Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Mini Inkle Loom

I’ve been wanting to follow the tutorials in Laverne Waddington’s book, “Andean Pebble Weave” since I brought it home earlier this year.

I could have put a warp onto my Schacht inkle loom, but because my attention span is so short nowadays due to the increasingly numerous homeschooling events and schedule I have to juggle, I wanted a small inkle loom that I could warp quickly and throw into my backpack.

Enter the new-to-me Good Wood mini-inkle loom. This loom measures 12″ long, 3.25″ wide, and 5.25″ high.

My loom came thoughtfully pre-warped with a white cotton warp, which couldn’t hold my interest after a foot of weaving, so I took it off. I put on a warp of crochet thread, but the colours were so pale that I couldn’t see the pebble weave design.

It only took a few inches of weaving for me to decide I didn’t want to spend any more time on this warp, either. Besides, I had warped it incorrectly, and while it still worked, it offended my type-A sensibilities.

Warping it “incorrectly”, one can wind 51″ of warp on the loom, while with “correct” warping, one gets only 49″ of warp length. Perhaps it’s better to do things the wrong way sometimes.

For some reason, I thought I read in Ms. Waddington’s book that carpet warp was to be avoided. I re-read her recommendations again, and could not find a single word decrying it. Carpet warp I have in spades, although of course I chose from the oddments of my collection rather than break into unopened spools. It’s my default weakness — always choosing from leftovers rather than deliberately breaking into the “good” stuff. But with this tiny loom, I’m finding it easy to change my mind about what I dress it with, as anything I take off is miniscule.

(Notice I still have not been able to throw them away yet!

This loom is so small that I had trouble keeping the doupe heddles from falling off the doupe dowels I had been using. A few small barrettes solved the problem, and were less cumbersome besides.

The pattern is so much easier to see with this combination of colours.

The dowels on this mini inkle loom measure only 3/8″ in diametre, so tensioning can be taut but I think one must still have a care not to overtighten the warp. Overall, I’m very pleased with the small footprint, portability, and cuteness factor of this tiny loom.

ETA: In my hurry to post, I had completely forgotten that I meant to comment on Ms. Waddington’s book. I’m only on the first tutorial, but already I love the way the techniques are presented. The steps she has you follow make following ones more intuitive, and the pictures are wonderful. A couple of instances after I had read and followed the steps, I thought “but what happens if…”, only to find that she answered the questions on the next page. I’ve often admired Andean pebble weave as something beautiful but far too complex, but this book dispels that assumption, and this might be the first weaving book I’d work through from cover to cover.

24 September 2011 Posted by | Weaving | , , , , | 5 Comments

Inkle Shuttles

I recently purchased some pre-cut, but unfinished, inkle shuttles made of walnut wood.

The woman I bought them from told me that that it had taken her husband an hour each to hand-sand a beveled edge and finish with tung oil. I hoped that, with the benefit of an orbital sander and a cheapo Dremel-tool knockoff, I would be able to finish my seven shuttles more quickly. Not so! It took me closer to an hour-and-a-half to finish each of them, and I could tell soon after I started that I’m not meant to be a professional woodworker. I wish I had more skill to have done a better rough sanding of the beveled edges, because some of the sanding marks still show on the wood.

It took a lot of extra time, without the benefit of electric tools, with fine- and ultra-fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the rougher sanding marks. I was in a hurry to finish while I still had the momentum to spur me on, but even so, it took intensive work every day of this past three-day Labor Day weekend to finish. Hand-sanding, rubbing with oil, drying, sanding, more oil, more drying, more sanding, oil… it seemed to never end! By the third day, I had only to look at a piece of sandpaper for my fingers to go numb; my hands and arms were so sore!

But sore hands could not stop me from planning a quick inkle project, using Omega nylon thread:

I warped a Schacht inkle loom with its maximum warp, which produced a woven length of approximately 96″, plus 8″ of loom waste. This strap is 1/2″ wide. 

When I checked the prices of inkle shuttles online, I was appalled at how low they were — I would starve before I could make a living doing this!

19 September 2011 Posted by | Weaving | , , | 2 Comments