Friday, February 26, 2010

Medieval Box Loom

The above link will take you to the Louvre's site, and a picture of a tapestry from the 1500's that shows a lady weaving on a loom very similar to the one I picked up earlier this month. Today, I finally had an evening free enough to warp it up and give it a try...

I measured out 4 yards on my horizontal warping mill. As I came to each color change in the pattern, I simply cut the old color, and tied the new one on to the old thread.

I tied several choke ties to keep everything in place, then chained the warp off the mill.

I had ordered this Beka rigid heddle from Paradise Fibers. However, my usual sley hook didn't fit through the holes. I fixed that by making a mini sley hook out of wire. I put a coil at one end so I would have something to hold on to, and a little hook at the other. Then I pounded it with a hammer to harden the wire, and make it stiff enough to use. Worked like a charm!

Next, I sleyed the reed. I used a couple of binder clips to hold it upright while the job got done. Yay for improvisation!

I tied one end of the warp onto the back apron rod, then used the reed to space out the warp evenly. I wound on with my left hand, using my right to keep tension on the threads. I wound strips of paper onto the back beam along with the warp, to keep the threads from sinking down into each other. That helps with maintaining an even tension.

Then I tied the warp onto the front apron rod...

...and wove a header. I experimented with 4 or 5 different weft threads before I decided on a nice green.

Here's a shot of the band in process. The side threads are actually greener than shows up on my monitor, and the yellow stripes down the middle are brighter. I call this pattern, "Road Trip", as it was inspired by looking out at the road stretching before me on long distance meanderings.

And here is a picture of the loom, all up and running. Isn't it cute? It will be a great take-along project!

EDIT: I got the loom from for $75.