Tips and Tricks for Weaving on Your Cricket Loom /
A Cottolin Picnic Roll-up
By: Melissa Ludden Hankens/ July 09
The rain here in New England has finally let up, and I am feeling like summer might actually be here to stay for a few weeks. To me, summer in New England means spending every possible waking moment outdoors taking in the sun and the air and just generally enjoying life.
This leads me to the topic of picnics. Who doesn’t love a good picnic? You pack up a portable, summery lunch along with your picnic blanket, find yourself a lovely spot in the great outdoors and plunk your self down to enjoy a bit of nature. Though, much like camping, I like to pack as efficiently as possible to keep the lugging of stuff to a minimum.
With the idea of picnics in mind, I took out my Cricket loom, Schacht’s smallest rigid heddle loom, and drew up a design to weave a roll-up picnic silverware holder/mat. Last month I talked about weaving with linen on the Flip rigid heddle loom. With my discoveries in mind, I decided to use cottolin for this project. This generally 60/40 blend of cotton and linen is a nice way to get a linen-like look with the forgiving nature of cotton. You’ll notice the difference between linen and cottolin most markedly in the wet finishing process. Cottolin will fluff and settle in, somewhat diminishing any inconsistencies you may have in your weaving. Linen tends to look a lot like it did when it came off the loom.
This was the first time I had woven the full width the Cricket loom allows, 10”.I warped eight inches in a natural linen color and added two one inch stripes of gray set in an inch from each side to add a bit of visual interest.
Your sett for this project is 20 ends per inch, so you will use a 10 dent rigid heddle threaded with two ends in each slot and hole. When direct warping draw a loop, each loop creates two ends, through each slot and each hole. You will then simply cut your warp threads at the end around the peg and wind on your warp. No re-threading of the heddle is required.
Here are some tips I’d like to share to help you along your way when weaving the full width of the Cricket loom:
1. Your apron bars are cut to fit just shy of the full width of the warp and cloth beams. While this gives you the ability to warp the full width of the loom, it also means that you need to take care when winding on and advancing your warp. Center the apron bars and make sure they do not catch against the ratchet gears. This is important in order to maintain even tension on the warp.
2. I use brown paper shopping bags cut and taped together to separate my warp threads when winding on my warp. My paper is cut very precisely to equal the length of the apron bars. Whatever you use for warp packing material, be sure that the threads along your edges don’t slip out. Again, this is important to ensure even tension.
I wasn’t paying attention when winding my warp, and two threads slipped out from the edge of my paper. I had to weight them down using a hook, a bit of ribbon and a film canister containing a few coins.
3. Clamping the Cricket loom to a table helped me to beat more evenly. This is particularly important when weaving with finer threads with a material that doesn’t have a lot of give. Cottolin does not having the same sponge-y quality of, for example, worsted-weight wool.
4. Your tension can be tricky when weaving with cottolin. I opted to begin winding my paper around the warp beam right away to create a smooth layer over the texsolv cord. You could also use a bit of paper on the cloth beam to prevent the small bumps you might otherwise get as the apron cords distort the surface of your cloth.