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Semi-Successful Supplementary Warp Beam

I don’t know why I always want to do something hard. Isn’t easy good enough?

Apparently not.

I had woven two of these beautiful hand painted rayon chenille scarves (top and right). They’re lovely, with the warp being a colorway Tammy calls Visionary – a blend of purples and dark green. I used a solid purple for the weft.
handwoven rayon chenille scarves in Visionary & green
I wanted to weave the third one using a light green weft, thinking it’d be nice to have something a bit different.

That would have been really easy, if I hadn’t also wanted to add a thin strip of that light green along each edge of the scarf.

I’ve tried adding such strips to an existing warp before.

I’ve simply hung and weighted the added warp – pretty unsuccessful. Way too hard to get good, even tension on it. Ended up with wavy selvedges.

I’ve tried cutting off the scarves that were finished, pulling the remaining warp forward through heddles & reed, tying the new ends on the back beam, and rewinding. Still not good for me…the thread that had been on there were already a bit stretched, so the new threads ended up at a different tension before many inches of weaving anyway.

So I thought I’d try another strategy.

Make pretend I had a second warp beam by using my rigid heddle loom. Here’s a shot from the top…
rigid heddle loom as a supplementary warp beam, top view
And the side…
rigid heddle loom as a supplementary warp beam, side view

With my rigid heddle loom on a TV tray, it was almost exactly the right height. And the RH loom would apply sufficient tension, plus it had its own brake, so I could adjust the green warp threads as we moved forward.

I have to say that for me, it did work better than the other two methods. But it wasn’t ideal. When I needed to advance the yarn, it wasn’t necessarily easy to adjust the two brakes to provide the same tension.

Far worse, every time I beat the weft in, the TV tray and RH loom banged on the back beam of my counterbalance loom. I tried removing the TV tray and hanging the RH loom over the back beam; that didn’t work — the balance was completely off.

I tried tying the front beam of the RH to the back beam of the counterbalance. That was less successful – no way could I get it tied tightly enough. I thought about using clamps instead, but I don’t have the kind of clamps that could have done that.

So I learned another strategy that wasn’t great. I still don’t have one that is. Maybe when my clever son moves back to the region next month I’ll have him look at it and see if he can fashion a sometimes-used supplementary warp beam for me that I will like. (I can imagine that I might hate what it would do to my beloved little loom.)

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