Sunday, February 21, 2010

20 February: More low tech

This week I have been mostly playing at weaving with a backstrap loom.

Some sticks and rubber bands, plus a couple of bits of string, made an improvised loom, on which was woven a backstrap. Lots was learnt from mistakes - crossing warps is not a good idea, nor is using soft cotton (probably only dishcloth cotton, but plenty of it in my stash).

Anyway, in spite of all that, the backstrap was made, and then a sample strip gave the chance to try out some variations, like twining, twill weave, and pile.

The current project is to weave a bag to keep the bits of stick, string, and rubber bands in, tidy and together. Here is a picture of work in progress (obviously without a body in the way) -

The body sits on the stool, with the orange backstrap round the back of the hips, and the loops on the ends round the large stick. As the fabric is woven, it is wound round the near stick and held in place with a dowel and rubber bands.

I went to the local old-fashioned ironmongers to buy a broom-handle. The assistant corrected me - a broom is very large, for sweeping yards, what I wanted was a brush-handle, a smaller item for sweeping indoors. I stood corrected, and paid my pound for a 4 foot long, 1 inch diameter stick.

That makes the 2 sturdy end bits; lengths of dowel help keep the warp in place. The lovely tool with the weft wound onto it is a large netting/band shuttle from Michael Williams, fine woodworker.

The warp in the photo is handspun tencel, and the weft is handspun ramie, one of the skeins dyed last week.

Full instructions for making your own backstrap loom can be found on WeaveZine. Yours doesn't have to be orange.

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