It will be found that the harness needs considerable adjusting before it works perfectly.
The heddle must be hung so as to allow a wide shed. Sometimes threads have to be retied, as one loose thread destroys the perfection of the web. The shed is formed by pressing the foot on one treadle, and in order to keep the weaving even, a long lease stick is slid in the space across the loom. The shed is changed by pressing down the other treadle. (The treadles must be carefully adjusted so as not to strike the floor.)
It is well to begin the weaving with a heading of cord. The shuttle may be filled with twine or warp thread. This allows any defects in the threading of the loom to become very apparent.
When the shuttle is filled a shed is formed by pressing the foot on the right hand treadle, and the batten is pushed back toward the heddles with the left hand. The shuttle is thrown with the right hand as near as possible to the reed. The thread should not be pulled tight at the selvage. The row of weaving is then beat up toward the front of the loom by swinging the batten forward. The shed is then changed by pressing down the other treadle, and the shuttle is thrown through from the left hand side. After about an inch of heading is completed it is easy to see if there are any threads to be corrected in the warp, and this may be done. If not, the weaving may be continued with whatever filling is desired. The photograph of Blind Tom weaving shows how the shed should look, and the shuttle ready to throw from right to left.
An Amateur Coverlid Weaver
Setting up her first pattern from an old book of "drafts" found in a New Hampshire attic.
Many weavers nowadays use only new materials, long strips of denim, of figured chintz or outing flannel, producing fabrics of great beauty. But for those who prefer the method of the olden time it may not be amiss to give a description of how to use old materials. The great point is to have the rags cut evenly and to make them of a width to "beat up" to the same thickness in weaving - that is, a strip of muslin should be cut much wider than a strip of calico. Hit and miss rugs in soft colors are always useful in a bathroom. And if the filling material is old it will not fade any more.
The weight of the rug must be sufficient to hold it straight on the floor; two and one-half pounds of rags to the square yard is a good proportion - that is, five or six yards of denim or outing flannel. The rag strips should be well sewed together. As the weaver becomes expert the ends may be overlapped without sewing if desired. The rug may be varied by introducing bands of color or by using two shuttles alternately, letting several colors run "hit-and-miss."
The beginner will have difficulty in taking out the work and it is much better to weave a series of pieces one after the other, leaving six inches of warp between, and weaving a cord heading at each end of each piece. The pieces when taken out should be finished with fringe made by tying the ends of warp.
The question of coloring materials often comes up. It is very easy to wind the balls of rags in skeins and dip the skeins in a dye both green, blue or brown. If the balls are of hit and miss this will give a shaded effect which is very good, and this method allows rugs to be woven to match the color scheme of certain rooms.