Double cloth is where two cloths are woven simultaneously, one on top of the other. They may be two completely separate cloths or joined in several different ways:
Along one selvedge to open up to double width
Along both selvedges to create a warp-wise tube
At horizontal points to create weft-wise tubes
at various points long the warp and weft to create pockets
One weft yarn may be used for both cloths or a different yarn for each cloth. The cloths wil be joined at the selvedges if just one weft yarn is used.
A double cloth structure can be set up multiple ways. For me, the simplest way is to have one warp, at double sett, with a straight draft (as shown in the below draft). Then the ends on the odd shafts would be for one of the cloths (e.g. top) and the end on the even shafts would be for the other cloth (e.g. bottom). This only really works well if you want the same yarn type for each warp, and the same weft for each cloth. The warp could be made up with two different yarns but you may end us with one ‘baggy’ cloth due to different yarn properties, particularly the elasticity. The benefit it that a double cloth can be woven on a single back beam loom.
The main thing to remember is that the warp needs to be double sett to allow each cloth to be woven at the desired sett. The ends on each cloth need to be on separate shafts from each other, for example odds/evens, 1-4/5-8. The ends also need to be threaded alternately – one end from the top cloth next to one end from the bottom cloth etc.
Below is how I choose to draw out a double cloth draft. I have use black/white circles to visualise which warp/weft belongs to which cloth. You’ll see that I have also used ‘o’ and ‘x’. The ‘x’ represents the usual lifting of the shafts to create the structure. The addition of the ‘o’ represents the top cloth ends which will be lifted up out of the way while the bottom cloth is woven.
Most commonly, double cloths are woven using two back beams so that each cloth’s tension can be controlled separately.
Below is an example of a double cloth where one cloth/set of warp ends it threaded on shafts 1-4 and the other set on shafts 5-8. The ends from each cloth need to be threaded alternately to create evenly spaced cloths. The lifting plan shows how you can swap the cloths over, going from the black cloth on top to the white cloth on top. This would be a way of creating weft-wise tubes.
The draft could be further developed by placing blocks in to create multiple pockets. E.g. blocks of shafts 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8. This allows you to swap over the top and bottom cloths in both the warp and weft direction.
The basic principle of weaving a double cloth if that you would weave one pick of the top cloth. Then lift all of the top cloth ends up and weave one pick of the bottom cloth. And repeat. The above has only shown plain weave structures. Therefore, four picks is one repeat. Depending on the number of shafts available other structures can be woven in each cloth, for example, you may want a 2/2 twill on the top cloth.
You may need to reconsider the method above if you have very different yarns for each warp. They may require different setts and therefore alternating the ends threaded may not work.
If different weft yarns are used in each cloth one cloth may build up more quickly than the other. This could be compensated for by weaving more picks in one cloth before weaving the next cloth. For example, weaving two top cloth picks for every one bottom cloth pick.
Once you get the hang of weaving two cloths simultaneously you’ll be able to think about other things you can do with this structure: Pleats are made by weaving a double cloth where the top cloth is woven more quickly causing an excesss of fabric. This excess is secured to the bottom cloth with a plain weave at intervals. More than two cloths can be woven simultaneously. I have woven up to four. As long as you have at least two shafts for each cloth you can weave as many as you like.
Cord making can be a simple way of constructing new yarn with little equipment.
Cord can be used in constructed fabrics, woven, knitted, crocheted etc. as well as for appliqué techniques. Cords are also commonly used in passementerie, tassels, trimmings and jewellery.
To make a cord you will need:
yarn or any type of thread
knitting needles (a pen/pencil will also do the job)
To start with you will need to make a warp. The size of this warp will depend on the yarn you are making it with and the size cord you want to make. To start with try making a warp of 20 ends, 2.5m long.
If you do not have a warping mill/frame then you can wrap the yarn around a chair back and slip it off the top. Alternatively you could measure each piece of yarn e.g. 20 lengths of yarn each 2.5m long.
Cut three 75cm lengths of the warp then tie a knot in the end of each group of yarns and secure them to a table using masking tape. The knot helps stops the yarn from slipping out underneath the tape.
Alternatively, tie the ends to a door handle or fixed point. This is useful when making longer lengths of cord.
Tie another knot in the other end of each group.
Slip a knitting needle (or pen/pencil) in to a group just above the knot in the free end. The knot keeps the yarn taut around the knitting needle.
Spin the knitting needle away from you (or in the opposite direction of the twist in the yarn) to add twist to the group of yarns. Add as much twist as you can without the yarn turning back on itself. Rest the knitting needle down on the table.
Do the same for each of the other two groups of yarn. ideally there should be the same amount of twist in each group.
To be accurate count the number of time you spin the knitting needle. it should be the same for all three. You can then work out the number of twists per meter (TPM) or twists per inch (TPI). Don’t get bogged down with this but it can be useful information to record.
Once all of the groups have been twisted, hold all of the knitting needles together. Twist all three towards you (or in the opposite direction of the first twists). This will bring all three groups together to make the cord.
Using an elastic band to hold the needles together while twisting can make it easier.
Twisting in opposite directions give the cord strength and stability.
Put as much twist in to the cord as you can before it starts to twist back on itself. Keeping a record of the number of twists is useful information to record.
To stop the cord unravelling wrap some masking tape around each end and then cut through the tape.
Notice that as twist is added at each stage the length decreases. The cord is less than 75cm long when finished. The take up will be different for different types of yarn and different size warps. Keeping a record of the length of warp used to begin with and the end length of cord will help when planning cords.
Once you have got the hang of cord making try experimenting with the following:
type of yarn – cotton, silk, wool, synthetic, metal, paper, sewing thread, embroidery thread
thickness of yarn
number of ends per warp
length of warp cut to make cord
number of groups of threads – two is minimum
try combining yarn type/thickness/colour in one cord
I struggled to find any information online about gating a countermarch so thought it would be useful to share my knowledge with you.
If you are using 8 or more shafts you may find that the shed is small. When using this number of shafts it is advisable to gate the loom. This is a process which opens up the back shaft a little more to give a clearer shed.
Before you start make sure the pins are in the castle, the shafts are at the right height and the shafts/lamms are horizontal/straight. The treadles need to be untied.
With the treadle pivot bar (A) in the lower (weaving) position, set the top of the control bar (B) level with the notches (C) on the pedal spacer.
For the back shaft only (back two lamms) tie each treadle tightly against the treadle control bar.
Loosen the treadle control bar and put the treadle pivot bar in top position (D).
Push the treadle control bar tightly against the treadles and tighten nuts.
Firmly tie the rest of the treadles to shafts.
Put the treadle control bar back in the upper position out of the way and put the treadle pivot back in the lower position, ready for weaving.
Not all countermarch looms are the same but contact me if you are having issues.
When adjusting a countermarch loom always ensure the pegs are in the castle.
If you are struggling to find a solution put the pegs back in the castle and check everything has been set up correctly. Starting at the top of the loom check all ties are still tightly tied and that the shafts, lamms and treadles are exactly straight/horizontal and all line up. This is the main cause of problems on a countermarch loom
I have a 12 shaft countermarch loom and I have seen these sorts of looms are often for sale on second hand websites. However, there is not much information online about setting up these types of looms so I thought I would provide some tips about setting up a countermarch loom. It is not a step by step guide but feel free to contact me if you need any more in depth information.
The most important thing to remember when setting up/adjusting your countermarch is… Never adjust your loom without the pegs in the castle. Make sure everything is horizontal/vertical and precisely in line. It is very tempting to get everything ‘straight enough’ but it really is worth taking extra time when setting up to ensure that everything really is straight and lined up.
Put the back shaft in first then progress forward until you tie in shaft number 1. Make sure all shafts are straight and the same height.Tie a piece of yarn from the back bar to the front bar, left and right sides. The centre of the heddle eyes should be in line with the yarn.
The Lamms need to be exactly horizontal and all the same height. Every other lamm is tied to the castle and will lift the shaft. Equally every other lamm is tied to the bottom of the shafts and will lower the shaft. The lamms also need to be tied to the treadles below. Tie the treadles according to the structures to be woven. Remember every shaft needs to be tied to every treadle used. There is no need to double knot the lamm/treadle ties. This is unnecessary and will make undoing them very difficult. Below is how to tie the lamms to the castle, shafts and treadles.
The treadles should be approximately 20cm from the ground. Adjust this to make them a comfortable height to work with but don’t do them too high.
The loom is now ready for the warp.
Before you put the warp on the loom take the pegs out of the castle and check everything sits straight and level. You may find that everything moves when released. If this happens put the pegs back in and double check if everything is tied up straight. This is also the time to check the treadles are tied up correctly. Press each one in turn to check the right shafts are being lifted/lowered. It will be easier to correct at this stage before the warp goes on. Put the pegs back in the castle to stabilise everything until ready to weave. Make sure the front apron is tucked behind the knee bar when you tie the warp on. This ensures space for your legs while weaving.
I have not covered how to tie up the treadles to create structures, this will come in another post.
Making heddles is a great skill to have. You may need to make all your heddles which will save you having to buy them (although this would be time consuming) or make additional ones when you don’t have enough to complete threading. They can also be added on to a shaft while setting up to correct a threading mistake which could mean you don’t need to rethread.
To make a heddle:
Choose a strong, smooth yarn. A medium weight, smooth cotton yarn works well.
Cut a length of the yarn which is double the height of the shaft plus 10cm.
Fold the middle of the yarn over the top of the shaft (1).
Move it near an adjacent heddle on the same shaft to use to compare the position of the eye.
Tie an overhand knot where the top of the heddle eye should be (2).
Tie another overhand knot where the bottom of the eye should be (3)
Bring the bottom of the down each side of the shaft and tie underneath with a reef knot to secure in place (4). It should be taught but still able to move along the shaft.
Cut the excess loose ends off (5) so they will not get caught while weaving.
It doesn’t really matter how you tie the heddle. As long as the yarn is secure around the shaft and the eye in the right place the heddle will do the job.