I’ve been weaving off and on for about 20 years.
In fact at one time I had a part-time weaving business. There actually is a very small living in some types of custom weaving – especially rag rugs.
Rag weaving is one of my favorite types of weaving because it makes good use of old clothes, worn out bed sheets and fabric scraps.
For those of you who may not know about the process of weaving or weaving terms, I wanted to share with you few of the terms and one the steps necessary in “dressing a loom”.
“Dressing a loom” is the term that is used to describe the process of loading or fitting the “warp” to the loom.
The “warp” are the threads that run from the back of the loom to the front of the loom on a floor loom. A “warping mill”
or “warping board”
is usually used to help measure off the warp threads in an organized fashion before the loom is dressed.
The “weft” are the threads or material (rags in a rag rug) that will intersect the warp threads.
The weft is usually delivered by means of some type of “shuttle”.
Everybody knows that fabric can either be loosely woven or tightly woven.
One of the things that will determine the tightness or looseness of a fabric is the “ends per inch” or “EPI”.
In hand weaving, “ends per inch” is accomplished by the use of a “reed”. A reed is a part of the loom that keeps the warp threads separated and acts a little like a comb.
The reed is held in place by the “beater bar” which helps to beat the weft into place.
I prefer to dress my loom from front to back because that’s the way I was taught. But plenty of weavers will dress a loom from back to front. Both have advantages and there is no one right way.
Yesterday I “sleyed” the reed on my loom – which translates I pulled the warp threads through the reed. The act of pulling threads through a reed is known as “sleying”. A special type of hook is sometimes used and is called a “sley hook”.
The reed in my loom is a “12 dent” reed which means that there are 12 dents or spaces to every inch.
At present I’m weaving rag rugs which will have a EPI of 6 – that is 6 warp threads to the inch. So yesterday I threaded every other space or dent in the reed.
Next time I post about weaving I’ll explain a few more terms.