It was my birthday last week and my parents had a moment of inspiration and generously bought me an Ashford 24″ Rigid Heddle Loom, with three different size reeds. Mum and I had been to Spin a Yarn the week before and see some lovely woven shawls that a member of staff had made and was selling in the shop. We were both admiring them and it piqued my interest again in weaving.
It took about half an hour to build the loom and I dug out some DK wool that was in our stash. I started to follow the instructions to warp it but ended up going a bit wrong, partly because it was quite late, I’d been drinking champagne and was interrupted with phone calls and visitors who came over for birthday cake!
So I put the loom away until I had more time to dedicate to it. The second attempt at warping, a couple of days later, was much better and it didn’t take too long once I got the hang of it.
The instruction booklet that came with the loom suggested putting a strip of paper up against the knots on the front beam and then start weaving… so I did! I did about 10cm of weaving and it was ok but it wasn’t great. I went to bed, taking my other book “Hands on weaving with Rigid Heddle Looms” as a bit of bedtime reading. One of the things that it suggested was to weave a few rows with some scrap yarn instead of putting a piece of paper at the front. So the following evening I un-wove what I’d done and started again doing just this.
I have to say that I was much happier with this. The first few rows were pretty uneven but this is what the scrap yarn is for. Once I started to use the real yarn, it had sorted itself out and was much more even. So this is what I’ll do in the future.
I’m very chuffed at how my first scarf turned out. The stripes are completely random. The edges could be better, but they could have been a lot worse I think and it’s reasonably balanced. I even used a pick-up stick (piece of balsa wood that was lying around in the loft) to create a different sort of pattern every once in a while. I think that perhaps I should have used a different size reed. This was a 7.5dpi reed and a 10dpi might have been better for the yarn I was using.
I’ve been spending ages looking at all the weaving projects on Ravelry to get some ideas for what to do next. There is some amazing stuff. I turned out our stash this afternoon and dug out some Rowan Wool Cotton which I might use to create a plaid pattern. I think I need to get a loom stand before I start the next project though. Working with the loom on the dining table made my back ache after a while. I’ve also ordered another weaving book from Amazon which should give me some more ideas.