My writing retreat starts on Saturday, and because one can’t write continuously for an entire day, I’m bringing along a few things to do with my hands. One is an inkle loom – with luck, the dragon inkle loom (if the maker can finish it in time), if not, then my little Ashford Inklette. The other is an ingenious card weaving loom that I just bought from my weaving buddy Gudrun Polak, who is a very accomplished tablet weaver.
The best photos of the card weaving loom are on Gudrun’s website. My initial attempt to take a photo looked (unsurprisingly) like this:
The cats were not entirely happy when I shooed them away from their brand-new toy, but I did manage to take a few slightly-better photos. Here is Fritz, helpfully tensioning the warp for me:
This is not the real way the loom is set up – go to Gudrun’s page for that – but should give you an overall idea of how the loom works. You attach the woven portion to the “handle” part, which is clamped to the front part of the table with J-clamps. The back side, with the giant spring, is supposed (if you do not have feline helpers) to clamp to the back of the table. You put the warp over the spring, using the coils to help spread out the warp, and then weight the warp with a water bottle or something similar to provide tension. (Cats, alas, provide very uneven tension, and have a tendency to chew on the warp, so I recommend water bottles if you have the option. (I didn’t.))
Both parts of the loom are padded with cork on the bottom, which means you can use it even on that heirloom table. And the turquoise inlay on the handled portion is quite beautiful – unfortunately, this photo is rather blurry:
This one is slightly better, especially with the additional decorative elements:
Tigress’s tail is (sorry!) not for sale, but you can buy the loom by emailing Don Betterley – betloom @ gmail.com (remove the spaces before emailing). It’s only $80 – a steal, considering the portability, functionality, and beauty of the loom.
Gudrun also gave me a two-hour tablet weaving lesson, which included the basics of weaving, a quick look at how to read a tablet weaving draft, and short excursions into Egyptian diagonals and double faced tablet weaving. I’m quite fascinated, and can’t wait to play with my beautiful, brand-new deck of cards:
Unfortunately, the first attempt at drilling the cards did not work well, as you can see in the photos. While the top of the deck came out reasonably well aligned, the pack shifted during drilling, so the bottom part came out quite skewed:
Fortunately I ordered ten decks! I asked them to drill the remaining ones in stacks of no more than ten cards to prevent shifting. They said they could finish the job by Wednesday, so (assuming nothing else goes wrong with the drilling) I should be able to take them with me to my retreat. I’m looking forward to getting a properly-drilled set! They are beautiful and should be a pleasure to use.
In other weaving-land, I’ve now finished 3.5 of the six placemats, and am hoping to finish off the warp this week, before leaving for my writer’s retreat. I already have plans for the next warp, which will be the long-neglected sea turtles:
I’m planning to weave it with a white warp, aqua ground weft, and dark green pattern weft. But then I want to do some stitched shibori to highlight a few of the turtles, and maybe add a few bits of painted “seaweed”, or some larger ripples of ocean current. There are a lot of cool ways I could go with this!
And, finally, in book-land I have two more chapters three-quarters finished: the one on troubleshooting, and the one on construction strategies. I’m hoping to finish those two chapters and write one more by the time I leave for my writing retreat – that will leave me only four more to draft during the retreat, and let me focus on structure and edits.
Finally, I leave you with this lovely photo of Fritz the Unflappable, who is so relaxed that he can’t be bothered to get up, even with a Roomba viciously attacking him:
He did eventually get up and walk away, but not until it had bumped him several times!