New Loom – the Oxaback Lilla

I finally broke down and bought a new loom. I love my Ashford and it’s done a great job for  a couple years now, but I want to do more rugs and have more flexibility (and a slightly larger weaving width). I spent a lot of time (about a year) doing research on different looms and for about 90% of that time it was between the Louet David and a Harrisville.

I have a couple restrictions (well – one big one – space) and needed something that would fit in my office in the existing floor space of the Ashford, so that definitely narrowed the search.

I debated the David and Harrisville for a very very long time. And then finally had a lightbulb moment.

The source of the lightbulb moment was that I’ve worked on a variety of looms at the Washington Heights Art Center in Lakewood. There you can try out and use during classes a mix of looms. I tried a Wolf there (ugh) and a couple Leclercs (which I want to really really love being part Canadian) but my all time love was an old Cranbrook countermarch loom. Countermarch looms are genius and I think many people don’t know that because they’re intimidated by the tie-up. But once on one, it’s hard to go back.

My lightbulb went off went I expanded my search to more than the Cranbrook (which is just too large) and generally searched for Countermarch looms.

Up popped the Oxaback Lilla. Like it was made for me, the one that has about a 40″ weaving width is compact in size and perfectly fits in my space. It’s got floor loom heft and it’s very very reasonably priced for what you get (includes the loom bench as well).

Took me about one week once I found it to make the decision. Bought it. Built it. Love it.

Just a note though, if you’re thinking of buying one and have not really worked on a Countermarch (handled the tie-up yourself), do that first before building it. It truly helped in understanding how to build it and get it set up correctly. Use the instructions they give you, and then also get this great book: Tying Up the Countermarch Loom by Joanne Hall. Super helpful resource which helped me move past trying to achieve the perfect balance and just put a warp on already (then fix the tie-up). Worth every penny and a valuable book for anyone with a Countermach.

Once built, I did a basic plain weave towel first to get the hang of it (the treadles are different and very close together, so take some getting used to them). I’ve made several things on my new loom now by tying on to the existing warp and testing out different patterns and am about to start some rugs on it now that I finished up some basic projects.

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Shadow Weave

On the home loom (Ashford Table Loom) I am working on some shadow weave scarves. I warped for three scarves, though I now regret that as I’m eager to get on to my next project(s). But it’s fun to test out the different patterns, and the narrowness of the scarves means they do weave up fairly fast.

I did an 8-shaft shadow weave that has allowed me to test out three different patterns with different treadling, same threading. The pattern ideas come out of A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns on Amazon, pg 139 listed as parallel shadow weave from Parallel Shadow Weave by Elizabeth Lang and Erica Dakin Voolich.

I’m using the Jaggerspun Silk / Wool Zephyr in Charcoal and Ebony.

Some pics:

Transitioning between pattern 1 and pattern 2
Transitioning between pattern 1 and pattern 2
Pattern 2 in more detail.
Pattern 2 in more detail.

I’ll take more pics when I’m finished all three. The first pattern I used was #510. The second was #506 and I’m now on #508 which I’ve just started and have only one repeat done:

Shadow Weave No. 3 (#506)
Shadow Weave No. 3 (#508)

I hemstitched all the ends by doing three shots of plain weave (shafts 1, 2, 3, 4 and then 5,6,7,8 which alternately gives you all Ebony or all Charcoal on the top) and then doing the hemstitch over that.

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Jersey Rag Rug with Linen Warp

I decided to embark on linen rug warp in order to use up some jersey fabric I’d bought ages ago. Using a basic Diamond pattern (twill) the result was, in fairness, stunning. I’m a fan now of both swedish linen rug warp (it gives a lovely weight and firmness to rag rugs) and trying out new patterns for rag rugs. I am NOT a fan of fringe twisting, but I did it. Now looking at alternate finishes for the future.

I also am now a fan of a good old fashioned solid rug loom. I did this on the Cranbrook loom, about 48″ weaving width and I am smitten. Love that loom.

Diamond Twill Jersey Rag Rug
Diamond Twill Jersey Rag Rug
Jersey Rag Rug and One GSD
Even better: the dog likes it.

I tied on to the warp with some cotton rug warp and am now using up more old fabric. So far I’m not its biggest fan, the colors of the cotton rug warp show up nice in dark brown fabric, but I don’t have a lot of that and it’d be a small rug. I’ve been supplementing it with the yellow / orange / brown fabric, but the warp disappears in that. Though, on the plus side, it does pop in the brown. I’ve only done two sections. I’ll keep going with a pattern of 1/1/1/2/1/3/1/4/1/3/1/2/1/1 and see how it goes. More pics to come.

The same diamond twill with cotton rug warp in various colors and mixed fabrics.
The same diamond twill with cotton rug warp in various colors and mixed fabrics.
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Yet Another Rug on a Table Loom

After the first rug experience, I’ve decided to give it another go. I’m doing an overshot rug out of the Tom Knisely “Handwoven’s Master Weaver Collection: Favorite Projects and Lessons From Tom Knisely” PDF.

I’ve wound my warp of double cotton rug warp in Pear, and have some wool rug warp for the weft in Indigo. This I’m doing doubled.

Now that I’ve started (and figured out how overshot works), I think I may just love overshot. A lot.

Of course, I am again attempting this on a table loom, but so far so good. I have one pattern repeat done, and it’s looking good.

First Pattern Repeat with Border Done
Another view of the pattern repeat.
A close up of the pattern on the table loom. Not too bad.
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Can You Weave a Rug on a Table Loom?

I was determined to find out. After the linen curtains, I needed a fast, fun project. I have old Buffalo Wool from Canada (unspun, six-strand, used for making Cowichan sweaters) and needed to use it up.

I picked up some Harrisville Highland wool in Blackberry and Straw, wound a warp for two rugs (one 60″ long and the other just 28″ long) and got everything set up.

Winding the Warp
Winding the Warp

Turns out that you can weave a rug on a table loom. Possibly it is because the Buffalo wool is so forgiving (lots of give and fills in spaces well), I don’t know.

Weaving the 3" hem in plain weave.
Weaving the 3″ hem in plain weave.

But I’m going to find out! Because one rug done, I’m now setting up the loom for a full-width (31.5″) overshot rug out of cotton rug warp (in Pear) and some rug wool I got on clearance in Indigo. Should be interesting. Oh and I got a temple stretcher to help keep it at 31.5″. New things to try!

Long Rug hemmed, but needs fulling and blocking.
Long Rug hemmed, but needs fulling and blocking.


Short rug hemmed. Needs fulling and blocking.
Short rug hemmed. Needs fulling and blocking.
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Linen Curtains for the Living Room – Part 2

Yet another lesson learned on this project. While I had double and triple checked everything, I messed up writing down the Spot Bronson pattern. I had a moment upon realizing it that I had to either pull the whole thing off the loom (and let me tell you winding the linen on the beam was NOT a light task. I earned a blister doing it. 12 yards of linen was a task).

So I decided to accept the error. On the plus side, I threaded it flawlessly. I checked each shed and my care and attention paid off. Not a single error. It was perfect. Just perfectly flawed, of course. 🙂

The back of the loom. It all fit!
The back of the loom. It all fit!

The linen went on beautifully. Thanks again to my teacher for telling me not to comb out the threads as I warped them, but rather to just give them sharp tugs to straighten them. Worked amazing, again (also did it on the dish towels I did).

I’ve started weaving the beginning, the draw in is not great and I’m working on that, but the fabric is very “linen” and the pattern is amazing (I think).

The front. Header done and started weaving the linen in, plain weave.
The front. Header done and started weaving the linen in, plain weave.

I wanted a very subtle color effect, and this seems to be fitting the bill. The hard core weaving spot bronson people will spot the mistake right away, of course. But the rest of us? Not so much.

First "spot" of Spot Bronson is done.
First “spot” of Spot Bronson is done.

A close-up here:

Close up of the pattern on the loom.
Close up of the pattern on the loom.

Long and short of this is my new lesson learned: I purchased iWeaveit for the iPad and now plot my patterns so that I can “see” the mistakes before they happen. I only got the app after I had warped everything and then immediately noticed the mistake on the app (before I even started weaving). Plus, I made a mistake on each side with the pattern as well, but again, while it’s not ideal, it’s not enough to pull everything apart and re-do it. I’m working around it. And again, I at least did it consistently.

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Living Room Rag Rug – Post 1

I’ve long had a predilection for fabric. That is buying fabric that I love, when I have no real use for it. Granted I do that with wool as well, but odds are I get around to knitting something with what I buy. But I rarely sew. I’m not good enough to design my own clothes (they’d look homemade) though I’m good at halloween costumes.

So I own a variety of fabric. And I recently was at a Joann’s where they were shutting down the store, and I bought more (how not? it was soooo cheap).

Then at weaving class I was muttering about making a rug next time around (after finishing yet another set of dishtowels) and I managed to get in line for a 60″ loom and won, and then my brain, ticking along, realized I could cut up the fabric and make rugs.

It felt like one of those moments where you go: oh that’s why I’ve been buying fabric that I like for the last 20 years.

Long story, shorter, this September I’ll start on my first rag rug. I’ve bought a simplicity fabric cutter to make my life a little easier, and have picked out my warp colors. I’ll be doing a gradation in the warp to give some variety.

I’m using this upholstery fabric (may be a dumb idea we’ll see):

Upholstery fabric with brown background and large flower patterns.
It’s got great colors, but it’s heavy…we’ll see how that works.
The colors largely match some colors in the living room, and in the curtains I'm making.
The colors largely match some colors in the living room, and in the curtains I’m making.

And these are my warp colors:

I've picked Colonial Blue, Linen (will be over 50% of the threads), and Burnt Orange.
I’ve picked Colonial Blue, Linen (will be over 50% of the threads), and Burnt Orange.

I’m not doing a dark brown, but the linen, because I’m also making linen curtains for the same room that use a matching linen shade in the main body of the curtain. See the Linen Curtain post for those. I’m using 12 sett and am attempting to make a 4.5ft by 8 ft rug. We’ll see how much fabric I have. I’ll post update photos.

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Weaving on an Old Loom – Saved

Just an update on my post where i was attempting to weave on an old loom and facing a lot of issues (Weaving on an Old Loom). I was doing an advancing twill in cotton. Nice pattern. Not so nice loom.

BUT! I saved it. I finished the fabric and though it was a lot smaller than anticipated due to the excessive draw-in (loom size limited by brake and apron), and some other issues, the fabric came out great. Heavier than anticipated due to the pattern (so we all believed).

But I managed to turn it into a granny bag after all. I changed up the handles last minute and sewed those on (not easy) and the lining / fabric all together with the interfacing was painful even for my trusty old Juliet (husqvarna sewing machine in the background). So I ended up handsewing the ends of the bag top as well after I inserted the granny bag closure tubing.

Lots of lessons learned, but at least it wasn’t a throw-away project and I got something from it.

Granny Bag Picture
The finished product.
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Linen Curtains for the Living Room – Part 1

I decided to make curtains, or linen panels more truthfully, for the living room. Largely because I can. Not because I should.

After many changes in pattern and styles, I settled on a natural linen shade (actually Newport 16/2 Linen) and then am supplementing that with a dk brown, a rust / orange, and a dark green. Pictured here:

Linen Colors Used in Curtains
Linen Colors Used in Curtains

Because I’m making three long panels, I have a super long warp chain. The longest I have ever made and it was only after the fact that I had an “oops” moment. I’m not positive it is going on the loom. Picture of it as I’m sleying the reed here:

The heaviest warp chain I have ever made. 12 yards long. Fingers crossed it all goes on.
The heaviest warp chain I have ever made. 12 yards long.

During this project planning I did learn from past issues and measured and re-measured the reed before working out my final dimensions. It doesn’t look like I’ll get the 32 inch wide Panels I really need, but I’m locked into this project now, so I may just have to modify the hanging of them. I’ll see once they are done and dusted what I can do with them.

I’ve started threading and I have to say, despite all the dire warnings about working with linen, I am so far loving this yarn:

Threading started. It's a fairly simply Spot Bronson pattern.
Threading started. It’s a fairly simply Spot Bronson pattern.
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Waffle Weave Dish Towel Kit

This kit is from Halcyon and can be found here. I purchased before I tried to make waffle weave towels at home and then regretted my purchase. But I fought through, and besides my little Leclerc Nilus at weaving class was the absolutely right size for the kit. I figured having Pamela (instructor) around to help if I hit a snag would help too.

Pamela paid off right away by pointing out that while many people “comb” their threads when they get tangled, she finds a sharp tug works much better. You basically take a handful of warp threads and literally yank on them. I was skeptical. But it is genius. Compared to my disastrous last project with dish towels where the warp threads were so incredibly tangled, these just lined up after a few tugs.

You bascially just keep winding the warp, stopping every once in a while to go back and tug on the threads in front. It really is amazing how it works.

After that success, I should have known the towels would be great. And they are. They turned out perfectly and even better, Halcyon supplied plenty of cotton to get them done (some companies just don’t do kits well…knitpicks being one of them). So buy the waffle kit! it works! the towels are amazing (even my husband had to admit they are the best dish towels he’s ever used).


Halcyon Waffle Weave Dish Towels Kit
Halcyon Waffle Weave Dish Towels
Close up the Halcyon Waffle Weave Dish Towels Kit on the Loom
Close up of the towels on the loom.

End result? I’ll do this kit again. Maybe the Christmas Towels…they’d make a great Christmas gift.

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