Has anyone had any experience weaving rugs (weft-faced, rag, whatever) on their HD looms? I have heard from experienced rug weavers that the jack loom isn't the best and could even be damaged with "heavy beating." I also know there are limits to the number of looms many of us can accommodate in our homes. Any suggestions on how to venture into rug weaving on the same loom I'm weaving blankets, tote bags, and towels?
I weave rugs on my Gilmore Jack loom. I don't do "heavy beating." I tried it a few times, but my body hated it—I'm a fairly small person and the movement just hurt. Since then I've developed a good squeeze instead of a beat. It's gentler on my loom and my body and works just as well.
So: I lay the 'rag' in the shed on a long angle, close the shed, then pull the beater/reed toward me and squeeze. Then switch sheds while the beater is still against the cloth edge, squeeze again, and push the beater away with the 'new' shed still open. I get the same effect as heavy beating. Squeezing compacts both the previous weft passes and the new one, and I get a strong, tightly woven rug.
Also, I change positions a lot. Since I'm short (5'1"), I can stand at my loom. Often, I lay one of my 'rag' rugs on the floor in front of the loom and work in my bare feet. I try to keep my body loose as if I'm doing Tai Chi. My husband calls it "dancing the rug."
I guess my point is that I think you could probably use any loom if you adapted your approach.
HD's are not HD enough to do rug weaving. I've tried to do a rag rug on my HD. Unsuccessful. Too light of loom. I found that my Dryad will weave a better rug than my Glimakra. I guess because it's vertical and the gravity helps a lot when beating the weft and when you're beating down the floor takes all the force of the beats.....................Steve.
Think I'll try squeezing
Thanks for the pointers. I think I'll give it a go. I don't want to sell them, just cover the cold Maine floors and enjoy using up a bit of fabric I've collected. I'll just use the same techniques I use for weft-faced weaving. (I'm more of a squeezer than a pounder in general -- maybe it's we petite people who have to come up with our gentler ways of accomplishing things.)
rugs on jack looms
I am at the moment weaving a set of woolen rugs on my Gilmore 22". All Gilmore are jack type looms, of course, and I cannot imagine that heavy beating, or squeezing or whatever would do anything to harm the loom other than bend the blades in the reed. It might also break warp threads. But I really cannot envision harm to the loom. Now, that said, I also cannot imagine doing an adequate job weaving these on a Harrisville loom - I think it would loosen bolts, etc because their frame is much more light weight than is that of any Gilmore I ever saw.
To make the weaving easier, plan on a sett of 5 or 6 per inch. Then bubble the weft and you will have a more weft faced rug. It will require less squeezing effort to make a tight rug.
And, if you use a temple, the effort is even less and the loom will thank you for it.
And I just got a temple!
Thank you for the hint. I'm so glad to hear that my impulse purchase of a temple will come in handy for this project. I think I'll start with some lightweight knit fabric that will scrunch nicely.
16# of steel on my beater
I weave on a Newcomb Studio, built for rugs, and added a steel bar to the beater, per P. Collingwood's suggestion. Works great. Don't have to whack away anymore; one solid thunk and the weft packs. Am thinking about adding a second bar to the bottom of the beater. Peter was right, for me; I hardly notice the extra weight anymore. OTOH, I am six feet tall.
My partner has looked at pictures of a number of other looms--Mighty Wolf, for one--and said instantly, "that wouldn't hold up for you." Might be given a LeClerc that will be used for lighter weaving than my weft-faced rag rugs.
I'm using a sett of 3 epi, doubled and tripled (would have been tripled completely but I got the math wrong) and I cut my strips fairly wide. (Tried 4 epi and didn't like the way the face looked.) I also use one of Glimakra's temples and it really makes it easier to keep a straight edge. Weights off the side of the loom don't work for me.
I get 10 rows of 2/2 twill to the inch. The rugs will stand up by themselves rolled up.
Your plans may vary...