More tools

my temple

I admit it. I don’t usually use a temple. (It’s a tool designed to pull the selvedges [sides] of the weaving out toward the sides of the loom.) I know plenty of weavers use them every single time. Me? I use one rarely. Mostly when I’m getting too much draw in (when the weft threads pull too much on the end warp threads, making the actual width of the weaving less than the width in the reed/beater bar) and breaking threads near the edges.

I don’t own a ‘real’ temple, one manufactured specifically for this purpose, generally made of wood, and adjustable for different weaving widths. So when I need one I use a quick homemade version using alligator clips, fishing line, and washers. I’ve used those alligator clips on 30/2 silk with no ill effects. Usually I simply lay that fishing line over the side bar of my loom, but for the curtains, since they are almost as wide as my loom, that made the temple pull the fabric down too much as opposed to just out.

So I tied fishing line onto the back beam, then hooked it to eye hooks already in my front beam using paper clips. (I didn’t want to tie it to the front beam since it folds down to the floor when I’m threading and I’d have to cut the fishing line each time.) Initially I used a large paper clip, but as the fishing line stretched I switched to a smaller clip to take up more slack.

Where do the washers come in? I hang them from a paper clip tied to the alligator clip. Usually 3 washers does the trick. But not this time. I needed far more weight. But how much?

temple weights

I found the LeClerc Clip Temple, and saw that their weights range from .4 pounds to 1.5 pounds. My 3 washers only weighed about 2 ounces total so I needed to add quite a bit. I’d recently found some really big, heavy washers on my walks (wonder who lost them from what…they weren’t all in the same place or on the same day) so added 3 of them to each side. That seemed to be a good amount.

My temples cost me….ummmm…virtually nothing. I had all the supplies hanging around the house. LeClerc’s Clip Temple? A whopping $83 plus shipping! Now obviously they’re not giving you rusty bits of metal and bent paper clips, but hey. $00 vs. $83? I’ll pick free and a bit of rust any day.

Back in December when I got my new aprons I used the ties that Macomber sent me with them. I wasn’t sure if I liked them, and after living with them for a few warps decided I didn’t. I went to the craft store around the corner from me and bought some waxed cotton string and went with the type of continuous apron strings I’d used before.

alternate apron ties

I do like this configuration better, but I didn’t like working with the waxed string. It’s too ‘sticky’ and doesn’t adjust across the width as I’d like it to. One of these days I’ll remember to buy some strong cotton string at either the hardware or craft store and re-do them.

Back when I lived in the sticks I had hardwood floors. I loved them. I felt badly that both of my looms – the little counterbalance and the Macomber – damaged the finish on those floors. I most decidedly did NOT want that to happen in my lovely new house, so I had to come up with something to put under the looms to protect the floors. Rugs in a weaving studio tend to be a bit of a pain and/or problem because weaving makes a mess…threads and fiber dust.

It was easy enough to figure out that a home gym mat would be good under the counterbalance. The loom is small and lightweight and would fit well on a standard sized mat – $42.

home gym mat to loom mat

But I the Macomber presented a real challenge. First of all was the weight—that loom is heavy and I believed it would compress the type of mat I got for the counterbalance immediately so that there would not be any real floor protection. Then there was the size. The Mac would need two mats. Two very thick mats. The dollar signs were adding quickly. I don’t remember exactly what I was looking at, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $225. Then one day I was reading Amazon reviews for thick mats and someone wrote a really helpful comment – instead of spending major dollars for this mat, the writer bought a horse mat. WHAT?!

horse mat to loom mat

I checked with my local Tractor Supply store. They carried mat designed for horse and cow stalls in a few different weights and widths, and cut them to the length you needed. I spent $52, including tax! This was a scathingly brilliant idea! (Phrase stolen from Hayley Mills’ character in The Trouble with Angels.) Thanks, Amazon reviewer! I’m positive I never would have come up with that.

I’m still hoping more readers tell me about your unconventional tools. If not for weaving, then for your kitchen, home, or car.

6 comments to More tools

  • Alma

    I thought I was the only one who remembered scathingly brilliant – so glad you do, too.

    I think the T girls learned about paper clips and string from the glitter lady!! Dad knew how to fix and repair things, but he went the more conventional route of using tools and handyman equipment.

    I recently had a toilet problem – there’s a little clip that holds the chain to the handle so that when you flush it raises the flapper. Well one night the little clip went sproing, so I fixed it with a paper clip until I could ask maintenance to replace it. I got a gold star for not calling out overnight to come in, and another for bending a paper clip to do the job.

    Don’t tell me there isn’t something in the genes!!

    • Peg Cherre

      I have used the ‘scathingly brilliant’ phrase in conversation for years. No one knows it except us, I think. 🙂

      I like to use tools & handyman equipment, too, but I find I generally have better luck with things like paper clips and fishing line. Real tools often require real knowledge, as opposed to the “hmmm…let me try this and see if it works” approach.

  • Cyndee

    Hi Peg, I found your blog about a year ago while looking for a Summer & winter project for my weaving study group. I was going to try your napkins but then I decided to make Christmas scarves for my daughters family of seven. Went with a couple of bath mats instead. Also made S &W tree boarder runners for a second study group. Now I would like to join your I HTNW club. Hate when mistakes are on the bottom and you don’t see them until it ‘s off the loom. I missed a tabby on one mat and one runner.
    Tools…I have never used a temple except in a work shop …hated it. .
    My rattle came with my first 24″ workshop Norwood loom. It goes into the beater instead of the reed and after it is filled you put the top bar back on to secure the threads …love it. Had a 40″ Norwood for 20 years and it came with one also, but I have a Baby Wolf now (two new knees)
    I use film canisters with two large marbles with my floating salvage wound in side to hang of back beam.
    Fishing weights with a ring at the top, which come in all diff sizes when ever I need
    I use a thick rubber band lopped over heddle bar with a safety pin on the bottom to secure my extra heddles. I doubt if you ever have many …:}

    I hope this works. I have tried to reply to blogs before and my android tablet doesn’t seem to play well with others…Cyndee

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Cyndee. (I fixed the weirdness from your Android. Hope I caught it all.)

      I, too, use film canisters, but put pennies in them. More readily available to me than marbles, since I gave the ones I had to my grandson. 😉 I’ve heard others talk about the fishing weights, and I’ll have to look at them next time I’m at the hardware store. Or maybe I have to go to sporting goods store for them?

      I like your rubber band and safety pin heddle minder idea. I got a bunch of Japanese paper clips on Ravelry (I think) for this purpose. I’ll take a photo of them soon so others can see them.

  • I like to use fishing weights for all manner of things. I don’t have film canisters, but use little drawstring bags which holds the weights and the wrapped floating selvage on a small plastic square thing knitters use…is it called a fish?

  • Yarn bobbins or butterflies, but some are made in the shape of a fish!

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