We have heddles!
Yes, it’s exciting enough for me to make it a big bold statement. For those wonder what the devil I’m talking about, allow me to give a smidge of background. I’m working on a weaving project on a warp weighted loom. I got the warp tied on, and chained up and tied to weights. So far so good. I declined to add a tablet woven band at the top because it’s just a practice piece, and I am wholly and firmly unconvinced that it’s an always thing. (More research needed, clearly). I’d say ‘fight me!’ about it, but really, just bring references about my wrongness would be sufficient. Proving an ‘always’ is hard at the best of times, and when we’re talking an era with little extant evidence to begin with.. well.. I don’t think I’m out in left field here.
And then it sat.
And it sat. And it stared at me balefully as I worked around it in our main room. (It’s not smack in the way, but it’s rather in the way). And I did other things, and I came up with all sorts of excuses not to work on it. Because I had to put the heddles on next, and I was being a wimp about trying something new. I’m a pretty experienced string person, and paralyzed by the notion of doing something new with string.
After a fairly solid conversation with my own head, and slotting in some downtime to actually recover enough cope for new things (is that just me? New things are too much when everything else is a mess.), I got out the instructions. And lo and behold.. the instructions that were promised to be easy to get the hang of were.. easy to get the hang of!
Let me back up a moment.. heddles. Great word.. weaving is full of great words really, but apparently weavers are incapable of using words that anyone else does. Heddles are the things that pull just some of the warp threads up at any given time. In plain weave (over, under, over, under) you stick heddles on half the threads, such that you can grab that half and pull them up when you need, or push them back when you don’t need. Fancier patterns require you to have just some pulled up, and then just others.. and hey.. if you have 4 different configurations of what threads you have heddled.. that’s a four shaft loom! In warp weighted looms, each configuration is a stick (rod.. dowel in my case) that has strings tied from the rod looped around a warp string. If you want a fancier pattern, you have more heddle rods. I have a very basic pattern (over, under.. it’s called tabby or plain weave.. see? All new words.), so I only need one heddle rod with half my warp threads tied on.
I get it all tied, and I take that lovely picture above and then I pause. And I realize that I have successfully put the heddle rod behind my warp. So the warp can’t move freely in their loops. So I need to take it all out, because I am an idiot.
I did get lots of practice in tying heddles, and it is now heddled up correctly, even if I forgot to get a photo of the current state. On to weaving next! (Post Pennsic at this point)
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