Friday, 3 October 2014

Making a Triangle Loom and a Wool Picture

How about this for a triangle loom?  One of the marvels of spinning camp.  Bex made it herself and it is big enough to weave a shawl.  The warp and weft are all made from one length of wool.
Fascinating technique.
Working a loop down from the nails at the top, one strand is then drawn across between the nails on the sides.   My companion, Elinor Gotland, has a good head for heights, but I suspect she wasn't entirely sorry when Donna took over - the crochet hook was awkward to carry while climbing.
There were a good few types of loom in use during the camp.  I knew nothing of weaving and was surprised how differently just the simplest warp and weft showed off yarn, compared to knitting. Never mind the function, though. To my mind, that big triloom was a thing of beauty in itself.  Utter pleasure just to stare at the threads spread across it, filtering the shifting angles of September sunshine.

Bex shared this link, which explains how to make and use a triangle loom.  What caught my attention was the line 'Each side, regardless of length, has the same number of nails or pegs; the distance between them is almost totally irrelevant.'  
How about abandoning the ruler and creating something arbitrary, a big entity with its own life, like the triloom on camp?  I was buzzing with the possibilities and bursting to express them.  

Saturday, down to the estuary to see what the tide had washed up in the way of driftwood.  Back in the garage that evening, I drilled holes and screwed together three solid pieces, then drilled a line of holes along the base using different diameters of drill bit.

With a bit of whittling, smaller sticks could be wedged into the holes to stick up as pegs.  Drop of wood glue and they were solidly fixed.  Even under the neon strip, the play of light and shadow was something to savour.

Straight back to the loom on Sunday morning, it took best part of the day to fit pegs on the two angled sticks.  Resorted to looking at images of proper looms online to confirm that you count the pegs on the corners in the total for each side.  Most awkward to find sticks straight enough to push right through holes to the other side of the curved piece.

My shabby spinning of washed out indigo dyed fleece turned out to be the right yarn to complement sunbleached wood.  Threaded up with shells and stones with holes, the weaving pattern started to emerge. Compelling effect, though the yarn sagged under the weight of clutter.

Every night I hurried home to work on this triloom. Unwinding the yarn off the pegs again, I plied it double, rethreaded just a few stones and shells and saw the weave complete.  Where the yarn had to stop being hooked round the top of the pegs and go underneath, round the pegs sticking out below the curve on the bendiest piece of wood, the fabric tended to slip off.  Core spinning some roving from the same fleece round a length of wire was a tricksy process - to make the wire rotate, I ended up fixing it to the arm of the flyer.  The first result was too chunky and too blue, the second attempt made a snake which did the job of securing the weave to the back of the sticks and came nearer to embodying an attentive force.

Finally, the fish.  The following weekend, I dyed silk in concentrated baths of japanese indigo leaves, using the vinegar method, making stronger shades of the colours in the woven yarn.  The basic shape was needle felted in white fleece and covered in silk.  Don't know now, but at the time, she seemed too flat, too loose, too crude, too shiny, overwhelming the driftwood's qualities.  So I cut her down to a smaller size and felted on another layer of dyed fleece, which has far less lustre than silk.

How I would love to show this triloom hanging on the wall, expressing all my intentions.   In abandoning the practical and going with the flow, I neglected to consider that there is no space big enough in the house.  Apart from which, that fish has more of the air of a medieval saint being winched up to heaven than struggling flesh and blood on the line.  Hey ho.  Back to knitting jumpers.  This is The Rod of Aesculapius and it was all about the transition.


  1. Beautiful, this would look great in a seasidey bathroom

  2. Thanks. If I had made the pegs a bit bigger, it might have done as a towel rail. Actually, that's not such a bad idea ....