Loom Waste

All loom have loom waste. It’s a thing, and it’s a thing that you just learn to live with. The chunk of warp that just cannot be woven, because of how the loom structure works. Usually it’s behind (or below) the heddles, to wherever your back beam is, or your weights are. Some looms are exceptionally efficient, some looms are /really bad/ for excessive loom waste.

My Fanny (go ahead, giggle. I get it. It’s also the name of a really common Leclerc loom, so get it out of your system now) is about average for loom waste (24″ or so), the warp weighted loom (WWL) that I’m borrowing is pretty excessive (almost 30″ or so). Inkle looms are shockingly efficient for loom waste (which is good, when you only have 60 – 70 inches of warp to begin with, you don’t want to lose half to loom waste!)

Forgive the mess I’m about to make of this photo, but I’ll try and show you what I mean:

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I recently asked online for ideas on how best to minimize it on a warp weighted loom, and after most folks failed to read the question and provided excellent, if extraneous, suggestions on what to do with it, there was a couple useful suggestions.

First off, have more slots for the heddle bar to rest in, especially further down, close to the shed bar. Not a solution for this loom, I’m only borrowing it, but good to keep in mind if I ever build a loom!

There’s also the very pragmatic solution of having a longer string upon your weights, such that your precious handspun warp doesn’t need to get all the way to the shed bar, some other string can. That’s the most practical solution for me, on a borrowed loom that I am hardly about to start drilling holes into.

 

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As for what to do with your loom waste? Naalbinding is the classic answer. (I’m pretty sure that the historical weaving internet has a pavlovian response to the words ‘loom waste’ and just yells ‘naalbinding!’ without hearing anything else) Pre-cut lengths of wool, it’s an obvious jump. One can also embroider with them, if you particularly wanted to. I decided to do neither, recently, and instead used them to replace the handles of my basket. Looped back and forth and then wound tightly, the wool works just fine for handles!

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Nothing ever really goes to waste, especially not when the process of getting from dirty sheep to spun wool is quite as labour intensive as it is. Use every last bit of it!

 

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