Saturday, October 22, 2011

Paddle Loom

It's been dreadfully and boringly quiet here. Truth is, I haven't been working on anything new. So, instead I'll talk about something old.

Back in September of 2010 I acquired a paddle loom.

Paddle loom with matching shuttle, made from
curly maple. It technically doesn't have a "paddle"
because I wanted it to be as short as was practicable.
I got the idea from Janea Whitacker from Colonial Williamsburg. At Costume College 2010, she had a box loom with her. I decided I wanted something that took up less space, so opted for just the standalone heddle, generally called a paddle loom. The paddle loom also allowed me to have more "dents" (the slots and holes), since the box looms I found used narrower heddles. Mine was made by Jonathan Seidel ( and is a gorgeous curly maple.

I set to weaving what I had on hand: DMC pearl cotton and DMC cotton 6-ply embroidery floss.

First (or second?) experiment. DMC pearl cotton
warp and weft, using 15 warps. The resulting tape
is about 3/8" wide.
My first experiments used 13 and 15 warps, and I experimented with different numbers of plies for the weft. I also experimented with different warp patterns.

The upper tape is DMC pearl cotton warp and weft. The lower
tape is DMC 6-ply embroidery floss (using random
colors I wanted to get rid of). I used a full 6 plies for the weft.
So what can you weave with a paddle loom? I wove myself a pair of stocking garters.

A pair of stocking garters, in three shades of pink.
Yes, they only match in color, and mismatch in weave. I couldn't resist trying a different warp pattern for each one. These are about 41 warp threads wide, making them about 3/4" wide. With that many warp threads, the challenge with a paddle loom is to keep the tensions even. I invented a setup that lets me control the warp tension, and eventually I'll have to do a blog writeup about it. Here I also used 3 plies for the warp, which made the tape flatter.

These are made from DMC 6-ply embroidery floss. For the
weft I used 3-ply. They have 41 warp threads (I think)
and are about 3/4" wide.
I've used these garters a couple of times now, and they do work quite well.

The one thing I haven't succeeded at yet is doing a pick-up pattern. I really want to try this one from  WeaveZine. I think pick-up patterns work best if one uses different weights for the warp threads an so far I haven't had a chance to try it. But someday....

I surfed the web a bit in writing this post, and see that there are some great looking table-top looms available. Box looms (as seen on Jonathan Seidel's website) and paddle looms like mine have some historical backing, so if you're interested in doing historic demonstrations, those might be more appropriate. If you want to be able to weave wider wares, you may want to consider a table-top loom. If you really just want to save space (like I do) and maybe also some money, go for the paddle loom.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

18th Century Embroidered Pockets - On Etsy

I just listed four pairs of embroidered pockets on Etsy.

These are what were left from a workshop I lead at Costume College 2009, in which the class made pairs of pockets. I offered embroidered fronts as an option, and what the students didn't take I sold to friends and fellow costumers. These four have been sitting around as unfinished panels since then, and since I'm in a fit of housecleaning, I made them up and now they're on Etsy. Stop by and take a look...tell your friends...these gotta go!

If you're curious what all the designs looked like, I have a gallery of them at my website. I don't have current plans to produce any more of these — but you never know where my short attention span may land....