Loom Depth and Comfort
Traditional looms have generous depth, giving you easier treadling. When the treadling is easier, you are more comfortable, can weave more easily, and you will not tire as you weave. This depth will provide a better shed and lessen the strain on the warp. This large frame also gives you plenty of space to get inside for threading and sleying.
A knee beam is absent on most small looms. This beam is located near the weaver’s knees when sitting at the loom. It raises the woven material and protects it from the weaver’s knees.
Benches that are comfortable
A proper bench the correct height is essential for comfortable weaving, as well as more accurate, faster and less tiring weaving. Treadling is very light on a traditional loom, so there is no need to have a slanted bench or to sit teetering on the edge of the bench. You can sit comfortably on the bench and you will not tire as fast. The bench should allow you to sit very close to the loom. Sometimes your balance will be the best if you are actually touching the breast beam as this will support your back. If you must lean forward to get closer to your weaving, your balance will not be good, your posture will not be good and there will be tension in your lower back.
Warping for perfect tension
Good warping techniques will produce a rug which is square. The most important part of the warping process is the winding and beaming of the warp. The winding should be done carefully in bouts which do not make more than six to eight inches of the warp. The warp beam should be large so that the warp will not have to build up very much. A beginning rug weaver should warp for only one or two rugs at a time to assure perfect tension. The warp should be beamed as tightly as you will be weaving which is very tight. The warp on the beam should look like a perfect cylinder. To achieve this you need to beam with many sticks. Long warps will need selvage papers.
Beating a Tight Rug
It is not difficult to get a tight beat on a large counterbalance or countermarch loom. On small looms it is more difficult. The short underslung beater attached to the bottom of the loom requires more strength for beating. Of course, you must always put your hand in the center of the beater for a level beat. If you cannot use a deeper loom with a hanging beater, try these things:
- Advance the warp more frequently.
- Use a temple so that draw-in does not hamper or resist the beat.
- Be consistent in the angle you place the weft across the warp.
- Add weight to the shafts if it is a jack loom.
- Add weight to the beater if it is lightweight.
- Cut rag wefts into two strips instead of one.
When to Beat
A tight beat might require beating two or three times, beating on a closed shed and again after changing the shed. You can try beating first on an open shed, but often this causes large weft loops at the selvages. A closed shed will hold the weft where you want it to be.
Stabilizing the loom
There are several things that you can try to keep the loom from moving when you beat. Stadig loom feet are frames with small cradles which keep the loom from moving. No other solution works as well as they do. If you have a cross piece on the front or back of the loom which is close to the floor, small blocks of wood will raise the loom an inch or two to allow for use of the Stadig loom feet. Rubber backed carpet will work but it may stick to your floor. A long piece of wood placed between the loom and the wall can work, but you will need to protect the wall and the loom from surface damage. Using this can also damage your loom frame.
Selvages and Craftsmanship: How to get a square, tight, flat rug with perfect selvages
A beautiful, square rug that will lie flat on the floor requires that all parts of the warping and weaving are done correctly, but one of the most important things that you need to do is to use a temple. Not only will it give you better selvages, but it will produce wefts that are straight across the rug, giving you a finished rug that is square. The purpose of a temple is to improve the quality of the weaving, but it will also increase your weaving speed. It will keep selvage warp threads from getting worn or broken, give you a tighter weave, a more even beat and make the beating easier. When not using a temple, the weaving becomes narrower than the warp threads in the reed. This is draw-in or narrowing of the weaving. This causes the warp threads at the selvage to be to closer together. This closer sett means that the weft cannot be beaten down as much as in the center of the rug and the selvages will build up. You get a rug which is not tightly beaten and the weft stripes are not straight across the rug. A temple will not correct this problem, but it can prevent it. If you try to prevent draw-in by leaving the weft slack at the selvages, your wefts will be loose at the selvages. Loose weft at the selvages causes less warp take up and the selvage warp threads will become loose. Eventually the weaving becomes more difficult. The temple will prevent this, so you can keep your weft tight at the selvages without drawing in. Weighted selvages are sometimes used as a substitute for using a temple, but this will not solve the draw-in problem. Weighted selvages should not be needed if you beam your warp tightly. Floating selvages are used primarily for catching the edge warp threads on reverse twill weaves or two shuttle weaves. It is easier to weave without them.
Types of Looms