diffrent types of carpet looms and their effects on persian carpet weaving techniques

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For centuries, Persian weavers have been producing an eclectic array of rugs to suit just about every season, every reason and every personal preference. You can find rugs that are ruggedly woven with rustic, tribal patterns to rugs that are tightly woven to produce a sleek, refined finish. What is interesting to know is that these distinct weaving techniques, materials used and patterns of the rugs are not just random creations. Different tribes and different regions produce their own distinctive types of rugs that can be easily identified by their characteristic traits. Rugs created by tribal weavers are markedly different from those produced by village or town weavers.

Rug Loom Frames

The traditional handloom frame is tall, strong, easy to assemble, comfortable for weaving, comfortable for threading and deep enough to give better results. The framing pieces are large and the large ratchet handles make turning the beams and tightening the tension much easier. The frame usually has a knee beam and a foot rest. The frame has wedges for ease of assembly, is very deep and is convertible from counterbalance to countermarch. Laminated beams made from straight grain wood keep the loom square. The overall look is of a serious piece of wooden equipment.

The traditional loom has a frame with a tall castle, which allows for a hanging beater. The beater is tall and will give a longer, easier stroke. It is quiet, and doesn’t require a lot of strength. You don’t have to lift the weight of the beater as you beat. This means that the beater can be heavy and the weight is doing most of the work. You can beat a heavy beater without much effort. Hanging beaters sit in a cradle so they can be adjusted to beat perfectly square and you can vary the distance it sits from the breast beam. You can advance the beater as you weave so you don’t need to advance the warp so often.

Treadles attached in the rear give better leverage and easier treadling. They are tied with cords so they are adjustable in height. Deep looms give you long treadles, which are easier for adjusting sheds.

Cross beams and beaters should be made from laminated wood to make them stronger and keep them from warping. The uprights which hold the breast beam get the most stress and should be laminated. There will be a strengthening bolt through the upright where the breast beam is attached, as this part of the loom takes a lot of stress from warp tension. The circumference of the laminated cloth and warp beams should be from 9″ to 12″. Warp beams made for production weaving, can be removed from the loom frame without taking the frame apart.

A traditional loom has a fabric protector, which is a thin board placed outside the breast beam. This allows you to sit very close to your weaving without touching the weaving, giving you better posture. This board when raised slightly, acts like a fence to keep shuttles from falling off the loom when you are beating. This is especially helpful when weaving with more than one shuttle.

The kind of heddles your loom has is determined by the type it is. Jack looms need weight and so they have the heaviest metal heddles. Wire heddles are lighter than the metal ones. Counterbalance and countermarch looms do not need to add weight to the shafts, so they can use string heddles or Texsolv heddles, which are quiet and cause less wear on the warp threads. Texsolv heddles come in many sizes and can be put on most any loom. If your shafts do not have sides, any size texsolv heddle will fit.

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.

Knee Beam

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

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

Types of Looms

Vertical looms are undoubtedly more comfortable to operate. These are found more in city weavers and sedentary peoples because they are hard to dismantle and transport. There is no limit to the length of the carpet that can be woven on a vertical loom and there is no restriction to its width. There are three broad groups of vertical looms, all of which can be modified in a number of ways: the fixed village loom, the Tabriz or Bunyan loom, and the roller beam loom. The fixed village loom is used mainly in Iran and consists of a fixed upper beam and a moveable lower or cloth beam which slots into two sidepieces. The correct tension is created by driving wedges into the slots. The weavers work on an adjustable plank which is raised as the work progresses.

The Tabriz loom, named after the city of Tabriz, is used in North Western Iran. The warps are continuous and pass around behind the loom. Tension is obtained with wedges. The weavers sit on a fixed seat and when a portion of the carpet has been completed, the tension is released and the carpet is pulled down and rolled around the back of the loom. This process continues until the rug is completed, when the warps are severed and the carpet is taken off the loom. The roller beam loom is a traditional Turkish village loom, but is also found in Iran and India. It consists of two movable beams to which the warps are attached. Both beams are fitted with ratchets or similar locking devices and completed work is rolled on to the lower beam. It is possible to weave very long rugs by these means, and in some areas of Turkey rugs are woven in series.

The simplest form of loom is a horizontal; one that can be staked to the ground or supported by sidepieces on the ground. The necessary tension can be obtained through the use of wedges. This style of loom is ideal for nomadic people as it can be assembled or dismantled and is easily transportable. Rugs produced on horizontal looms are generally fairly small and the weave quality is inferior to those rugs made on a professional standing loom.

Flat woven carpets are given their colour and pattern from the weft which is tightly intertwined with the warp. Rather than an actual pile, the foundation of these rugs gives them their design. The weft is woven between the warp until a new colour is needed, it is then looped back and knotted before a new colour is implemented. The most popular of flat-weaves is called the Kilim . Kilim rugs (along with jewellery, clothing and animals) are important for the identity and wealth of nomadic tribes-people. In their traditional setting Kilims are used as floor and wall coverings, horse-saddles, storage bags, bedding and cushion covers.


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