When last I wrote I was just getting acquainted with my new Ashford 16 harness table loom with its first-ever warp. I used a bunch of 5/2 rayon that were leftovers from something, and I chose a (what else?) 16 harness point twill threading. This really wasn’t the most versatile of threadings I could have chosen. A straight draw would have been a simpler way to start, and will probably get you more patterns, but I had somethng in mind that I had always wanted to try.
There wasn’t anything for it. I just plunged right in. This is from Oelsner, fig. 630.
I call it “Shells” or “Fans” and I’ve seen it shared on social media by folks who are weaving with 16 harnesses. It was kind of on my weaving bucket list. Of course, when I wove it, I wove it upside down. Doesn’t matter, I still had fun with it.
Here it is right side up:
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I tried a tumbling boxes pattern, also from Oelsner, fig. 666:
I liked this a lot. It was a really fun weave, and I will definitely weave more of this one.
Then I wove some variations on the “Fan” design. This, from the Alphabet of Weaves K13, American Correspondence Schools Instruction Papers (1902):
and this from Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure Draft #36276, France, 2005-2015, which also sneaked some circles into the mix:
I found these patterns at Handweaving.net, which is a fabulous resource, but now I am on the prowl through all my books and magazines for anything 16 harness.
Weaving with the new loom is really different from my standard floor loom. First off, the levers are flipped to open sheds, which means one must put the shuttle down between each new shed. I watched some videos before I started weaving and saw the techniques people use, giving it my best shot (as it were…). You have to stay focused and pay attention to each new combination of levers (see below!).
Of course, there are some tips and tricks that I jumped on.
First, I numbered the levers with stick on dots on the front and the back. With 16 levers to deal with, there can be no confusion about which is which!
Then, I quickly realized that staying on the right line in the liftplan was going to be an issue. I discovered that the iWeaveit app for ipad has a liftplan tracking add-on that makes the whole weaving process work beautifully. Here it is in action, propped on a little-used music stand right by the loom.
Here is what it looks like up close:
All you do is tap the pick number on the left when you are ready for the next line, and the line appears in the box. Then when you are done weaving, iWeaveit saves your place in the lift plan for next time.
One other new thing I had to get used to was beating with the shed open. I beat with the shed closed on my floor loom, always have. With levers, you could go back to a closed shed before beating, but it would be colossally inefficient. And actually, I found this method of beating to be very easy to get used to. My edges were great too!
The next warp will be 8/2 rayon, but I have some hand dyeing to do first. Stay tuned!
I am delighted to read about your adventures with your new 16 shaft loom. What other resources have you discovered for tricks in using a loom like yours?
Martha, that about covers it, except for the non-slip rug pads that I cut to go under the four legs of the stand. If not for those, the loom would be sliding all over!
This is such an informative and interesting post. Thank you so much for taking the time out from your weaving to give us this great insight
Wow, love those tumbling boxes 😍
Those tumbling boxes are very cute, indeed! I also like the fans, always have. There are other versions of the shells & fans that speak to me more, with warp floats vs. weft floats. I will enjoy watching your 16H fun!
Peg, I’m always looking for more versions of the fans pattern. If you know of one that’s not on handweaving.net, could you point me in that direction? The warp floats and weft floats are the reverse sides of the same cloth I think. I need to work on adding some tie-downs to decrease the length of the longest floats. Always an adventure!
I’ll email it to you. Can’t really tell…it may be the same.
very useful post, thank you. Did you cut all your texsolv heddles? I am midway through assembling my 8S Ashford Table loom, and (as a newbie) wondering whether I should leave them joined together or not.
Hi, I did not cut all of the texsolv heddles. I am cutting them apart as needed, and the others are just waiting in the wings 🙂
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