Monday, January 07, 2019

Warping My Jack Loom

Warping My Jack Loom
for a doubleweave blanket using Bartlett wool
Sett: 6epi (sleyed double at 12 epi)

(This was a slideshow on my old blog published on 4/9/2012. Since I no longer pay to host my domain I moved everything into this post for a reference)

My method is based on my reading of Deb Chandler's Introduction to Weaving and Cay Garrett's Warping All By Yourself and on a wonderful class I took with Tom Knisley at The Mannings.

I start by laying two flat sticks from beam to beam. The beater is pulled forward and I've used the big spring clamps to hold the reed on the sticks.

You can see the sticks going through the harnesses. The sticks are narrow enough to fit between the harness and the castle if I have a really wide warp.

I've put in my lease sticks and clamped them to the sticks too. I use a big binder ring from Staples to hold the lease sticks together. Then I cut through the end of the loops, or if a lot of knots were used you can cut up an inch from the loop end.

The warp is loosely wrapped around the back beam.

After finding the center of my reed and my warp I begin sleying the reed. I look at the cross, find the first thread and pull off the stick completely and put it through the reed. I keep the hook below the reed with my right hand and use my left hand to feed the hook. I secure the ends below with slip knots, usually according to my threading pattern. What I like about this is you see the way the warp will look and you can pull out colors and move them around. Great for a mixed warp. Some people sley from one color at a time, skipping dents as needed. I usually go right across (it will be a little messy, but it all straightens out)

Now I go to the back of the loom and bring the end of the warp over the castle and let them hang off the front beam.

Now put the reed in the beater and you're ready to thread!

Here's the same view from the back. Now I lower my back beam to the floor and put a stool or folding chair right in there. I also anchor the warp to the breast beam.

I push the beater towards the heddles.

Remember to turn your threading draft upside down, that way harness one will be the furthest away from you. I put the threads under the harnesses and hold them with my left hand. The I pull out with my right hand, all the way to the end, bend and push through the heddle. This is the slow part, because I double check every repeat, but time spend here will save you much angst. 
I'm about 75% of the way done. I tied slip knots in one inch sections so they'll be ready to tie on..

After I finished threading I put the back beam up and tie on to the apron in one inch sections. I push the beater back to the breast beam - then if I have any tangles the beater will come up to the castle. That's my signal to stop and untangle. I make one full rotation and then go to the front and give a tug. If the warp's not too wide I can fit half in each hand and tug. Some people go as far as putting the foot on the breast beam and really pulling, but I've found that the key is even tension, not heavy tension. This is where Cay Garrett's tensioning system can be used. You can also use lease sticks. Step on the tabby treadles and insert them in opposite sheds between the heddles and the back beam. 
I usually put a piece of screen door molding (.75" x .5") next to the knots and start the paper there. The molding keeps the knots from popping through. If you have a very long warp you can also insert warp sticks every couple of yards.

After the warp is beamed, come around to the front and tie on to the rod in 1" sections. I do the two outside groups and then alternately work into the center, increasing tension on the cloth beam as needed.
To start I throw three picks of heavy scrap yarn without beating. Beat and repeat. That's all it usually takes to even out the warp and be ready to go.

And here we are! Opened out, fringe twisted, and washed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mornings are Getting Cooler

And it's the perfect time for working on a new cardigan.  This one is Claudia's newest cardigan - Mossy Vine.

It's really interesting to knit.  Lot's of new techniques even for someone who has been knitting for fifty years! I've got another 10-12" on the body then the sleeves and bands.  Should be ready by October!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sampled and Ready to Go!!

 Finally got everything wound on a tied up.

My original plan was to use silver gray for the weft so I tried that first. Meh!  Other samples, going from bottom to top: off-white, evergreen, sagebrush, spring green.  After this shot I tried some 10/2 black but thinking that the thinner, darker yarn would make the warp pop.  Not so much.

The sagebrush won - just neutral enough to highlight the obscure the colors in the warp.

The tie-up included a floating selvedge on each side but of course I didn't bother with it.  That left some problems with the first and last warp thread. Solved that problem by threading them on harness 5 and tying it to treadles 1 and 3.  

Width is 13.2" in the reed and should give me two runners, one 70" and the other 60", plus a few placemats.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Taming the Monster

After thinking about how to continue with that pile of colorful spaghetti I put it downstairs and went on to other projects. Yesterday I decided it was time to tame that monster.

After lots of silly mistakes I was able to get it wound on using the trapeze.  I'm half way done threading and hopefully soon I will be weaving.

Part of the delay for getting to this project was driving up to Long Island and bringing Jackson back.  We spent lots of time exploring in Valley Forge, along with the zoo.

The ruins of the old Colonial Springs Bottling Company
Relaxing on the "relax" bench
Green Iguana

We even had time for a selfie on his last night!!! I look ridiculous but he loves it -- probably because I look ridiculous :-)

He wants to come back for two weeks next summer.  I better start storing up energy now!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015


My father never swore around us while we were growing up but after serving for more than thirty years in the military I know he had quite the vocabulary!!    He would say things like "Son of a Sea Biscuit" and when things were really going wrong he'd say that everything was Backassward.  Well, that's exactly what this weaving project is turning into!

I think it's because I used several project ideas and then came up with my own "shortcut" to winding so many different color combinations.  My "thought" process was here.

At this point I'm pre-sleying in an 8 dent reed so that I can keep the 3 thread units together.  I'll thread it and then use my raddle to spread it out over the planned 18.3" width.

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Saying Never

After a lesson on Saturday I rented a couple of hours on the long arm and quilted one of the many tops in my bin.  This mystery quilt from several years ago - not one of my favorites - was a good choice for a first project.  

I'm not saying I'd never buy one of these huge machines because that always comes back to bite me in the ass but  ......  I am, however, planning on renting the time to quilt some of my bigger projects.  I was pretty slow setting up yesterday and it took 3 hours for a 56 x 70 quilt but next time will go much faster.  Quilts can be easily taken off the frame in the middle of the project which will allow me to break up some of the bigger ones. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Roller Birds and Bumbaret

Finally getting the warp together for my Roller Birds and Bumbaret.  If you haven't seen Jean Newstead's design before here is Cotton Cloud's photo.

I created a threading chart by using the eyedropper tool on the photo of the cones.  I'll wind each set of colors separately and combine in the reed.

First up is the terra cotta and natural, the main color.  This will alternate with each of the other 5 combinations.