New hybrid loom!

2015-02-10 18.40.28Aren’t computer keyboards supposed to be used as wood-shaving collectors? I added a beater edge to one of the shuttles I cut out on Sunday. Which came out rather well. It could probably use a bit of sanding, but it’s entirely functional currently!

The glue on my loom had finished curing, so I took the tension peg from my large loom and warped it up with some black and copper thread. I’m hoping to manage to figure out pick up work this time, but given my luck with it thus far, I’ll probably just have Halloween trim.

Which really, not a bad thing! I’ll probably use it for something. The total warp length appears to be around 8 feet, though I haven’t actually measured it yet. I just estimated with the fingertip to nose trick. I think it’s just about the same as my big loom, and yet weighs so much less and is much easier to work with since it’s about half the size. It’s only a little bit bigger than Carly’s tiny loom, but I made the shed area longer so I can better try to do tablet weaving on it. (that’s one issue with the tiny ones, the distance you have to work with is not very useful for any fancy card weaving/double heddle/weird non straightforward inkle weaving. But the small size is much better for experimenting and travel.. I’m hoping with this loom I’ll have the best of both worlds.

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Today’s woodworking, brought to you by the letter S for snow

So while I was over at Alex’s on Wednesday I borrowed his jigsaw to cut out the first loom iteration from some half inch plywood I had purchased a while back.

Lessons learned:

* Don’t use sharpies for lines, it’s a pain to “erase” since it seeps into the wood (I knew this, I just keep screwing up and need to remember this)

*Curved lines are easier, plan with this in mind

*Plywood will de-laminate. Need to figure out how to avoid this when cutting or drilling into it.

So with that part done, I put everything else I’d need for the loom into my car to wait for my next available time to borrow Rozi’s shop and drill holes for the pegs. Also I needed to cut pegs. And sand them.

When the snow today ended up not being that bad during the daylight hours, I emailed Rozi to see if I could come over and use the shop for a little while. She said yes and so I was off and running.

I had two dowel sizes to work with 3/4″ and 1/2″. Alex and I discussed my options and we thought it might be a good idea to use the larger ones on the outside corners since they seem to get more stress than the inside pegs on the loom, but when I got to the shop I failed to find a way of drilling 3/4″ holes, so I went with all 1/2″ inch holes.

I also had two choices, a regular drill bit and a spade bit. I tried both, both left splinters on the backside of the plywood. I’m still not sure what difference the two options made, but they both worked for my purposes.

2015-02-08 18.39.21Once I had all my holes drilled I cut my pegs and sanded off their sharp splintery bits on the ends. And then I remembered I had 4 shuttles to cut and drill also, so I went back and did that and then sanded them to be not spiky. Though at some point I need to put an edge on each of them as they currently aren’t terribly effective beaters since they are blunt. But I’m curious if my design for how the string goes on will work better for me since I have a hard time keeping the string from falling off. Also man Maple is pretty.

Then I headed to the hardware store to get a bolt for the tension peg, which is great and all, but I need to now make a tension peg and drill a hole in it for the bolt.. Perhaps Wednesday.. Or I might just use the one from my big loom for now. And then home to glue it all together.

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I expanded the tension peg hole a little with hand tools and softened the sharp edges of the peg holes with my hand tools. I then put gaffer tape (it was what I could find, I wanted masking) on the back and put some wood glue in each hole and then put the pegs in, twisting them up and down to best distribute the glue. It’s sitting on a shelf now drying. We’ll see in 24 hours if it’s good enough. I really should have cut holes slightly smaller than my pegs and then forced them into the holes, as it was they slide in easily and I’m not sure if the glue will be enough to hold them properly.

While I had my hand tools out I worked a bit more on my ceder spoon. It’s coming along beautifully. It’s so light and petite. The bottom picture shows it with some butcher block oil on it, and a bit of burnishing work on the bowl to make it smooth and remove all the tool marks. It’s amazing how much adding the oil and burnishing makes it feel more substantial and sturdy. It weighs about as much as a soda bottle cap, but no longer feels like it would break with use. The bend in the handle is based off of one of the Uppland finds, and it really makes for a rather comfortable eating spoon.

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Inkle weaving

Remember back forever ago when I made myself a loom?

Built Feb 2014

Built Feb 2014

Well, nearly a year later I finally got around to weaving on it for real. I warped it up and started a trial run, but then I got roped into making trim for Edward’s Birka coat. I had Anna help me start it while I was in Quebec for a baronial investiture or maybe it was some kingdom championship, it all blurs together.. But I started working on the trim there, mostly in the hallway with all the retainers trying to help me do it perfectly, and attracting a bunch of excited locals who were thoroughly impressed, which was hilarious as I had just started, and it really wasn’t going well. But on the ride home from Quebec City, I got pretty good at it and had finished 6 feet or so in the car, some in the dark. I took it with me to work on during, er, yule? in springfield. The loom and I started getting into fights, but I finished it up pretty quickly and saw the potential of the inkle loom.

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The blue and green with the red2015-02-03 10.51.52 stripe in the middle was the trim I made in Quebec, this bit was the start of the warping, so it’s pretty amazingly terrible, but after this 8 inches or so it 10934137_10206310022137798_3309149000039387723_olooks pretty good and ended up being the main trim on Edward’s coat. (I also helped make the coat, Thyra’s dress and both of their under tunics.)

I then tried to make a wool bit of trim using self striping yarn, which is coming along interestingly, but I really don’t get along well with my loom. It’s a bit big. It’s hard to use on a table, it’s nearly impossible to use in a chair. I mostly can only use it sitting on the floor. And it’s not scaled properly for me, my arms are quite short and it assumes I am much bigger.

So I had been thinking of making a new loom, based on the plans for the first one but smaller. My initial plans were to make a loom that was just a little smaller and perhaps a little taller so it would make about the same amount of trim as my larger loom. But I hadn’t had a chance to try out one of the mini looms and they looked so tiny so I was a little hesitant to go that small. But at Bardic, Whitney’s friend Carly lent us one for a little bit, so Sunday I warped it up using a pattern from the ever helpful Inkle Pattern Dictionary using some White Wolf thread picked up at both Pennsic and Birka, and a new smaller shuttle I got at Birka from them as well. I warped it up around 6pm on Sunday, and finished the trim (64 inches) last night around 10pm. Talk about instant gratification!

That's my new shuttle up in the left hand corner of the picture

That’s my new shuttle up in the left hand corner of the picture

So the tiny loom is pretty awesome. I can easily use it on my lap, on the table, in a chair, on a couch, travel around with it! 2015-02-02 22.15.47And I sort of like the tension flap that everyone hates in this loom design. But it’s not perfect. It still has the foot that is shorter than the loom, which makes it not stand well on a table and really seems like not a great design system. Also the pegs are quite loosely attached, which is mostly due to how it was manufactured. The holes don’t go all the way through! But I love the single piece of wood frame and the warping design. 

I got some dowels and a piece of really nice plywood a few weeks ago to make a new loom based on my old one, but now after using this one, I think I’m going to mash both up together! The original big loom has a 30 inch total length, the mini is 15 inches. The big loom is 13 inches tall, the mini is 7 inches. But the difference in the length they can make is not much:102 inches vs 64 inches, or 3 feet. Which seems weak for a doubling the loom in size.

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So I’m thinking, how about 18″ long, with the tension peg where the big one is, and a warping pattern similar to the little one. Maybe also a tension flap like the little on for minor adjustments? And only at most 9 inches tall. Made from 1 piece of plywood with a handle built in, and having a foot that extends the whole length of the loom. I have dowels in an intermediate size, so I’ll probably use those and see how it works. I’m probably going to end up with a variety of sized looms… let me know if you want one. The iterative process will result in a number of looms that aren’t perfect but will work quite well.

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