For holidays, my mom sent me an Ashford Inklette loom. It comes flat in a box and you have to do some very basic assembling. Sand the edges to smooth everything out and utilize some wood glue and a rubber mallet to insert the pegs into their holes, then screw the base in. Nothing major.
Before you can warp the loom, you have to make string heddles. Inkle loom string heddles are used a little differently than string heddles on other looms — you fold the heddle over the warp thread rather than inserting it through the heddle. I used some plain white cotton rug warp — smooth and not stretchy. I wasn’t very methodical about tying them and wondered if I was going to have issues making clean sheds or not (I didn’t).
I read a bit in the book and online about warping. Many tutorials suggested adding the heddles after warping the loom, which seemed a little fiddly to me (especially on my small size inklette loom). Instead I opted to heddle as I warped, which I think made mistakes easier to catch.
After that, I warped a simple band based on Single Flowers, a pattern in The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory: 400 Warp-Faced Weaves (p.22). I had some issues warping, mostly with changing colors and keeping the crochet thread taut. I also had issues with the first and last warp thread — I wasn’t sure how to tie them to be taut. Inkle warp doesn’t wind onto a beam like other looms. In order to advance the warp, you move the band along the loom path. This means you can’t tie the warp to the starting peg, since it has to move when you advance the warp. I tried tying the first warp thread to the last warp thread but that didn’t work out so well. I also tried tying the first and last warp thread to the warp thread next to it, which is how I ended up doing it. It didn’t work great either, but it was passable.
starting to figure it out
I had some issues at first because I didn’t realize how tight to pull the weft or when to beat it. You can see in the above picture how much of a mess it was at first and how I slowly started to figure things out.
first inkle band
The band wove up quickly and by the time I got to the end of the warp, it was much tidier. I did have an issue at the very end where a warp thread came loose.
Part of the reason I jumped right in was so that I could figure out what I didn’t know. I had four major questions at the end:
- what is the best way to deal with color changes in the warp?
- what do I do with the first and last warp thread?
- how do I tidy up the selvedges?
- how tight should I pull the weft? is there a particular method for picks that I should use?
I searched around and found answers for the first three questions and I’ll try it on my next warp. I am thinking about trying some pickup and letters.