I bought an inkle loom at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild Textile Bazaar a year or so back and at some later stage I got my hands on a copy of Inkle Weaving by Lavinia Bradley. It’s not a bad book but it could be improved by taking a detailed step by step approach to key elements such as warping the loom.
I decided that this morning would be a good time to have a play. The power was out at home so it was a perfect time to sit down by the window and try an off-grid experiment.
First I made my leashes – single loop string heddles, made by making a circle between two of the pins on the inkle loom and tying them off with a knot. I used surgeon’s knot rather than a reef knot and an ashamed to report that my knot work was so poor that one of my leashes came apart in the first 15 minutes.
For the warp I used a linen that was uneven in thickness. It wasn’t a great choice and for my next attempt I’ll probably grab some cotton or wool, something that’s a bit thicker than the linen. I found that the sheds were hard to open as the linen was a bit slubby. The knots on my leashes didn’t help either and I should have placed them out of the way.
I tried three wefts, a very fine one cotton one, a slightly thicker cotton one and then a thicker woolen one. This was the only weft that gave an even remotely satisfactory result.
It was a good start and I learned a lot. With a different warp and weft selection I’m hoping the result of my next experiment will be at least be usable.
The inkle loom is simple technology, and easy to learn, but mastery clearly takes more than a couple of hours. That’s a lesson I have to re-learn frequently.