Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

First Flip Projects

I’ve had a Schacht 15″ Flip rigid heddle loom for a while, but didn’t start using it until last winter. Because my dining table has a beveled edge that won’t allow me to lean a rigid heddle loom against, I’ve had to wait until I could put the Flip on a floor stand. Having finally cleared off an uninspiring project claiming my older Schacht (non-folding) RH loom for the better part of two years, I could finally take that loom off the trestle stand and install the Flip in its place. The Flip is built to accept two heddles, and to fold over. However, using it at home, I’ve never had to need to fold it. Perhaps this might be an issue with the larger Flip.

My first project was a way to use up a horde of partially-used novelty yarns  left over from other projects. I decided to use them as warp, and had my first try at direct warping. It was so much trouble, it took me four days to wind and beam the warp on. Some of the novelty threads had bobbles and slubbs that had difficulty advancing though the heddle openings. Others were mohair and similarly hairy yarns that refused to give me a clean shed. Few of the warps were of the same material, so tensioning was a nightmare.

I had to open every shed with a weaving sword, and hand-pick problem warps. I thought my troubles with the slubby, bobbly yarns were over after dressing the loom, but I had forgotten that the warp needed to be advanced while weaving, and the heddle had to be used for beating! I allowed the fiddly-ness of advancing the warp, but I gave up on using the heddle to beat the weft, using a tapestry fork instead. I caught some float errors, but there were more that I didn’t catch. Somehow, the fussy work I had to put in did not bother me, perhaps because I thought the yarns were so beautiful. (Having said that, I won’t attempt something like this again any time soon!) Even after finishing, the two long sides differ by several inches in length. Faults and all, I still like this scarf. I’m looking forward to this winter’s cooler weather to try it out.

After that first project, I wanted to put on an easy warp for quick and mindless weaving. I warped the loom with some skinny alpaca, and used the slubby Colinette Point-Five yarn for weft. The weather had been very cold while I planned this scarf, so I designed the scarf wide as well as long, resulting in a scarf a bit on the heavy side; it reminds me of a table runner! I just wish the Point-Five yarn were as soft as the alpaca. This project was extraordinarily satisfying, in that the finished scarf closely resembles what I imagined during the planning stage, and I encountered absolutely no problems (tension, sett, broken warps, etc.) during weaving. This is the first time that has happened for me!

Having woven heavy and warm, I wanted to weave a summery cotton scarf. I had two colourways of Colinette Wigwam hand-painted cotton tape in Jewel and Raspberry. I thought of how I tend toward the cautious, using the less-liked of things first (and sometimes never getting around to the more pleasing choice), and decided to be a little wild (for me!) and use the jewel-tones first. Poor decision! I squandered the jewels to find out that this yarn shrinks somewhere between 30-to-40 percent, so the jewel scarf turned out too short. I wound the warp in a circular pattern around the warping board, as faux-ikat, to preserve the alignment of the colours as they were painted.

The other mistake I made with this warp was not to take the extra time to untwist and flatten the cotton tape as I wound it. The twists do detract from the looks after finishing, especially on the selvedges.

Weft was 3/2 mercerised perle cotton, black for Jewel, and white for Raspberry. I think the black made Jewel look reptilian, and the white made Raspberry look pink. I also had all sorts of beat inconsistencies, making these scarves very unprofessional-looking. If I had the power of do-over, I would find some dark blue-ish weft for Jewel, and use a dark grey for the Raspberry. I wasn’t happy with the way both of these projects turned out, so they have already been recycled as very expensive dust cloths!

I really love the looks of the solidly-built loom, and look forward to future projects using more than one heddle. I can also see that I might have to devise some sort of trap/tray to add on at some later point.

25 August 2012 Posted by | Weaving | , , , | 4 Comments

A Tale Of Two Looms

It’s official: the Kromski 24″ Harp loom is no longer mine, but has found another home.  And, as promised, here is a pictorial comparison of the Kromski to Hedy, my 20″ Schacht rigid heddle loom.  (Below: left, Schacht; right, Kromski.)

First of all, It’s an “apples-to-oranges” comparison, since the The Kromski is a newer, folding loom, while my Schacht is an older version that does not fold.  For more of an “apples-to-apples” comparison to the Harp, Schacht makes the Flip loom that has many of the newer features.

A summary of the major features the Kromski has that my Schacht does not have: the Harp folds, is more portable, has holes drilled on its underside for pegs so it may serve as a warping board, and accomodates a second heddle after installing a second set of (optional) heddle blocks.  Except for doubling as a warping board, I believe the Flip has all the other features the Harp has.

The Kromski folded:

The folding and locking mechanism:

The Kromski has many ornate details and turnings, whilst the Schacht line is more Shaker styled.

My Schacht 20″ heddle measures 20.75″ (notpictured below.)  I happened to have a heddle for the 25″ Schacht (rigid heddle) loom; it measures exactly 25″ across.  I measured only the plastic part of the heddles, since that would give the most accurate representation of actual weaving width.  However, I found that the Kromski 24″ heddle has a measurement of only 23.25″  (All are 12-dent heddles.)

The heddle of this Kromski is one of their original ones, with more curved, sloping details on the wood top of the heddle.  I understand the newer heddles do not have this shaping.  (A cost-cutting measure, perhaps?)

The Kromski has a much shorter length between cloth (front) beam and heddle than the Schacht.

The Kromski’s length from heddle to back beam is only a little shorter than the comparable length on the Schacht.  I talked to the folks at Schacht and my understanding is that the Flip is very close in measurement to their regular rigid heddle loom of the same size.

ETA: A friend on Ravelry just pointed out to me that the Schacht has a front and rear beam, on top of the vertical frame, that lifts the warp and produces a better shed.  I completely agree with her that this is a major selling point.

I think the Kromski is made of fir or beech, while the Schacht is made of maple.

The stands made for the Kromski rigid heddle looms are unique to each size; this 24″ loom stand will not fit the two other Harp sizes (16″, 32″).  The stand for my 20″ Schacht loom will also accomodate the 25″ size, as well both sizes (20″ & 25″) of the Schacht Flip looms.  The Kromski stand is drilled with holes on the base on on the side to store the warping pegs it comes with.  Kromski literature states that pegs installed on the sides of the stand can be used as a rest for shuttles or to hang extra tools.

The Harp may be quickly released from its floor stand by loosening (but not taking apart) four bolts and then lifting the loom off the stand.  The Schacht requires you to loosen and completely remove four bolts (two of which require a screwdriver) before you can remove the loom from the stand (this is definitely bothersome).  The stand for the Harp wins the quick-release contest hands-down, but this also means the Schacht stand is stronger.  You can tell just by looking at the two stands that the Schacht stand is stronger and much more sturdy.   Both stands will adjust for variable height and angle of loom, but because the Schacht has brace bar is slotted so it can slide (see the picture above), it can allow for many more positions between the extremes of level and almost 45-degree below that, whilst the Kromski only allows fine-tuning of the level position.  To be sure, most rigid heddle weaving is done with the loom at a level position, so I don’t know if using the steeper angles are useful for anything besides possibly tapestry weaving.

Kromski stand and quick-release closeups:

Closeups of bolts that need to be taken out to release the Schacht loom:

Although the Harp weaving width is larger than the Schacht, and can accomodate two heddles for more complex designs; I am partial to my Schacht for her strong, clean lines and maple wood.  Personally, the curlicues of the Harp distract and do not speak to me, which is why I opted not to keep it.  Mostly an emotional preference I cannot explain, but there it is.

2 November 2008 Posted by | Weaving | , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments