Monday, 27 June 2016

Setting up for Log Cabin on a Rigid Heddle loom

Remembering how to set up  your loom can be daunting for the first few times. Wasting precious yarns and making a mistake that takes longer to sort than finishing the whole project, are worries for new weavers.
I hope this blog helps with the setting up for this check fabric design.

This post is for all my friends at the Guild of Long Draw Spinners for whom I am leading a weaving workshop next Saturday 2nd July.
I was feeling very happy with my outdoor photoshoot but then the weather changed and I had to go inside. The photos I took indoors are no where near as good as those outside. I'm sorry, but when you have gone completely through a process like this there is no going back to take more photos. Next time I will check as I go along.

Log cabin is called a block weave and the blocks can be varied in size according to your requirements. usually woven in 2 contrasting coloured yarns the blocks are created by your threading sequence. The 'diagram', 'weave draft' below shows you across the top the order that your yarns need to end up on your loom. the squares on the far right show the order that you pass your shuttles, dark then light in turn through the 'sheds' - created when you move your heddle up then heddle down.
Log Cabin Dark Change Photo:  This Photo was uploaded by ksfiber. Find other Log Cabin Dark Change pictures and photos or upload your own with Photobucke...:

I am endeavouring to show you pictorially how you get to this stage .

'Googleing' 'Log cabin weave' will show you images of the weave structure, but as, in copying and pasting them, I have been warned of problems I cannot show you them here, Please look.

These show typical log cabin fabric woven in 2 contrasting yarns of the same thickness.

The loom I am setting up is a very old Dryad one, given to me by a school I worked at in the 70's. It has a metalex rigid heddle, the only ones available then, with a total of 12 slots and holes to the inch. I find a 4ply yarn just right for this heddle.
Most looms seems to be supplied with a 10 thread per inch heddle and this may be all you have. To create a balanced/evenly woven fabric you will need to use a yarn that wraps 20 threads, touching side by side, over one inch of ruler.
I have used both colours of  warp thread so they can be easily counted. As you can tell there is still a little room but I have no option but to thread 12 threads per inch with the only heddle I have!
The wraps sample below is DK yarn which wraps 16 thread to the inch, so an 8 dent rigid heddle would be needed.

Gather your equipment.
You will need:-
a surface long enough for your required length of warp - eg. 2 metres.
G clamp or warping post that clamps to the end of your 'table'.
Yarns, probably centre pull balls, and a container to control them.
Threading hooks
Brown paper, or something similar, for winding your warp.

I recommend marking your RH in the centre slot and either side to show where your warp threading will begin and end. Her I have marked six inches either side of centre. I leave my centre marking in permanently.
now with heddle marked and loom and yarns in place, you can begin to thread/warp up your loom.
My G clamp is centred at the opposite end of the table to my loom and yarns. The back 'legs' of the loom are hanging over the edge of the table, this keeps it in place while warping, to ensure all threads are the same length.
Each yarn is tied to the back warping stick of your loom in turn and
 each colour is threaded through your RH. Here I have threaded the pink/dark colour first, through the marked slot and the looped end placed over the G clamp.
The light colour/grey is then threaded in the same way through the next slot along and 'hung' on the G clamp. You have done this all before but probably with only one yarn at a time.
I usually take the colours in turn, so as not to forget one and keep the colour sequence correct.

In this case after alternating the colours for a way, I tried threading one colour (pink) in alternate heddle slots, it seemed quicker. Then I began to fill the empty, alternate slots with the grey. It worked well, so I took the grey to the other warp marking in alternate slots, filling in with the pink when I'd finished.

 Tie each colour off with a secure knot.

Heddle threaded, it's now time to wind the warp onto the back roller/beam.
If you need a break, either leave the warp on the G clamp or chain it. (I needed to get indoors because rain was threatening proceedings!)
I put a stick/ruler in the last loop of the chain and tightened it to secure.
The loom and warp are now safely portable.
Wind your warp with even tension onto the back of your loom, putting some quality brown paper between the layers of warp.
Now comes the tricky bit....... sequencing the colours to produce the typical log cabin check ....I'll describe it in another post.

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