Meanwhile: while using the valet

For the first many years of my weaving life, I used warping sticks exactly as I was taught: for the first round, place the sticks so they nearly touch each other. * Proceed with making 3 turns, 4:th turn put warping sticks, but not quite as many. * Repeat from * to * until done.
I noticed that, for narrow warps, I had issues with the edge tension more often than not. When I analyzed the situation, I found the reason:
as the first part of the warp was beamed, with sticks, the sticks would bend slightly.

Here, I use three cords from warp beam to "apron bar". (Never use more fastenings than necessary, or the tie-on bars can warp!)

When I used warp sticks from the very beginning, they would look like this (exaggerated, of course):

The pressure/tension on the warp would cause the sticks to bend slightly - and that would often cause different tension on edges and middle.
So - nowadays, I divide the warp (to get away from the middle cord), and wind on enough that the warp is more even with the height of the beamed cords, as seen above.

When I think the surface is even, I introduce the warp sticks. (I would never beam a warp longer than 3-4 meters totally without sticks!)

To make it easier to handle the sticks (I'm doing this by myself, remember), I use button-hole elastic to make a... "mat"?. I make these "mats" appproximately as long as the circumference of the warp beam - and I use them like I was taught: 3 turns, 1 turn with sticks, 3 turns, 1 turn with sticks... - until done.

When weaving, I try to do "the same" on the cloth beam - ie no sticks until "level". This usually means I'm using (say) two pieces of heavy paper/cardboard plus one piece of lighter paper for the protection of the beginning of the cloth. When I think the cloth beam is about level, I put another "mat" of sticks - and that's it.

As you may remember, on this double warp I had two sets of lease sticks , each suspended from it's own "hanger".
The warps were offset a bit, and the blue warp (or, at least, the lease of the blue warp) is under the white.
Now, when threading (from the right), obviously I start with the white warp - there is a single layer of white to the right. I pick the white end "randomly" from the 4-end cross. (Quotation marks, because I try to get them in order - if I see a twist, I try to avoid it.)
When I start threading the double layers, I pick one end from each cross, threading end-on-end. I have never had any problem from the fact that the crosses do not correspond - . (And yes, I leave the lease sticks in, still in their holders - but I make sure they are well back towards the back beam.)

Sorry, no pictures from the threading - but here is an article about how to derive a double-layer weave where the layers change places.


Prequel: before using the valet

... there must be a warp.
This is the making of the blue-white warp beamed here.
The warp consists of two: one blue warp, one white, to be beamed together. Both are cotton of various grists - 16/2, 24/2 and 30/2. The blue warp has (if I remember) three slightly different nuances.
This warp was woven into a message shawl.

Starting with the white, I put a "tube holder" under a row of hooks on the wall (the picture is a montage - the hooks sit at about 120 cm height).

I use 4 ends, mostly because I have 4 "slots" between my fingers... holding them like this:

This way, the yarns cannot twist around each other, which makes beaming (and, later, weaving) easier. I wind with only one cross, and I do the cross with all four ends. Like this:

After both warps are wound and chained, I take them to the table, take out the reed I will use for rough-sleying, put something heavy on the warp, mark where I will start the sleying:

The sley-hook is my favourite (read more here), and all my reeds has their midpoint somehow marked (here with a piece of wool).

I start picking out the loops from the cross.

Each loop has 8 ends - four "coming" and 4 "going".
For 8 ends per cm, I chose a 40/10 reed (standard Swedish reed-numbering - 40 dents per 10 cm). For the rough-sleying, that means one loop (8 ends) every fourth dent:

I make sure that the stick goes in the same loop as the nearest lease stick, to make transferring the cross easy:

Why, I have been asked, do I transfer the cross at this stage? Why not do it after beaming? I have two answers: 1. 'cos this is what I was taught and (more important) 2. 'cos I tried leaving it until after beaming, and had a lot more tangles. With the cross behind the reed, the reed will place the loops in order for the lease sticks for further separation and ordering.

Had this been the only warp, the rough-sleying would be done, and the warp been taken to the loom (and the valet), but, in this case, there is a white warp, too.
It is to be offset a bit, so I first determine where it should begin:

As this warp, too, shall be sett at 8 ends/cm, I use the second of the empty dents.
When the white warp is sleyed and it's cross transferred, too, both warps are combined on an extra stick:

The extra stick now hold the loops in order, and the whole thing can be transferred to the loom. I just shove the heddles to the side(s), so the warp can pass between them. (When having a wide warp, I take off the shafts - easy to do with this free-hanging type.)

The reed is put in it's normal place, the loops are transferred from the extra stick to the back "apron bar"(?), the two pairs of lease sticks are placed in their supporting hangers, the varp is routed under the breast beam and over the valet's roller:


Warping valet

When I first learned to weave, there was one method (and one only) to get the warp onto the loom (onto the warp beam, that is): using helpers.
Here is an illustration from my Cyrus (Manual of Swedish handweaving) - mine is printed in 1980, but I'd say the picture is a little older...

As you can see, it takes 4 persons to get a medium-width warp beamed - 3 if it is narrow, and more if it is wider.

This method has historic roots. It is described in many books (among them Grenander-Nyberg, Lanthemmens vävstolar). - often it it said that there were just a few "experts" in every village, to be called on every time one wanted to start a new warp. Most older descriptions tell about how "everybody" came together to help "setting up the loom" - it took several helpers to get the warp beamed, it took two to thread/sley. (There were also several "magic sayings" - should one accidentally come upon a "setting up the loom", any part of it, one should hurry to take a few very high steps, saying "SO high shed, SO high shed", for instance. From Tillhagen, Vävskrock.)

Some years later the guild was collecting tips-and-tricks - and it turned out that more-or-less everybody had their own specials for beaming without help. (One of my favourites was to stretch the warp in front of the loom and place a vacuum on top of it...)

Then came the commercially produced "pådragningsknekt" - literally "valet (helper) for winding on". It is produced for sale by AK:s snickeri, and looks like this:

They recommned stretching the warp from the beam, through the reed (rough-sleyed; raddles are all but unknown in Sweden), over the breast beam, under the foot-rest, up over the valet and down to the floor again. Weights are attached and let ride up to the top of of the valet, then lowered.

I decided to make my own - after all, the commercial product consists of three pieces... Mine is made from 2 pieces of 2-by-2 (inches), approx 2 meters high. There is a hole near the top, where I insert two pieces of steel rod. Between them I hang a sturdy aluminium tube.
The lumbers are placed inside the loom frame; one rod is inserted; tube is held in place and the second rod is inserted. Took about 15 minutes to build (including fetching the drill); takes about 3 minutes to put in place...

As my loom is not as "nice" (I mean smooth), I have modified the warp route - I let the warp go under the breast beam and directly up and over the valet.

For the last bit of warp, I re-route the warp to go over the breast beam instead. Takes many moves of the weight for the last meter!

For weight, I use bricks in (as you can see...) ordinary plastic bags.

The advantage of this kind of easily disassembled warping valet is that it is portable, flexible... I can even use it for the AVL, if I want to. In that case, I lean the lumbers out over the track (or what's it called, where the tension box rides?). I tie the (rough-sleyed) reed to that same track. The beaming has to be done with more care
(ie more slowly), because the reed is not as stable as when it sits in the beater - but it works.

Perhaps I should warn you: aluminium will stain fabric. I've put paper on my tube, which also has another life: it acts as strengthening for the (too weak) knee beam.


Announcement /annons

(Jo, jag vet att det inte är samma sak)

Nu har jag öppnat en början till webshop på min "vanliga" sida. Än så länge bara på svenska, och med priser gällande bara för Europa. Välkomna dit!

(I have opened a webshop at my "real" site. As yet, it is only in Swedish, and is only for shipping inside Europe. Others please e-mail your orders - don't wait for the English version, it will take some weeks yet...)


Some random thoughts

At the beginning of the new year, it is time to study the statistics from the old.

But first a short story:
in the middle of the autumn, I went to a weavers' meeting. There, we were, among other things, introduced to a New Important Project: a national crafts assoc has decided to promote handweaving.
They had several reasons for this - the first mentioned was that there is nothing about weaving to be found on the 'net ("If you search for weaving, you get no hits").
Another reason mentioned was that there are no weavers in Sweden anymore, and, after all, Sweden was once famous for its weaving and weavers.
Also several techniques (among them trensaflossa) were "dead", and needed published instructions.
So, the proposed main goal of this New Project was (among other, smaller, goals) was to create a 'net portal to contain "everything" about handweaving - .

At that very moment I searched (Google) for "vävning", with no qualifications, and got about 63000 hits. Among the first 50 hits about 4 were about other things than loom weaving (weaving intrigues, weaving horses, which probably is called something else in English, and two hits for dictionaries).
"Handvävning" only yielded about 1600 hits, of which about 30 of the first 50 were about weaving, the other 20 were from yarn sellers.
As it happened, my guild had had a program about trensaflossa just a week earlier - and, lo and behold, our page about trensaflossa was already to be found - on 3.rd place among about 850 hits. (Ok - our page wasn't there when she prepared her talk...)


Now I have been looking at 'net statistics from 2010.
I have my own web page, but I am also responsible for my guild's page.
Vi KronobergsVävare has had web presence since late 2003. We have accumulated about 100 different pages, of which maybe 10 has a content other than weaving (a few annual meetings and so on), but I really try to make sure that there is some weaving content on every page. We have an index page (in English - for Swedish, go "home" and choose "register") which lists content sorted into weave techniques, material, dyeing, ergonomics, theory, ideas, guild projects and exhibitions, curiosities. (Granted, some of the pages/meetings fall under more than one category.)
We also have a fairly large links page, linking to many "foreign" organisations.
A number of our pages are also translated to English.

So, what did I find in the statistics?
We had 2300 Swedish visitors, 470 from the US, 380 from the rest of the world, making up a total of about 3150 visitors. That makes an average of between 8 and 9 visitors per day. Those visitors viewed a total of 13150 pages, which gives an average of 4 pages per visit.
We had a total of 100 (clicked) outgoing links (I have no idea of how many links there are on the whole site), of which only 35 had more than 10 clicks. 35 had less than 5 clicks - of which 18 were to foreign organisations/resources (such as Weavolution, Complex Weavers, HGA, GCW, Atasda, Italian and French sites... AND handweaving.net). (No, no links here. You are all invited to use our links page, to better the statistics for next year... ;-)

The pages in English (about 20) all have more than 15 hits. Of the 8 outgoing links (from pages in English), 6 have more than 10 clicks.

What can I conclude from that?

Combining the "information" from the Project Person above with the fact that only 1/3 of our links have been popular, perhaps I can say that Swedish weavers don't care about a) information available on the 'net and b) weaving in other countries.
(Yes, I know: English is a foreign language to us, and the study of English hasn't been mandatory in Swedish schools for more than about 50 years...)

Combining the above with the fact that my own site has had 3600 Swedish visitors and almost the same number from the "rest of the world" - well... that was the reason why I decided to write my blog in English. And, in fact - this blog has had more than twice the numbers of visits from the US (only) than from Sweden (1550 and 650, respectively).

So, again: who is interested? And of what?
... looking at keyword statistics for the guild site, the vast majority is after free weaving patterns/instructions.
Most just search for vävmönster, vävnotor (patterns, drafts) but several add "gratis" (free of charge).

There has been several discussions here in Sweden over the last couple of years about the "fact" that there is no handweaving information to be had on the 'net. And that that is especially unfortunate, as all "youngsters" are supposed to search facts on the 'net only (supposedly they can't read books?). Said youngsters have complained that us "oldsters" (if it isn't a word, then it ought to be!) do hoard our information/knowledge, and besides, we only weave boring things like tablecloths.
What I'm wondering is: HOW can us oldsters "share" - if a) books are "out" and b) the 'net is "out", too?

To add some weaving to this (over)long post, here is a boring old thing (sunscreen?), woven on a boring old countermarche, using 4 shafts (but could have been only two...):

Mercerized cotton 50/3 and fishing line for warp, white horeshair for weft; tabby, but woven with a fan reed (sorry, I won't disclose the sett :-) - there is a limit to what I want to share...)
And: no, on account of the fishing line, it could never be used as a tablecloth.