Thursday, January 01, 2004

I Need some help!

I bought this loom from a friend who thought she might use it for tapestry. She bought it at Material Culture and didn't get a lot of information. It's one heavy sucker, we think it's elm. It's warped with heavy cotton and with heddles tied to a big stick. There seems to be a header woven with the same warping thread and tied to the sides of the loom.

The heddle stick sits in a groove in a block which is tied down now, but isn't really connected to the loom. The tension seems to be adjusted by this big threaded rod. But I can't quite figure out how.

So here are my questions: Do I just lean it up against a wall to weave? Once I take the string off the heddle bar and the block comes off, what do I do next? Assuming I figure out how to weave on it, how do I put a new warp on? I guess the main thing question is - does anyone know what kind of loom this is and how I use it. I was hoping that it would be appropriate for Navajo type rugs or wall hangings.


  1. Its definately a tapestry loom of some sort. These were often leaned up against a wall to work on. The shed is made by lifting up the heddle bar, which will raise half the threads. Usually there was another shed stick threaded through the other half of the heddles. Looks like you've got this on already(above the heddle bar). I am looking at a diagram of a similar type of loom in "A Celebration of the Curious Mind" (an old Interweave book about spinning and weaving around the world). It looks like the shed stick would be used to do pick up designs, and you would weave a ground thread with the heddle bar. (Like the Guatemalan weavers do). I would look at pictures of backstrap or other primitive type looms -- maybe there's some info online? I remember seeing a diagram of an old Norwegian warp weighted loom. Wish I lived closer so I could help you figure it out.

  2. Charleen! You have a Turkish rug loom! It's very nearly like mine, and yes, you can use it for tapestry. Traditional Navajo has four selvedges, and this loom can be adapted to do that, but right now it's set up for a carpet.(*Knotted Pile*! she screeches, dancing around with glee)
    The heddle bar should be holding that layer of warp threads slightly away from (in front of) the other layer. If it is not, there must be a block or some other way of attaching the heddle rod, so the threads are held in front. The other shed is made by pulling down the shed stick and turning it on it's side. Then the *back* threads pop forward.
    Yes, you would lean it up against something sturdy, and usually it would be tied down or bolted so that it is firmly in place.
    Go to Marla Mallett's website I can send you my handouts, which may or may not help without me (you could send me a plane ticket :-)). I have tons of books to recommend, email me and we'll start the *carpet-weaving-over-the-internet-class*

  3. Thanks Carolyn and Sara for all of your help, both off and online. I'm really getting the carpet bug (I know, that was really bad!)