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Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Big Loom... Making String Heddles and Aprons.... Part II

The other day I finished making string heddles.  This is all new to me, so in my typical "let's just do it" frame of mind, I ignored on-line suggestions of using Texsolv cord and just used some heavy crochet cotton.  I am reading "Weaving Rag Rugs" by Tom Knisely, so I made the suggested 300 string heddles on my little jig,  However, my loom did not come with a reed but I have one someone gave me that is 30" long and has 168 dents.  So this is what I will experiment on. I have a lot of extra string heddles made.

I wound my cord around the end of my table which is 27" wide 75 ties and cut each end. I did this again so I would have a more manageable two bundles of 150 strings.

(On the center hold make the square knots with the first knot starting left over right and the second knot starting right over left. This will keep the center hole in the heddle from twisting).

I found the traditional size of the strings was 10 1/2" long, so I made my jig accordingly with headless nails in a scrap piece of wood.  The center hole is 3/4" long and this worked well later when I threaded the warp.

I bent the top nail a little so I could remove each heddle, square knots at the bottom of each center nail and a square knot at the bottom. Removed the heddle and draped it over a wine bottle.

Next, I strung a few on my heddle sticks and tied one end of the heddles together.  If you prop up the open end of the heddle sticks with a thick stick or similar object, you can easily slide the rest of the heddle strings on. Then tie the other open end of the heddle sticks together and for added safety, I ran a cotton cord along the top and bottoms just to make sure nothing was going to slide off.

I made an apron out of heavy canvas.  I measured the width of my loom beams, cut accordingly and made the back apron 40" long and the front apron 50" long. I folded and stitched the sides of each apron. I zig-zagged one end to be attached to the beam. I folded and marked triangular cuts for the bars on the other end.  I zig-zagged the holes, refolded and double stitched the pocket down for the insertion of the metal bar.

My loom had old cords tied into the four holes along each beam and no trace of an apron. I found other looms that had nailed an apron along the beam. My loom had no such nail holes and this loom also has grooves cut into each beam along side of the four holes cut across the beams.  I could not find any photos of old looms on-line that showed this groove, but I thought if I wrapped the end of my apron around a narrow stick 1/2" x 3/4", I could insert it into the groove and tie it in. Once I did this, I found it would stay in as I turned the beam so I did not need to tie it on.  I tied a cord around each end to make sure the stick would not pop out.

And now the aprons are attached. One finished heddle is temporarily hung while I think about the next step. How will I hang the heddles?  Roger is back in Minneapolis turning me a new pulley.  Why?  Well I will tell you all about the pulley system in my next post.

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