Thanks to Jennifer for posting about Kathe Todd-Hooker's new book, available very soon. Kathe has addressed the process for warping of many kinds of tapestry looms in the book and I look forward to getting a copy. Her other three books are full of valuable information and I know the So Warped will be, as well. Her other books are Shaped Tapestry, Line in Tapestry, and Tapestry 101. Kathe sells the books at her website, Fine Fiber Press .
As I prepare to teach at John Campbell Folk School in a few weeks, I'm updating my handout. I asked the young woman who will be my assistant, to come over to the studio this week so I could do a few new photos for the revision process. I thought I'd post these to the blog and ask for your feedback... do they seem to clearly show the process I'm trying to describe? My handout booklet describes in text and photos what I demonstrate in the class. The booklet isn't meant to be a self-teaching tool but rather a reminder of what I cover in a class. And since I'm making the photos myself with a very inexpensive point-and-shoot digital camera, I don't expect print production quality of images. All those disclaimers out of the way, here goes!
Frame loom and parts, including two threaded rods and nuts (will be inserted in the two U-shaped copper pipe pieces, two PVC legs for the loom, shed stick, rubber band to hold legs together. By the way, the frame loom is a version of the Archie Brennan copper pipe loom as described at his website; I've made the change to 1/2" copper pipe from his 3/4" as he noted in his diagram and I've used 12" threaded rod.
Legs are placed with the Tees slipped over the copper pipe and the legs extending diagonally behind the loom--the long part of the legs is to be unscrewed and set aside while the loom is being warped.
Insert the threaded rods and slip the top part of the loom over them. Remember, nothing is holding the loom together at this point--so don't pick it up from the top! The frame will be held together by the warp, once that's on the loom.
Tie the warp onto the bottom of the frame using a square knot at the edge of the width desired. Lena Grace, my assistant, is left-handed so she's starting at the right and will move to the left as she puts the warp on the loom. For right-handers, you can start on the left and move to the right.
When warping it's helpful to put the warp into a basket or bowl on the floor, and place the edge of the loom at the side of a table with the edge extending over the warp source. Again, Lena Grace is left-handed, so she has the loom placed with the left side over the floor, the right edge on the table top (there's a small bit of rubber mat under the edge of the frame to keep it from slipping as she warps). Be sure to use an even tension when putting the warp on.
Loom is now warped for 4" wide, with the end of the thread tied at the bottom. There are four warps at each inch spacing as the warp goes around the loom frame. The warps at the back and those at the face will be come together for a sett of 8 epi. Notice this is a continuous trip around the loom with the warp rather than a figure-8 warping method that's sometimes used.
A shed stick is placed into the warps to create a shed that is always open. As this stick is inserted, the two planes of the warp, face and back, are coming together as one.
Here Lena Grace picks up the back warps and places them on top of the shed stick that's being inserted; the front warps go to the back of the stick.
Shed stick is in place creating the "open shed." This may be tied to the top of the frame to keep it from slipping out, if desired.
Three picks of the warp thread are used for a foundation. Pull each pick very tightly from one side of the loom frame to the other side and tie each around the other (slip up the Tee of the loom legs a bit so that the foundation can be tied near the bottom of the loom). These picks will not be part of the tapestry. The second pick is being tied off in this photo... third is yet to come.
After the three picks of foundation, space the warp ends evenly for the sett to be used (8 epi in this case). This initial spacing will be followed by a row of twining, using the same thread as is used for the warp. Then about 1/2" of plain weave is done, again with the same thread as the warp. Remember, only the three foundation picks go from frame to frame; the twining and the plain weave will be done only in the warp area, in this case, 4" wide. As with the foundation picks, the twining and the 1/2" of plain weave header will serve to space the warps and will not be part of the finished tapestry.