31 March 2012

First turn of the cloth beam

After 6" of weaving, it was time to make the first turn of the cloth beam. At first 6" was just an arbitrary marker, the goal I set for myself to weave before turning the beam. But then I looked at this.

Here you can see the buildup of fuzz on the shed rod. The warp is casting off fibers as it moves up and down in the shed rod lacing. Because this is a very nicely spun worsted yarn there are not a lot of loose fibers to shed, but it's still happening. Partly that's because of the way I beat. When I weave on the warp-weighted loom I don't actually "beat" the weft, I simply put the edge of the beater against the fell and press upward evenly until I feel that I am lifting the weight of the loom weights. Thus I make gravity and the loom weights work for me rather than expending all that whomp-whomp-whomp upward-beating energy that feels good to do but doesn't have as even and satisfactory a result--at least, not in my experience. YMMV. But my method does shift the front shed's worth of warp up and down slightly through its lacing, which encourages this slight fraying and build-up.

So it seems to me that it would be a good idea to turn the cloth beam rather frequently, in order to give each section of the warp threads as short a time as possible in that constraining position against the shed rod. Although I didn't take a photo of it, I also noticed some slight fuzz buildup on the heddles. I expect that frequent turning will save the warp threads from wear in that position also.

This is a shot of the warp after six inches had been woven but before any turning of the cloth beam had taken place.

This is how the warp looks after the first turning. It was a quarter-turn of the cloth beam (which is square in cross-section). Next time I think I'll try a half-turn.

One thing I have noticed about this project: there isn't a lot of fibery fluff building up under the loom the way there usually is when I weave on a warp-weighted loom. I think that's probably due, again, to the superior quality of this yarn. So far, the only thing we've had to vacuum out from under the loom has been cat hair. Mercifully, my cat is entirely disinterested in the enticingly dangled weights of this project, but somehow his hair gets under the loom anyway.


  1. Have you ever video recorded yourself weaving? I'd love to see the process....

  2. Sorry, April has conspired to keep me from both weaving and blogging. Better soon, I hope.

    I have some short videos of me knitting heddles. They're not very good; I really need helmet cam to do that task justice. But maybe later in the process I can ask my husband to take some general video for the purpose of overview.