TYEING ON LEASHES
Leashes are a very useful tool in weaving. Instead of picking each individual warp in a closed shed leashes allow the weaver to speed up the process by grabbing a group of warps. Here is a short video showing how I tie the leashes. I made this video 6 years ago and plan to replace it with a better version showing the full process.
WEAVING WITH LEASHES
Leashes speed up the weaving process. This video shows how I use leashes to weave.
SMOOTH LINES ON THE HORIZONTAL
This is a simple technique for weaving a smooth line as opposed to a wavy line on the horizontal. You can use it on a smooth, gentle curve too.
In the center of the photo below you see that I have placed a single weft of red in the new shed. Previously, I was weaving with two strands of red. I then lay one strand of the next color I will use, in this case one black, in the same shed as th eone strand of red. The weaving on the left, woven on top of the single strands shows how smooth the line becomes as opposed to the weaving on the right where I wove normally with two strands of black on top of two strands of red.
WARPING A TALL LOOM
The loom in this video is almost 9 feet tall (including the longest legs), with a weaving length almost 6′. The completed tapestry measured 44″ with hems. The extra unwoven warp space is needed for the shed with the leashes (see Tying Leashes). I began weaving with legs tall enough to sit comfortably at the loom and weave. As I progressed up the warp I raised my seat and/or replaced the longs legs with progressively shorter ones.
The loom is made of 3/4″ black pipe with threaded rod and nuts to tension the warp by pushing the top and bottom parts of the loom apart. The warp is cotton seine twine sett at 8 epi (ends per inch). It is important to have constant even tension. It doesn’t have to be high tension as long as it’s even. I always set aside time so I can complete the whole warping process uninterrupted.
To warp more easily the loom is laying horizontal, resting on the feet and leash bars. When the warp is complete the loom is stood up. On the top and bottom bars of the loom I have tape with markings every 1/4″ apart. This is handy to keep the spacing even. At this point spacing isn’t critical but I like to have it in the ballpark. I also count the warps as I go. t’s easy to loose count so keeping distractions to a minimum is helpful.
It would have been easier on my back to have the loom up on hard boxes so I didn’t have to bend down so far. In the foreground you can see a bit of blue tape on the upper bar of the loom. This tells me where to begin and end the warp. As you can see I am not warping in a figure 8, I’m going round and round. In a later step I will bring the front and back warps together.
BRINGING THE WARPS TOGETHER AND SPACING
Once the warp is on the loom you have to bring the warps together and space the warps to weave. Using the same warp I wound on the loom I tie a length onto one upright post of the loom close to the bottom bar. The length of this warp is 3 times the width of the warp plus enough warp to wrap around the vertical warp frame about ten times. I weave through the warps bringing the back warps forward. Be careful to not cross warps in this process. When I reach the opposite side I wind twice around the opposite post pulling tight before tying two half hitches around all the warp wrapped around the upright I just wound. I repeat this two more times so there are three half passes* across the warp from post to post. This brings the warps into one plane for weaving. Then I weave a few passes with the same warp to begin setting the spacing. In the video I am moving the warps sideways to create the proper sett or spacing which in this case is 8 ends per inch (epi). I then wove a few more passes. This weaving is temporary and will be removed after the tapestry is removed from the loom.
*A half pass is once across the warp. A full pass is across and back.