Fancy weaving of all kinds has lately become very popular. The rapidity with which beautiful pieces can be woven make it a fascinating occupation. Those who have taken up weaving seriously have bought Swedish looms which possess a great many heddles, allowing weaving to be made in them of pictorial nature. These weavings illustrate the fairy tales and folk-lore of Sweden, and are exceedingly quaint and attractive. They are much used for nursery friezes. They are made of linen thread with a pattern worked in many colours in vegetable-dyed linen.
As these looms are large, they take up a good deal of room, and consequently it is more convenient to use an attic or spare room of some kind, as there is not only the placing of the loom to consider, but room must a be found for the frame for loom - spools, winding-wheels, etc.
A Small Loom In Which Many Fancy Patterns Can Be Woven.
The art of fancy weaving is taught in many parts of the country by Swedish teachers, some of whom reside in New York, Chicago, Boston, and other cities. These women are engaged by the various art schools to teach the different kinds of weaving, so that practically any kind of fancy weaving can be learned. Many girls only wish to understand the principles of weaving, and to be able to make for themselves pretty sideboard cloths, curtains, borders, or dress trimmings, and for this purpose a small table loom can be used. It is built on the same lines as a rag-carpet loom, but instead of being worked by treddles and the weft thrown between the warps with the shuttle, a long needle made like a netting-needle is used in place of the ordinary shuttle, while the pattern itself is woven by means of a darning-needle. Many beautiful designs can be done in these looms, and it is interesting to see perhaps half a dozen darning-needles threaded with different colours lying on top of the woven pieces of material. The only drawback to using a loom of this kind is that only narrow pieces can be woven, such as sideboard cloths, chair-backs, and dress trimmings.
The warp threads are usually of ivory linen, and the shuttle needle is filled with the same kind of linen thread. Mercerized cotton or linen can be used for the design in as many colours as the design calls for. Usually the student prefers to work out her own designs, but if she is not elever enough to do this she can copy needlework designs, or buy cross-stitch patterns, which can be obtained in any needlework store. These patterns are well adapted for weaving - in fact, many pieces of weaving are mistaken for cross-stitch. Of course the weaving takes very little time compared to working in cross-stitch, and all kinds of individual methods can be resorted to in evolving interesting designs.
In looking at the design of the running dogs, it will be noticed that the dogs on the top line have a somewhat raised appearance. When worked in with a darning-needle the threads can be left loose, which will give this effect, though this is not so serviceable as it is effective, as, of course, it is apt to get untidy after years of wear, and a hand-made piece of linen is a possession that will not easily wear out, and should be a thing of beauty as long as it exists.
The design showing five groups of straight linen is the easiest kind of design for a beginner to start on. These can be made by simply darning the dark part, taking up every other thread, and using the shuttle for all the raised part of the work. If the table loom is considered too narrow for towels, it could be used for making borders; for such a purpose the design should be run horizontally up the loom, when the ivory linen parts between the dark would be put in with a needle threaded with the same coloured thread as the shuttle needle. The worker will be surprised how many yards she is able to do in a day. Of course the work on this kind of loom does not compare with the beautiful pattern weaving that can be done in a large loom, but as this form of weaving is difficult and somewhat involved, it is advisable to take lessons from a good Swedish weaver, who can not only supply the looms, but the linen threads, which they import from Sweden. These linens are absolutely fast in colour, and never fade even after years of constant washing. As these fabrics are always woven for household purposes, this is a most important point to remember. There is no greater addition to a bride's trousseau than a quantity of house linen woven by the girl herself in the beautiful rich colouring in which these linens can be obtained.
Swedish weavers usually make their own designs, but if a girl is not able to design herself she can be supplied with her teacher's designs, or she can show her how to make use of what is on the market. Many old samplers done by hand are being brought from oblivion, many of which make beautiful designs for weaving.
Having decided to take up intricate pattern weaving, it will be found very interesting to read what has been done in the past, and it will be found that the early Egyptians and Phoenicians were working in very much the same way as the Swedish weavers of to - day, and the coverlet weavers of New England and the Southern States of America.
Museums in all parts of the world contain specimens of beautiful old weavings, from which the weaver can draw inspiration.
There is a wide field for any girl who wants to strike out an individual line for herself. Having learnt to become an expert weaver through a Swede, I would suggest that, instead of using Swedish designs, and only contributing to the world a repetition of what is now being done so beautifully by them, that the worker plan out her own designs of distinctive character, either following the mediaeval or the ancient, or working up original designs of her own. A study of books of design, and numerous visits to museums, will well repay those who contemplate taking up this interesting craft in earnest.
Fancy Weavings By Mrs. Anna Ernberg.
A few directions as to how a small table loom can be worked should be helpful to those who wish to experiment before going farther into weaving. A supply of linen warp having been obtained, it must first be beamed. A frame supplied with a double row of spools called a spool-holder must be obtained; also a frame called a warping bar, which consists of two upright bars of wood, each holding a number of wooden pegs or nails set at right angles to the bars, and held together by cross-pieces. Some twenty or thirty spools must be placed in the spool-holder one above the other. The free ends of threads from the spools are gathered in the hand, and fastened to a peg at the top of the warping-bars. This group of threads is then carried from side to side of the bars, passing around a peg on one bar, and then around a peg on the opposite bar, until the bottom is reached. Then back again in the same way. The spools meanwhile revolve on their wires, allowing the warp threads to be pulled until sufficient length of threads are stretched on the bars. This is the process of warping, and can easily be done at home for a small loom, but when a large loom is to be warped it is better to have it done by a professional beamer or skilled weaver. The ends of the warps are then fastened on to the yarn beam, the threads coming over the top. A warping-needle is then used for threading these numerous threads through the eye or "mail" of the "harness" or heddle. The heddle consists of wires or threads stretched vertically between two horizontal bars. Usually looms have two or more heddles, but the small table loom has two sets of eyes in the one heddle. Every alternate thread is threaded through the top row of loops, while the others are threaded through the lower loops, thus separating the warp threads. They are then threaded through another part of the loom, called a reed, which is filled with fine wires placed perpendicularly.
The threads now on two planes are carried forward and fastened securely to the roll in front of the loom.
Having filled the shuttle needle with the weft thread, it is thrown with the right hand between the warp threads, and the reed is brought forward by the left hand to push the rest of the weaving firmly together. The left hand is then used for the next throw. Almost all weavings have quite a few inches of plain weaving to begin with. Darning can then be introduced, the process being similar to ordinary darning, taking up alternate threads of the warps, using a different needle for each colour. The threads are not cut off until the work is finished, although when a needleful gives out it must be fastened securely to one of the warp threads.
As the cloth is woven, it can be rolled by means of the spikes on the right hand of the cloth beam. Of course the weaving will not be cut out of the loom until all the warp is used up. It is surprising how many yards can be done on a small loom of this kind.
As the pattern in beautiful colourings gradually unfolds, the weaver becomes fascinated with the work. It has all the charm of fine embroidery, and yet can be done very quickly and easily.