Category Archives: Complex Weavers

Drawloom Setup Learning Curve

I’m back at work making more adjustments to the drawloom. The way the loom was set up, there were good sheds on six of eight sheds/treadles, yet on two, there was basically no shed at all. The bigger issue, though, is the heavy counterweights that hang on the sides of the loom still are not pulling the shafts back into position.

On a regular countermarche loom, all shafts move, either up or down, depending on your weave structure and tie-up. On a drawloom, one shaft is tied to raise, one is tied to lower, the rest stay in “neutral.” I’ve checked everything possible on this loom, over and over, and still have not been able to get the counterweights to work properly.

So today, I am readjusting almost everything. Because the guide string was a little low, instead of going through the center of the long-eye heddles, I am lowering the ground shafts an inch or so.

The goal is for the blue guide string to be centered in the long-eye heddles, and for the weighted ground warp to be resting near the bottom of the long-eye heddles. The photo above is very close (my angle when taking the photo might be off a bit).

Then, when drawcords are pulled for pattern, looking at the drawn pattern heddles further back, the distance from the guide string to the at rest weighted threads should be the same distance as from the guide string to the drawn threads. This is what I am tuning up right now, and again have it very close (again, I didn’t get the photo straight on, sorry!).

Reading again in “Damask and Opphamta” a couple nights ago, I read both upper and lower lamms should be parallel to the floor, so they will be adjusted next. (The information that came with my Standard CM states the lamms should be at specific distances from the floor, giving a slight angle up, which is how I’d set them on the drawloom. So they will be changed next.

After changing the lamms, I’ll tie up the treadles again (only 2 cords on each treadle on a drawloom). Then I’ll tie the heavy counterweights back on, one tied to each horizontal jack on each side of the loom. Their purpose is to pull the raised and lowered ground shafts back to neutral. And this is what I have not yet achieved.

There is a learning curve in setting up a double harness loom. A couple years ago, I borrowed all the Damask Study Group and Double Harness Study Group back issue newsletters from the Complex Weavers Library to help me learn more about double harness looms and weaving. I find the old newsletters invaluable for reading others weavers experiences with these looms. They are also a help to me now as study group chair/newsletter editor.

The single unit drawloom I am working on is a Glimakra 10 ground shaft/10 treadle, 4 shafts for pattern heddles, with the long extension, good for linen warps (in the future). I am using maillons on the pattern heddles instead of individual Texsolv heddles. My loom was made in the early 1980’s.

Available information on double harness looms is rather scarce, and weavers have a variety of types and brands of drawloom, making it a challenge to find weavers using the same loom you are working on.

I do have several books on the subject, some in Swedish, but unfortunately, my ability to read Swedish is not good enough to understand much of the text.

My goal, in the next couple years, is to travel to Sweden and take drawloom weaving classes, but for now, I must work here alone and try to work this out. I am, on occasion, in contact with other drawloom weavers through the CW Double Harness Study Group, and they have been most helpful with my questions. An international study group is a blessing!

Passing It Forward

A few weeks back an email from a complex weaver and fellow member of the CW Double Harness Study Group arrived in my Inbox, announcing to the group she would be retiring from weaving, and would be selling her looms and weaving library. I was torn between feelings of sadness for her, and my interest in what weaving books she might have. I finally decided to write and ask her about them, and a few days later a list of books arrived in my (snail) mailbox.

Oh My! I’ve been aware of and following weaving books for 28 years, but this list had titles of books I had heard of but never seen before as well as books I had never heard of. I made the decision to purchase the majority of titles on her list, along with cones of 10/2, 16/2, and 20/2 threads for use on the drawloom, and a couple shuttles.

Today, four of seven boxes arrived in the mail, and opening them was such a treat! Several Swedish weaving books I had never seen before, a couple complex weaving books I’d been hoping to find, and dozens of reproductions (or copies) of early weaving books, along with 14 mailing envelopes full of Complex Weavers Early Weaving Books and Manuscripts study group newsletters and sample sheets, complete with drafts, threads used, source of draft, etc., 1993 – 2008 (samples below).

The samples are incredible!!! I’ve only paged through five of the envelopes so far, and tomorrow will spend more time with them. Joining that study group has long been a wish, but as I only had three or so reproductions of this type of book, I hadn’t pursued it. Needless to say, I wrote the study group leader this evening about joining. I am looking forward to begin learning another new (to me) area of weaving.

All through this, Nastche Milan and I have been exchanging wonderful emails, and she is now enjoying two pairs of my wool socks, as a thank you gift. Happily, she is keeping a table loom as she would like to continue doing some weaving.

In the past, I have occasionally looked ahead to the day when I will have to give up my looms, spinning wheels, and weaving/fibers library, and I hope and pray it is a long time off. The older I get, the faster time seems to go by and lately I feel very aware of how limited my time for weaving might be and how much I want to do and learn yet.

So tonight, I am feeling so very thankful this opportunity crossed my path. I will be putting these incredible resources to good use, both in learning, and weaving, and someday they will be passed forward to another weaver. Thank you, Nastche, you are a treasure!

Coordinating Towels

At last, a twill towel, now part of a nicely coordinated set. A the moment, I am tieing the warp back on to begin another towel, and debating between plain weave with a border, twill, or a white cotton slub weft. All will be woven shortly, and today I’m feeling like I want this warp finished so I can move on to another.

In researching information for the drawloom, I’ve been paging through back issues of VAV and am drawn over and over to drall towels so starting now to make notes of sett, cotton and linen sizes, and thinking about colors.

Progress has temporarily slowed on the drawloom. I have ordered two colors of 12/6 cotton for the drawcord warp, and have reached a problem with the reeds, primarily the difference in size, width, and thickness of the new reeds compared to older ones. In particular the reed for that hangs over the pattern heddles needs to be narrower in width, and the outer long edges need to be flatter to fit into the reed holders. I will be talking to two reed companies in just a bit to see if what I need can be made.

Meanwhile, I have been researching drawloom weaving projects, looking primarily at size of thread (cotton) and sett, and that must be ordered now, too.

I am also working on the CW Double Harness Study Group newsletter and updated mailing list. Life has provided quite a number of interruptions the past few days, so completing items on my Task List has been a challenge. Some are now done, some (research) are hard to photograph, and thankfully, things are moving along again.

Drawloom Progress

I should be weaving, I know I should be weaving, but some days I am absolutely driven to make progress on setting up the drawloom, and that’s what I’ve been working on again. Not long ago I had made 1,000 string (seine twine) long-eye heddles to add the 1,000 already on the loom.

A couple days ago I decided I needed to get back to making the pattern heddles. I previously had around 125 of them made, and in the last 48 hours I’ve made another 275 for a total of 400, 100 on each of the four pattern shaft bars. These will hold (if all are used) 2,400 threads, or 3,200 if I use all the holes in the maillons. More pattern heddles can be made if needed.

Tonight, I went back to making long-eye heddles again, this time for the opphampta attachment that is waiting to be added to the countermarche loom sometime this year. There were no heddles included when I bought it, used, and I decided again to make my own heddles. The long-eye heddles will then be able to be used on either loom as needed. When these are done, I’ll begin on the pattern heddles for the opphampta weaving.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking some old cords off the drawloom, to check on the condition of the long Texsolv cords that go from jacks down through ground shafts and to the lamms. Also, the cords that hang off the sides for the counterweights. As the loom is around 23 years old, some of the cords feel stiff and old, and I want to replace them next.

It’s also time to order something for the new drawcord warp. I need to remove the old, and take photos of how it is on there. There are also books like “Opphampta and Damask” by Lillemor Johansson to refer to, as well as advice from a few members of the CW Double Harness Study Group who also have single unit drawlooms. The adventure continues…

Yesterday, I went back to work on sock orders. Above, is “Raven Trail,” the first of three pairs of socks for a potter friend. Another sock order came in by phone a couple days ago, from a woman saying, “I just LOVE my socks! I need another pair.”

Unfortunately, another order will need to be replaced as a post office in IL has apparently lost the package, and phone calls to them have not brought it to light. I did have a tracking number which ends with “processed,” and not “delivered.” The replacement pairs of socks will be sent by UPS or FedEx as I won’t trust that post office again. Looks like I’ll have to start insuring all these packages, too.

I also sent off photos and text (and directions) for the Northwoods Art Tour brochure and website for the 2009 tour, so that was a good job done. I do need to arrange a day/time to go pick up the banners I will need next summer.

I’m still working on the loom, in-between a number of other committments. Yesterday and today, for example, I’ve been hard at work compiling and editing a newsletter for the Double Harness Study Group (of Complex Weavers). As I write this, I am also printing the color pages on our inkjet printer, and later will put them together and package them up. I thought it would be nice to have them arrive right before or after Thanksgiving.

Today, taking a break from the computer, I tied the warp on, removed the locking pins on my CM loom and removed the shaft holders. Not too long ago, I did a lot of readjusting on the loom, and today it all looks good. However, treadles need work as there is not always a clear shed. I knew this was coming, so tomorrow, it’s back under the loom. I believe after this warp is done, I’ll leave the tie-up the same for a bit, but change colors, texture, and treadling order. For now, I just want to be finished with setting things up and be able to sit and weave.

Peter Collingwood, Weaver

This morning there was a post by Jason Collingwood, informing weavers that his father, Peter Collingwood, had passed away yesterday, unexpectedly, while in his workshop, his favorite place.

The weaving world has lost an individual who shared his discoveries in the form of books, workshops, and through on-line lists such as WeaveTech. This year, interviews with Peter Collingwood, on two DVDs, were made available at Convergence 2008, and are now available through Complex Weavers.

When I first started weaving, Peter Collingwood was going to be giving a workshop at The Looms, in Mineral Point, WI. Ken Colwell urged me to attend, but as I had just taken only my first or second week of weaving classes, I felt I did not know enough too understand the content of the workshop, so I declined, a decision I have regretted these many years. We will all miss Peter’s knowledgeable and sharing posts on WeaveTech.

Welcome to Shuttle Works Studio

My interest in weaving began in May 1979, during a visit to “The Looms” in Mineral Point, WI, owned and run by the late Ken Colwell. The museum had a wonderful old Norwegian counter-balance barn-type loom, a Jacquard loom and a working table-size Jacquard loom. In addition, there was a large collection of spinning wheels, and an outstanding coverlet collection.

In the classroom area were several Glimakra countermarche looms, and upstairs was a loom with an opphampta attachment, a single unit drawloom, and an AVL computer-driven dobby loom. I knew I would return.

Being newly married, it took a couple years before I expressed my desire to spend a week at The Looms to attend a Beginning Weaving class, and did so in Summer 1981, followed by an Intermediate Weaving class in 1982. Before returning home, I ordered a 10 shaft Glimakra countermarche loom, which I still weave on today. Each summer for about ten years I would travel to Mineral Point and attend a weaving class, or Colloquy, an annual gathering of members of Complex Weavers. Around 1986, I brought home a used, 10 shaft Glimakra single unit drawloom. I had just started weaving on that loom, when we moved to the northwoods of WI. With three moves in five years, the drawloom has been disassembled for the past thirteen years. I am now looking forward to learning about damask and drawloom weaving.

Marriage, three children, and homeschooling were priorities over the past 21 years. While I continued to do some weaving and spinning, the strong desire to pursue my interests in fibers never left. Now that my oldest daughter is attending college, and my two teens attend high school, I am now able to pursue my weaving and other fiber interests.

In order to make my studio space accessible to visitors, we are about to move everything from a large upstairs room to the main floor of our home. This is going to be interesting.

The photo above is of a quiet moment in Shuttle Works Studio.