Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Warping the countermarch loom...

I am happy to say that my Harrisville Designs Rug Loom is now warped. It took about 4 hours longer than I thought it would. It always does. I ran into problems at the end with the tie-up. Apparently after a year and a half in storage and three years of never changing the treadling before that, I have forgotten how to tie it up. After some pondering, I managed to make basket weave with this tie-up:
(where O is a raised shaft and X is a lowered shaft)
Basket weave was nice and all, but not quite the tapestry structure I was looking for. So I tried again with this tie-up (I double the treadle tie-up so that I can reach them easily no matter which side of the loom I am sitting on--you would really only need two treadles):
Bingo. Plain weave.
At one point I was so flustered that I tried to find a diagram online for a countermarch tie-up. The information available is remarkably scare. I will definitely be making a video about this subject before too long. Geez! I am sure there are weavers out there who warp their looms as infrequently as I do (after all, how often do you do a tie-up for your tapestry loom? Only when you take it apart to move it!) and I imagine them all madly googling "countermarch tie-up" and finding nothing much useful.

I went to high school in an age where I did my research in the library with a card catalog and index cards. I copied down information from the books BY HAND. When I was in college I think the card catalog was on computer, but I still was using books (you know, those wads of paper bound together on one edge) for the actual research. By the time I got to graduate school I had a computer into which I typed the information I was copying from, you guessed it, books. But now, I expect to be able to find information like how to tie up a countermarch loom in plain weave (for goodness sake!) on my smart phone in about 5 seconds. The information wasn't there. There was an excellent article by Madelyn van der Hoogt, but it was super hard to read on the tiny screen and the photos were for a different sort of loom than mine and my brain was tired. (The article was from Weaver's magazine, Issue 26 which I believe was printed in 1994.) In the end I dug out Rachel Brown's The Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing Book. She had a draft for twill for a countermarch loom in there and from that I realized what I had to do. Problem solved. Thanks so much Rachel. You always come through for me.
(The writing on my equipment is courtesy of my grandmother. She didn't have a single piece of weaving equipment that wasn't written on. Mostly it is endearing except perhaps for the first edition weaving books that are underlined within an inch of their lives.)

I am pretty glad to be done with this part of the warping especially. I am 5' 10" tall and when I have to climb inside the loom I do understand the greatness of Cranbrook's extended back space. That sectional back beam isn't a very comfortable back rest.


  1. Congratulations on getting the loom up and running in its new space! The studio looks so lovely with the natural light coming in. Can't wait to see all the beautiful tapestry works you'll create there!

  2. Congrats on getting your loom warped! I also have lapses in my memory when warping. I agree, there's so little on the internet (that is easy to find at least). I always go straight to my books, which luckilly live in the same room as the loom.
    Can't wait to see your next weaving. :)


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