Category Archives: 4 harness weaving

Refurbishing Older Four Harness Table Looms

Late last summer and fall, I discovered that I can no longer use treadle looms because of a problem with one of my feet.

That came as a surprise, but I love table looms, so I sold my floor loom and quested after the perfect table loom.

I really enjoy fixing up old looms, so I happily adopted this dear old loom built by an unknown maker:

She was in really rough shape, so it took a lot of tender loving care to bring her back to life.

I had to build a new ratchet for her cloth beam and apply many many coats of oil to her dried out self. Poor old girl!

One of her toggles was totally messed up, so I replaced the cord and now it works beautifully.

She had a truly grim warp wrapped around her back beam, with crumbling newspaper from 1974 in the warp, so she had obviously been neglected for a long, long time.

She is now a cherished member of the loom clan in my studio and I wove a bunch of Tea Towels for Christmas presents on her. (LINK)

She’s a delight to weave on, and is definitely a keeper!

She’s warped up with mug rugs for next Christmas- we work on Christmas presents all year long, so it’s kind of fun to start the year off with the beginnings of next Christmas 🙂

And….. This is Caroline…. the newest vintage member of my loom family.

For years, I have been longing for a Woolhouse loom, but they stopped production, and the looms are so wonderful that they don’t come available very often.

I was ecstatic to find one online and was amazed to be able to buy her!

She joined my loom herd not that long ago and it’s been fun re-furbishing her.

We had an oops when we transported her home…

Whoops…. one of her little wooden gears disappeared into a snow bank when she got loaded into the back of the car. Luckily, I was able to cut down an old wooden spool and it works just fine.

The lady that I bought Caroline from told me that she found the texsolve heddles annoying because of a couple of issues.

She mentioned that the heddle frames didn’t drop when the levers were down.

Rather odd, but vintage looms can be quirky.

She had talked to someone who suggested adding weights to the frames.

This made sense to me, so I puzzled over how to do it, and settled on adding steel rods to the bottom of the heddle frames. Perfect!

She also found it frustrating that long strands of texsolve stuck out at the top of the frames and snagged on each other.

I fixed that by trimming the ‘eyelashes’ at the top edge- it helped solve that problem.

And, oh yes, the heddles were not inserted right, and bowed out all wonkywobbly, so I fixed that, too, and now Caroline’s as sweet a little weaving machine as can be!

BUT, oh my! There was one more surprise that threw me for a loop.

Out of the blue…. YIKES!

Good grief! one of the rods that connects a traveling cord to the levers suddenly broke when I was weaving. FLOP went a lever! What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

That had me appalled and my head was spinning…. I went to bed feeling quite upset.

But then, after thinking, sleeping and dreaming on it, I figured that I could probably fix it by bending another steel rod to as close as I could get to the shape of the broken one.

I figured out how to take apart the mechanism to get the old one out and then huffed and puffed as I bent and shaped the replacement.

It was fiddly, but not too hard to insert the new one.

and –

Voila! Caroline is now a happy little loomie! (whew! ) (and I know what to do now if it happens again with one of the other connector pieces).

You can see in this pic that one of these things is not like the others… but it works a fair treat!

Anyhow, now, she weaves like a dream.

Her shed is quite small, so I use stick shuttles on her, and enjoy her most enormously!

Oh… another thing I did…

Somehow, she seemed to be asking for a little bit of embellishment, so I cut small wooden pieces and drew some things that are precious to me on them.

Then I wood burned and painted them and stuck them on in places that wouldn’t get in the way.

Caroline approves.

Both of these dear old looms were a lot of work to bring to life again, but what a joy it is to know them so well and to feel them purring!

They are pure happiness to weave on and I hope that I have a lot of years of weaving bliss with them, and then, of course, at some point, they will move on to another weaver whom I hope will love them as much as I do! But, not for a long time…. 🙂


Filed under 4 harness weaving, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

Tea Towels woven from upcycled crochet cotton

Last summer, loved relatives gave me 2 boxes of crochet cotton that they had adopted from the ReUse Centre in their town.

This is the smaller of the 2 boxes.

I immediately used some of the cotton to tat butterflies, and thought about what to use the generous and unexpected treasure that remained.

I decided to weave Tea Towels for my family – I wanted the cotton to become something useful, rather than just languishing as ‘stash’.

I had no idea, when I began, just how much I would love weaving the Tea Towels!

It was so meditative and contemplative- and watching the play of shadow and light on the various shades of cream and white cotton was deeply pleasing.

To begin the journey, I warped up several warp chains.

And wove

and wove and wove….

The blue bands look odd, because I used several strands of variegated blue thread held together…

I used one of my favorite weaving drafts, ‘Rosepath’, which gives the diamond effect when woven to the ‘correct’ treadling, but also a pleasing zig zag twill and of course, plain weave tabby.

This was perfect for me, as it allowed me to add definition to the hems, the cream colored borders, the blue bands and the body of the tea towels.

Once the tea towels were all woven, washed them and then ironed them and hemmed them.

I had hand stitched the hems between each of the towels while they were on the loom, but then stitched the hand stitched edges again by machine before cutting them apart.

I then rolled and pinned the hems and stitched them by machine.

I had hand stitched the hems on some of the prototype tea towels, but wasn’t happy with the way they looked, so opted for the machine.

Ooops… at one point, my grandson, who has been taught how to sew on the machine by his mother, chastized me for sewing over a pin. Oops!

He has the family ability to raise one eyebrow very high and fix you with a baleful gaze.

This is also a family trait. We pass along such interesting legacies, don’t we?

My father could transmit a world of ‘ahem’ with his eyebrow. Ahem.

I didn’t sew over any more pins after I was given ‘the eyebrow’!

Earlier in the process, I wove miles of tape on my narrow band loom.

But, I forgot to take a picture of the weaving process for the tape.

I cut lengths of tape from the miles of narrow band.

Then I sewed the hanging loops with it onto the tea towels by hand.

Then, off to the washing machine for the towels….

It was so exciting to see how washing the towels snugged them up and made them all soft and inviting.

And then ironed the living daylights out of the tea towels again.

Most of them have been designated as gifts.

Generous gifts of boxes of abandoned crochet cotton by our relatives turned out to be such a lovely gift for me.

I loved the process of bringing the cotton to life again and I hope that the towels will be a pleasure in some small, quiet way for years to come.


Filed under 4 harness weaving, eco crafts & green projects, four harness weaving, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, upcycling, weaving & handwoven