A short year and a half ago, I bought an ancient 4-harness LeClerc Nilus floor loom and began to learn to weave cloth.
Pattern drafting is fascinating. I really enjoy dreaming up a pattern which combines different weaves and is suitable for my floor loom.
I do believe I can treadle with the best. My feet have learned to count and are content to stay in close proximity to their appointed treadles.
Getting desired weft picks (ppi – picks per inch) is sometimes a challenge. But that, too, is coming with practice.
If I do say so myself, I’m doing pretty well.
Every serious weaver knows a project which turns out well links directly to the quality of the warping job. If the warp isn’t right, the entire project is in jeopardy. In fact, if the warp isn’t right and the project turns out well, the weaver is riding a wave of pure luck. The next time with the same warp, the project could become a disaster.
Warping with assistance is better in some respects than warping alone. However, unless the person is a weaver or knows what is happening to the threads and why you do this or that, there can be some real lash-ups (to use a fishing term). It is a shame to put yourself, let alone family and/or friends, through this sort of trauma.
For me, warping alone has been hit and miss. A lot more miss than hit. I can perfectly install a fairly short warp of sturdy yarn, and the project will be wonderful. But a long warp of fine yarn is nearly impossible. Subsequently, I have stayed away from projects I want to do because of the warp yarn size or length.
Lately, my sister, a master weaver, and I have been reading about warping with a trapeze as done on Glimakra looms at the Vavstuga Weaving School in Sweden. The trapeze keeps warp tangle free, under tension and in view while a lone weaver takes necessary steps to get it tightly and evenly wound around the back beam.
My sister has a Glimakra loom, for which she constructed a working trapeze. After she finished it, she sent me a photo. She loves this method and has integrated it into her favorite warping tools and has alternated its use with sectional warping (for which I have insufficient room).
Well, as I stated above, I have an old LeClerc Nilus, so have a few challenges, like the fan shaped treadle mechanism attached to the foot rail. I consulted with my sister, made drawings, made plans, ordered more texsolv (just in case) and then I called in my son who builds houses. He immediately got the plan, made it his own, and today constructed a trapeze for my loom. All I have to do is vacuum up the saw dust.
Before the trapeze was installed, it was necessary take off the cloth beam (front). [I had a small project on the loom which I cut off in order to remove the cloth beam so my son could make the trapeze. Now I’ll remove the trapeze and resume my little project. Then I’ll design a project with a long, long warp.]
The materials purchased for the LeClerc Nilus project:
· 2 closet rods six feet long cut to 5 feet (a little wider than my loom).
· 2 boards ¾” by 2 ¾” seven feet long (could have been shorter, but seven feet sounded good to me).
· Bolts with butterfly nuts & washers ¼” x 3” or 4” or whatever it takes to go through the castle and the board. Or a clamping system of some sort.
And that’s it – oh, yes, one more thing – something with which to, or someone who will measure everything correctly, drill holes in your castle and attach the rod holders. If you cannot bear to puncture your castle, you can use a wooden clamping system similar to the clamps that come with the Glimakra loom.
My own trapeze has 5 yards of warp under tension in front of the reed and another yard or so behind the reed to my tie up method on the back beam. We’re talking 6 yards! The weaver has hands free to wind on the weighted warp, placing sticks as required.
The trapeze is easy to assemble and disassemble. The pieces don’t take up much room and can be stored behind a door or in a closet. The hardware (bolts, clamps, whatever) can be stored with other weaving tools.
As I continue with a project using the trapeze, I will pass along tricks I have used which have worked. If you have questions or answers (ideas), please comment.