Friday, September 19, 2008


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I did it. Instead of weaving with the fell close to the front beam, I moved the fell a little more than half way towards the heddles. Problems gone. Oh, very slight softening of threads on one block on one treadle only. But when the bobbin touched the shuttle race at that point on that shed one time, those threads cleared quick as a wink. So I know that a shuttle passing across the shuttle race would do the. Also a swift flick of the fingernail across that part of the warp at the fell also clears it.

You can look at the video here that Laura Fry did of her weaving. See where the fell is. Hers is not quite half-way to the reed. It is closer to the front beam than mine is. Because of the nature of the warp I have on right now, the weaving goes better when the fell is more than half-way towards the reed.

Another thing that I remember seeing/hearing a number of times is that the ideal place for the fell is where the beater is exactly perpendicular to the fell when the beater reaches it. Laura’s beater is not perpendicular to the fell on the loom she is using, And mine is not either, despite being even closer to the shuttle race. And looking at my loom, the fell would have to be within an inch or so of the resting beater for the beater to be perpendicular to it on arrival. And that would definitely not work.


One of the amazing results is how much faster I wove! I thought the added quickness was due to not having to constantly flick those loose threads down at the fell clear. And then I went to Volume III of Osterkamp and saw, no, that the weaving will go much faster because you don’t have to pull the beater so far. And she’s right. And the beating is also much easier.


But,there is a downside. According to Osterkamp, the closer the beater comes to the front beam (i.e., the closer the fell is to the front beam) the more the beater will pack in the weft. Perhaps subconsciously this is what I had been trying to achieve in the first place. No, I wasn’t that smart. But what I shall have to do is to compare the picks per inch before and after I made this change. If there is a difference, and I suspect there will be, it won’t matter because the whole piece will be cut up for samples. But it does mean that if I want a closer beat I will have to try some things.

  1. Weave with a temple
  2. Double beat
  3. Add another weight to the beater (I already have added one to the bottom; I would add the second to the top)


Getting to this point of having a difficult warp that finally weaves easily has been a long schlog. But the long schlog has definitely been worth it. The weaving – even using only pirns and bobbins – goes much more quickly, my body is much more relaxed, and I am enjoying the weaving process much more.

But I have learned something else I think important. Often the answers to questions that weavers ask are either answers about what would be true with an “average” loom, with an “average” warp, with an “average” structure. So the answer might not always work. And if the answer is a specific answer involving a specific loom, a specific warp, a specific structure, that answer will not necessarily be applicable in other instances. This does not mean that answers are unhelpful. It means that answers are often only the beginning of a learning process. It is very useful to have a place to begin!

"Learning the Hard Way" was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on September 19, 2008. © 2008 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Dorothy said...

Hi Peg, I also found that my weaving was faster and more confident after watching Laura's video. I'm going back to it now, as you have recommended, to look at the fell.

Leigh said...

Well, your learning the hard way benefits quite a few of us, so hopefully that increases its value all the more!

I'll have to go back and look at this in Peggy's book. One of the nice things about the Glimakra's hanging beater, is that there are 3 notches in the beater cradle, so that the beater can be moved without having to advance the warp. I don't have this fine tuned yet, but I can see that it would be helpful to take a closer look at.

Thanks for the informative post!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Dorothy, I bought the original CD when she first brought it out, and it was really helpful. It is wonderful to have a chance to see an experienced weaver actually weave.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Hi Leigh,
I'm glad my learning benefits others; thank you for sharing that. I told you you were getting a wonderful loom!!!