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Topic: New. Laughable.  (Read 1497 times)
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« on: September 11, 2007 09:35:34 PM »

I'm new around here.  So, I spent a while trying to find my new hobby.  As I don't have any and I just moved somewhere that has these things called "winter" (I'm from Florida) I figured I better get one. 

Hey, weaving!  That sounds like a great idea!  I remember weaving on a cardboard loom back in high school art class and winning a regional award for it.  O course the teacher kept the sample and the ribbon.  Hmm... 

Lets see... looms... wha tha fa?  Whoosiwhatsits, heddles, and doomerflotchies.  Too complicated for my brain.  I could just make a frame loom.  But have no wood.

So I traipse out to the dumpster (I'm obsessed and inspired by you people) and find some reasonable boxes.  And cut.  And tape.  And measure.  And cut some more.  A dig through the closet for an old ball of yarn et voila!  With string heddle and all.

Of course, a little over halfway through my project the whole thing starts to fall apart.  But now I must finish!  So I slide it onto knitting needles and persevere!  Actually, I'm lying.  I did a few more rows and decided to go back to researching looms.

Right now my frankenstein monster is sitting beside me while I type this to say, "Looms are freaking expensive!"  I hope the ebay gods will be kind to me.  I looked at some of your posts to other noobs and am going to start with a smallish rigid heddle loom.  Maybe The Harp.

In any event, I'll finish the Monster that Will Be a Purse and post pictures so you can laugh WITH me.

I'm glad there is a place like this with people from all different skill levels.  Especially you mighty advanced ones, to give the rest of us hope!  Wink
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2007 08:09:15 PM »

tee hee! I hear you. I've been using a cereal box as a loom, and I made a very funny-looking little purse.

The book "Kids Weaving" has some interesting projects using looms made out of cardboard,  picture frames, even PVC pipe. Might hold you over until you save up the moolah to buy yourself a rigid heddle!
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2007 09:30:34 PM »

You might try card weaving, which is good for making belts, narrow sashes, straps and the ilk. Byways in Handweaving, an old book by Mary Atwater, gives a good explanation of this technique, and I'm sure there are other sources. Basically, you have a handful of thick cards, about four and a half inches square, with the edges rounded off a little, and four holes, about 1/4 inch round, in each card, equidistant from each other and in about 3/4 of an inch from each corner. You can even make your own, using good quality, stiff card stock, not thicker than 1/32"/ It's important that all the holes be in the same place, and all square to each other, and that the edges of the holes are smooth and round. A drill press could be used for this, using a forstener bit, but you'd be better off having this done with equipment meant for it, maybe taking it to a printing place with proper punches, unless you have a really good paper punch that won't bog down under the card stock. Bent and crumpled cards are not your friend.

 You thread a long strand of yarn through each hole, varying the colors as you choose (here is where Atwater's patterns help, but you can make up your own). Start simple; 8/4 cotton rug yarn works well; don't try to use yarn that's too loosely woven, or any that's got a lot of fluff or is sticky, like mohair. Tightly spun yarn is best. Don't go for bulky yarns.

Don't get your threads all tangled while you're threading the cards. Chain looping them helps. Stack the threaded cards with the threads you want coming up together in order. You will have four sheds once you start weaving. You gain tension by tying all the ends together on each end, using any handy grip (a doorknob holding one end, a knitting needle poked through the other knot and laced through a chair back's slats works, but any tensioning devise will do.) The cards are all aligned together. The threads should go through the holes all going in the same direction, right to left or vice versa. The cards run the same direction as the warp, not perpendicular to it. Two threads will be up, and two down, for each card. That's your shed.
 (you can make a simple stick shuttle by grooving the ends of a skinny piece of wood into two concave half-moons and wrapping your weft on that). To weave, while under tension, all the cards lined up like a pack of cards,all the threads going through them in the same direction, run your weft thread through the shed, on the near side to you, using both hands and turning the cards all together, 90 degrees, either clockwise or anticlockwise. You can rifle the cards a little as you do this, fanning them out a little, but keep them in a pack. Pack your last weft thread, using either your fingers by pulling the upper and the lower bunch of threads apart, or using your shuttle, and send your weft through again. Turn the cards again, going in the same direction. pack. place your weft thread through. (it's good to put the weft in at an angle, to allow for take-up. Don't pull in too much at the selvege, just snug it. Turn the cards 90 degrees in the same direction as before. pack. weft. turn in the same direction as before. You need to make at least one complete revolution of the cards to have each thread weave into the web. You can keep turning in the same direction, but consistently make total revolutions of 360 degees before you reverse the direction of your turns; if you were going clockwise, go counterclockwise. This will reverse the spin on the warp threads and will also reverse the direction of any pattern colors. If you have one color threaded through each hole of a card, the effect will be a stripe. You can get v-shaped twills by having four colors, one for each hole, repeated across several cards, but offseting their position in the holes (i.e.: red/green/blue/white in one card, green/blue/white/red in the next, blue/white/red/green in the next, white/red/green/blue in the next, then reversing) and then making several rotations before reversing direction. In one complete reversal, you'd get a diamond pattern with this set-up, and if you keep weaving in that direction of rotation for a while, the v-twills again. To get diamond repeats, go one whole 360 degree rotation of four weft passes, then reverse direction for four weft passes,nd repeat the above, four turns clockwise, four turns anticlockwise. If you keep going in one direction too long, your warp thread will twist up and you'll eventually have no shed to work with. It's important to keep your tension on, lest your cards get messed up and their threads tangled. It is wise to number your cards to help keep you straight. Numbering them on one side only allows you to keep the direction of the threads consistent in case of a mangle. When you need to store your work, push all your cards up tight against the woven web end. undo the other end from the doorknob or whatever is holding that knotted bunch. Don't untie the knot, though. Just chain the free warp, loop style, until it's snug with the cards.

One nice thing about card weaving is that it's portable. All you need is the yarn, the cards, the simple shuttle, and some way to hold your tension. It's a little tedious to thread the cards, but after that's done, the weaving is fast. And there are actually quite a few patterns you can find, or devise your own. Just don't try to go too wide; you want to have a manageable handful of cards, so that you can manuever them in your hands. And whatever tension you have, keep it consistent. Too tight, and the cards won't turn easily. Too loose, and the cards will flop in the shed and you'll be in danger of tangled threads. There is a springiness in the rotating action when the tension is right.

I hope this rather lengthy explanation of card weaving whets your interest. You really can get nice effects with it. And it is of course possible to sew the resulting strips together if you get really ambitious and want something wider. There is a lot of take-up, since it's thick. But you can conceiveably weave quite long warps, just looping the warp that you haven't woven yet to keep it a manageable length. The weave will be too thick to drape easily, making it unsuitable for applications that require that, but it is perfect for belts, straps, etc., and I could see it being used to make a nice winter vest. I even made my pilot dad a tie that he wanted this way, weaving a pattern called "flying geese". And it beats trying to weave on a cardboard box!

Happy weaving, Megan
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007 09:35:50 AM »

you might also see if you can find instructions for building an inkle loom.   I had one when I was a kid, they're fairly simple and inexpensive to put together, but of course I no longer have mine to show as an example.

if you can't lie no better than that......you might as well tell the truth.
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