A friend has commissioned me to do a weaving project and I’ve had the opportunity to try a new technique and learn a few things.
I am inkle weaving a batch of garters with d-rings at one end for fastenings. In most cases, when you see a woven belt or garter with a buckle or fastener of some kind, the weaving is threaded through the buckle and then stitched securely. At the suggestion of the Hubs, I tried an alternative of weaving the band directly onto the d-ring.
At first I struggled with the warping process as I tried to do a continuous warp as I typically do on my regular inkle looms. That made it really difficult to sort out which threads were the “open” threads and which got a heddle.
Ultimately, I rewarped the pattern and tied off each thread individually. The big issue, as can be seen in this image, was keeping the d-ring straight. Pulling the threads to either side helped somewhat, but until I started weaving it still wanted to shift to one side or the other.
The flat beater bar I slid under the open threads to lift them up to make one shed. The looped heddle strings with the dowel were used to left the other threads to make the second shed.
Overall, this worked fairly well and once I had woven a couple of rows, the ring wasn’t so difficult to keep straight. I could adjust the leather belt to change the tension as the weaving took up slack on the warp. There were a couple of points that I slid in additional beater bar under all of the threads to take up a little extra when I loosened the belt.
Weaving became something of a struggle once I passed about the halfway point of the loom – it got a little beyond the comfortable stretch of my arms. I ended up putting the bottom of the loom on the floor and propping the body against a chair in front of me to work.
I did get 24 inches out of this process (the length requested) but it was a bit of a pinch towards the end of the loom as it got harder and harder to open the heddle shed because of the threads being tied around the bar at the end of the loom.
I’ve never done this particular technique before – with a bar to raise one shed and the stick through the heddles for the other. It’s often used in flat frame looms and backstrap looms. Once I got going, there was a rhythm to it, like other weaving processes, though I struggled with the heddle stick somewhat – it kept wanting to tip and fall out of the heddles. I’ve seen some diagrams that suggest tying the stick to the sides of the loom just to keep it from falling out and if I planned to keep going with this loom I would probably try that.
However, after some thought and discussion, I’ve decided that this process will go more quickly and end up looking better if I just weave lengths of trim on one of my standard looms and then stitch the rings in place so that’s the plan to move forward! I already have my big loom warped and started weaving this evening – onward and upward!