This spring, I got a rigid heddle loom as a gift and began to explore how our ancestors made cloth. It’s a relaxing practice, but I shudder to think how difficult it would be to keep a family clothed through the long, intense process of making yarn and then weaving it into sturdy clothes. I’m taking it much easier than my northern European ancestors and making decorative objects.
My first project off the loom was a modern, woolen scarf. I made some mistakes on it (including a very poor job of warping the thing), but once it was gently fulled, it is pretty and will be warm.
For my second piece, I decided to make a decorative belt for my court outfit. It’s long so that it will wrap around twice and still hang down once tied. And it is soft. Made out of black and gold wool (worsted weight) in a balanced tabby weave, it is not intended to hold up pouch and quiver and whatnot.
Ideally, it is meant to pull in and define the waist of my gown, which means that I will be hitting kettlebell and core classes this summer and fall so that it looks good for 12th Night (or Fall Coronation).
In terms of skill development, I improved quite a bit on this, my second weaving project:
- I warped the loom correctly this time, tying the warp to the warp arm consistently and evenly.
- The selvage is smoother, although it still needs improvement.
- The spacing of each row of weft is generally even, although that will also improve with practice.
I really enjoyed weaving this piece. An inkle loom would have done a better job with finer wool, but it was a good practice item.
Next, I’m going to make cotton placemats to go along with feast gear. Lots and lots of placemats to give me practice. Like going to the archery range several times each week …. you just gotta put in the time to get good at something.