How to warp a rigid heddle loom

The rigid heddle loom is my passion. I get excited about colour and texture and they are ideal for that.  You can create lots of patterns on them too of course.

Warping these looms is relatively simple once you get the hang of it and does not take too long.

First clamp the warping peg to a table. Put a weight on the table if necessary so it does not tip over (hence pig in photo)

Attach warping peg to table

Position the loom with the front facing the peg. Clamp it on too. The distance between the loom and the peg will be the length of the warp, minus about 60cm/2 feet of wastage.

Put the yarn on the floor behind the loom. Tie the end to the back stick. Put the heddle in the ‘neutral’ position in the loom.  This is the middle position, neither up nor down.

Use a reed hook to pull a loop of yarn through the heddle.  Pull on the loose end until it is long enough to drop the loop over the peg.  Do not pull it tight or the warps are likely to pop off the peg or pull it off the table.

Winding the warp round the peg

Pull another loop through the heddle and repeat. Continue till all the slots you want to use are threaded like this.

The slots all have two threads in them at this stage. There are no threads in the holes yet.

Tie a spare bit of yarn round the warps for safety.  Remove them from the peg and cut the end of the loops.

Wind the warp onto the loom, keeping it under tension and as tidy as possible. Insert pieces of paper between each layer of warps as you wind them on. This prevents one layer from embedding itself in other layers, which can make the warp uneven. Pages from magazines or flip chart paper work well.

Engage the ‘elbows’ to tilt the back of the loom up slightly,  if using an Ashford knitters  loom.

Take one of the warps out of each slot in turn and thread it through the neighbouring hole.

Threading the holes in the heddle

Tie the threads to the front stick in groups of four or so. Tie in a single knot first.

Tie the threads round the front stick with a single knot.

Go back along the threads, tightening each group in turn and tying in a half bow. Tightening them all at once like this helps to get an even tension.

Tension the warps and tie each group firmly with a half bow.
The warps tied on to the front stick

Put the heddle into the up or down position.  Insert a piece of folded paper or some card into the ‘shed’ or space between the warps.  Change the heddle position and insert a second piece of card. This card covers the knots when you wind the warp on.

Insert a strip of paper or cardboard into each shed.

Weave a ‘header’ with waste yarn. Do three shots of weaving, leaving loops at the sides. Beat all three shots down together. Repeat this once more.

leaving loops at the sides enables you to pull the header out easily afterwards. This is not part of the weaving, it is there to even out the gaps between the groups of warp threads before you start the actual weaving.

Weaving the header with waste yarn
Beat three shots of the header down at once, then repeat.

You are ready to weave!

Spinning and Weaving Courses Chez Nous

One of the things I love to do most is have people to visit.  We live in a plain wee street in a lovely bungalow in a simple Ayrshire village.  Our back garden is a real surprise, as we grow a lot of veg in a relatively small space and are actually WWOOF hosts too.  (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

Simple living has always been a part of what we do and we decided years ago that living in a village was more sustainable and a better life than being in the hills (as we were previously).   So we have a modern, well insulated bungalow, solar panels, a wood burning stove, grow veg and live in a place with three buses an hour, people around during the day and hills in every direction.  Yes, we still have the hills.  You can set off and walk in any direction from here.

So it makes perfect sense to have ‘cosy courses’ in our living room.  People love them and the numbers are smaller – often 3 or 4 people but certainly no more than 5, depending on what it is.   Hubby makes soup for us and we eat around the kitchen table.

The most recent course was a ‘flexible’ two day spinning course.   Beginners on day one and improvers on day two.  You could book for one or both days, and all levels except complete beginners can come to day two.

Local accommodation is available and we also have a spare room where you are welcome to stay.  You can have a wee peek at our house here we are air bnb hosts.

Oh and we also do one to one tuition, anything from half a day to two days and stay the night!  Your very own micro retreat chez nous, in other words.

To see the current course list, visit Create With Fibre.

Victoria on a one to one spindling lesson

Knit 1 bike 1 Update

The Knit 1 bike 1 book was published in May 2016.    Get your copy here. 

The work for the exhibition was completed September 2016.

The project has been featured on Radio Scotland three times, TV Border and in many newspapers and magazines.

And the first exhibition took place at the Textile Tower House, Hawick Oct-Dec 2016.  They loved it and declared it their ‘feel good exhibition of the year’.

More dates are now planned:  

The Carnegie Library Ayr, 1st – 10th April 2017

Stair Community Centre Ayrshire 21st – 24th April 2017

Heartfelt Dalmally Oct/Nov 2017 dates to be confirmed

Dumfries Museum 21st Nov – 9th Dec 2017

There will also hopefully be dates in Dalmellington where I live, that is being worked on at present.

Janet gets home after her 10 week woolly cycle round Scotland
A book signing at the local Chemist’s shop

Duns – and I am home in 11 days!

Home in 11 days time and having a ball.  Visit to The Border Mill in Duns today.  They process alpaca on a small scale for producers. Bought some wonderful fibre and they also sell yarn.     The White Swan at Duns is lovely.  Plain but homely which suits me fine with the most awesome of pub meals in their humble bar.

Alpaca dries at The Border Mill
Yarns and fibre for sale at the Mill

Giant puffballs

Always wanted to see giant puffballs and there they were at the side of the road  Not a place you would walk and cars would never see them. Oh the joy of a bicycle. And of course they are now on the ‘must crochet or knit’ list.

Giant puffballs near Innerwick

Workshop in a field

Lovely to see everyone and there is nothing like spinning outdoors. All so relaxed.  Haddington Spinners are a hardy lot and camped in Angela’s horse field whilst I had a lovely comfy bed in her spare room.

the Haddington Spinners workshop
Staying with Angela, Bill and dog Kai at Longniddry

Prestonpans

Thrilling to be on the east coast because not only have I cycled up Scotland as far as Dingwall but I have now also gone from one coast at Ayr in the West to Prestonpans on the other side. Dipped a finger in the water just to prove it!

The Bike at Preston Pans

More talks and workshops

The time is whizzing by now I am nearer home and have less than three weeks to go. This workshop a couple is days ago was at Victoria Bennett’s house in Edinburgh.  She is also a jazz singer and has a show at the Fringe this year.  Last night I gave a talk with slide show at penicuik arts centre.

Today I cycled 26 miles and am now at Longniddry staying with Angela and Bill. Haddington spinners are camping in the horse field and tomorrow I am doing a wee workshop with them on longdraw spinning. Wonderful fun tonight sitting in the field!

the workshop at Victoria’s

Lanarkshire – A trip down memory lane

Cycled from Paisley to Glasgow then hopped on a train to Lanark.  We passed through Uddingston where I spent ost of my childhood. Lanarkshire still feels like home and the people just seem to speak my language.  At New Lanark my wee workshop shared the space with the Quaker Tapestry.

notice for the workshop at New Lanark

Paisley to new lanark

Cycled back from Paisley to Glasgow. Virtually the whole way is off road on good tracks. Peaceful, quiet and lovely. Glasgow has great cycle ways. Hopped on a train to Lanarkshire and it iscwindy tonight again.  A blast from the past as my first ‘proper’ job was in Lanarkshire. This was my local and still going strong.

The Wallace Cave, still offering tea and biscuits for £1