Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Tool Kit: getting started with inkle weaving

Schacht Inkle loom
The Schacht Inkle Loom
An inkle loom is ideal for learning about the technique of weaving.  You can weave long strips of fabric which can be used as straps, belts, and decorative edgings. 

This is my first encounter with weaving since the days of shoeboxes and string and I was a little nervous about warping up.  In woven fabrics, two sets of yarns cross perpendicular to one another. One set, known as the warp, is held taut on the loom while the weft set is woven over and under the suspended warp.  Weaving with an inkle loom creates a warp-faced weave which means that the warp threads will show on the woven fabric, this is why three colours of warp yarn have been chosen.

I used the video Weaving on the Schacht Inkle Loom with Jane Patrick (click link to view) which is from the Schacht website. Jane explains the process simply and thoroughly and I was surprised at how easily I was able to understand.

Warp and heddles on an inkle loom
A close-up of the warp and heddles
The warp is wrapped around all the pegs in a zig-zag, missing the top peg in every other circuit. A heddle (which is the knotted white yarn shown here in a near vertical position) is hooked over the first warp thread and then every other until all the warp is wound onto the loom.  In this instance, the colour of warp is changed to another colour on every fourth pass. 

The open shed on an inkle loom
The shed created by pushing the lower warp threads downwards
The open warp on the Schacht inkle loom
The shed created by pushing the lower warp threads upwards 
The two photographs above illustrate the purpose of the heddles.  The heddles separate every other warp thread and when the warp is pushed downwards or upwards a space, called the shed, is created.  The shed is the space in which the shuttle passes taking the weft thread perpendicular to the warp threads.

Allison Holland's first attempt at weaving on an inkle loom
A beginners weaving on the Schacht inkle loom
My first attempt at weaving on the loom!  It took me about 8 rows to work out how to get the edge straight and this 10cm length of weaving was achieved in a matter of minutes.  The belt shuttle has been loaded with yarn on its narrow side in a figure of eight.  The figure of eight unwinds easily once you get used to crossing from left to right though the shed.  The wide, blade shaped side of the shuttle is used to beat the weft down and compact the weaving. 

Once the accessible warp has been woven, the tension peg is loosened off and the continuous warp is moved forward.  The woven fabric is taken around under the peg and out of the way.

Visit the website at http://www.georgeweil.com/ to view the range of braiding equipment and yarns which include inkle looms, Marudai for kumihimo braids, Ziggy Rytka's Luceting kit, and tablet weaving cards.


Crafty Chris said...

This brought back memories of working in a spinning mill a lot bigger machine than this, have you any tutorials on peg loom weaving just not sure how to finish it off, I have eventually got round to doing the felting balls for my necklace and my felted scarf is drying on the line, I just luv all these techniques.
Chris x

George Weil said...

Hi Chris, no sorry no tutorials on peg loom weaving but hope to do other weaving related posts soon. Send us a photo of your necklace and scarf and we'll share it on Facebook if you like.

Kind regards, Allison

Anonymous said...

Dear Chris,

I learned peg loom weaving from a YouTube video. Just search for peg loom weaving...

Good luck!

Crafty Heidi