solving that I forgot to take photos.

When it came to threading… well, things got even more complicated. It’s one of those strangle little quirks of weaving that twill is one of the simplest weaves on a shafted loom and yet is one of the hardest to achieve on a rigid heddle. And I wanted to weave not just twill, but rosepath.

The instructions I followed were the ones in Inventive Weaving on a Rigid Heddle loom by Syne Mitchell. There are a couple of pages on using three heddles to weave a straight twill sampler scarf, then a couple more on how to convert a weaving draft for a rigid heddle loom. The last page shows an example, which happens to be a point threading and treadling – close enough to rosepath for me.

For the straight twill scarf Syne uses three heddles of the same dpi. I didn’t have three 15dpi heddles to suit the sock yarn I wanted to warp with, but I figured I’d just use two 5dpi ones for the rearmost two heddles than the 15dpi for the foremost as I’d be beating with it.

Well, the first attempt at warping I stuffed up because I misinterpreted the instructions. After the second I discovered the 5dpi heddles didn’t work because they caused the warp yarns to twist around each other. The third time I managed to make another 15 dpi heddle with my vari dent reeds and hoped I could fudge another with a pick up stick… but no, I needed to be able to push those threads down as well as pull them up. So I had to order another reed. Which would take a few weeks as even Ashford didn’t have any of that size in stock and had to make more.

And so I needed a filler project to do while my filler project was on hold. A filler filler project.