Rigid Heddle Loom Weaving Tips
Rigid Heddle Warping Tips
- Center the apron rod on your loom. Nothing can wreak havoc with winding on your warp than a rod that is over the side of the loom. Center the rods and the tie-ons. If your tie-ons are not centered, they could cause the rod to wind on at an angle.
- Use a warp separator that is wider than your warp. Do not let it wind on so crooked that it no longer covers the edge of your warp. My favorite warp separator is reed placemats. They behave better than kraft paper and last a very long time.
- Always ensure that the rigid heddle is in the neutral position for direct warping and sleying the reed.
- We’ve all done it. Make sure that you have your loom positioned correctly and are tying the warp to the warp beam and not the cloth beam.
- Start tying on your warp bundles in the center of the loom. Find the center and grab an inch of threads to the right and secure them on to the apron rod. Tie the bundle on using the first step of a surgeon’s knot. Now, tie a bundle from the left-center. Continue alternating right and left.
- Place a paper towel tube that has been slit open over your warp bundle knots. Covering the knots will keep them from distorting the warp.
- Do your best to center the warp in the heddle. A little off probably won’t hurt. But, a lot off may result in uneven beating of the warp.
Measuring Your Weaving
- Make a guide string.
- Measure a string or piece of yarn the intended length of your project plus allowances for the header and some for attaching to the cloth beam.
- Double the measurement and cut the string.
- Then, you should attach it to the cloth beam by using a half hitch.
- Run the string outside of the heddle or through the last slot and over the back of the loom. I attach a weight or big clip to the end and just let it hang.
- It will just hang there until your cloth is advanced. Just ensure that it does not get tangled or bunched up along the way.
- If you use solid color yarn, you can even mark off any color and pattern changes.
Getting Started – Rigid Heddle Weaving Tips
How to even out your warp threads with a header. I usually tie my warp threads in half-inch or one-inch bundles. The bigger the bunch, the more significant the gaps at the beginning of your weaving. Here is how I pull them together so I can start weaving.
NOTE: I like my right to left pass of the shuttle to be on an up shed. That is why I start this procedure on the left. If you prefer the down shed on the right, then start on the right side. I have found that consistency in my methods makes everything go more smoothly.
Using scrap yarn similar to what you are using in your project:
- Open a down shed.
- Insert your scrap yarn from left to right, don’t beat.
- Open an up shed
- Pass your scrap yarn from right to left, don’t beat
- Open a down shed
- Pass your scrap yarn from left to right
- Now, beat.
The warp threads should have aligned. If not, repeat the sequence.
Hemstitching is quick and easy to do. Whether a pattern calls for it or not, I have learned to hemstitch the beginning and end of every project. It is just better to be safe than sorry–Trust me on this one!
If you hemstitch your project, when you start weaving, don’t forget to leave a tail about three to four times the width of your cloth. Weave about an inch. Then, do your hemstitch. When you are finished weaving your cloth, don’t forget to end with hemstitching your edge.
Rigid Heddle Loom Weaving Tips for Throwing the Shuttle
When throwing your pick, always enter the warp close to the rigid heddle. The shed is at its deepest near the heddle. Consequently, this helps prevent snagging and going under the wrong warp thread. It also allows plenty of room to bubble or angle the weft.
Advancing the Warp Tips
Always place your heddle in a neutral/resting position when advancing the warp.
First, I loosen the back brake to allow several inches to roll loose. Then, I tighten the front brake.
If you always weave in the same area on the loom, your weaving will be more consistent. Advancing your warp every three inches will ensure that your weaving is consistent.
Getting to the End Tips
- At the end of a recent project, my warp threads began to hang below, and the wrong warp threads were getting woven as I passed the shuttle through the shed. I inserted an empty shuttle behind the heddle at the back of the loom. A ruler or anything that would help separate the up and down sheds would work. Problem solved.
- Hemstitch the end.
Keep a Record of Your Projects
One of the best ways to keep from making the same mistake repeatedly is to keep a record of your projects. Sometimes writing things down embeds them in our memory, and we don’t make the same mistake again.
Other Rigid Heddle Posts
- Rigid Heddle Loom Comparison-Ashford and Schacht
- Buyer’s Guide to Rigid Heddle Looms
- Poff Studio has a YouTube video on the 10 Mistakes Rigid Heddle Weavers Make When Warping.
- My Favorite Rigid Heddle Loom Books