Posts tagged “warp-weighted loom

Two Questions about the Warp-Weighted Loom

Before you read the whole of this post please note that my main question – cannot one weave from the bottom up on a warp-weighted loom – has been answered in the affirmative. Debbie Herd has provided this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a5by09CyV0  which is to a clip of Kristin Saeterdal doing just that on a modern loom built for that purpose.

The  accounts that I have seen of the warp-weighted loom describe the weaving being done from the top down, and depict this with illustrations from Greek friezes and pottery.

My crude drawing of this:

img137 An advantage of  warp-weighting over winding round the weft beam is cited as being an even distribution of tension across the weave.

The obvious disadvantages are

a. the difficulty of beating upwards as compared with downwards, and

b. the limitation imposed on the length of the weave.

Question 1: has anyone noticed, on a  normal frame,  a real  tension problem across the weave? I know that the first few warps on either side can be noticeably slacker than the central ones – but has it been an actual problem for the end product?

Question 2: Why cannot one weave from the bottom up on a warp-weighted loom – with a very slight modification?

img138 All that has happened here is that instead of being tied to the top beam, the warps are carried over the top beam and across to a second top beam on a second set of pillars and tied to a weft beam below that second top beam – and now one can weave from the bottom up. The second pillars and top beam in the diagram are of course purely there for illustration of the principle. They are in fact redundant because the warps can simply run up and over the top beam and then come straight down to a lower weft beam on the same pillars.

Reading Maria Brekke Koppen’s ‘Norwegian Tapestry Weaving’ I find on pages 90-92 explicit instructions on tensioning the warp with weights, and with some close-up illustrations but none of a whole loom set up in this way.However it appears that such methods are in use currently at least in Scandinavia – and perhaps therefore in the US – say in Wisconsin?? 

Any comments or information on this, anyone?