Weaving on the Varpa

You know me too well. You knew that I’d find a reason for continuing to work on the Varpa, didn’t you?

Well, my heddles aren’t here yet, scheduled to arrive tomorrow, but I thought about it, and decided it made most sense to try a 4 harness pattern that I’ve woven before — on my counterbalance loom — on the Varpa. There are several differences in the tie up on a countermarch loom (the Varpa) from either a counterbalance or a jack loom (the Macomber). I figured I shouldn’t make it more complex than it needed to be for my first attempt – go with a 4 harness pattern.

So with some false starts and a few missteps, I started by doing the tie up. It made sense to me, and when I tested it out, the correct harnessses lifted and lowered. GREAT!

On to beaming the warp and threading the heddles.
Varpa's first warp beamed

All went well. In fact, I found the threading easy; with the knee beam, breast beam, and beater out of the way, I could get very close to the harnesses. I tied on to the front beam, and was off weaving!

Varpa's first weaving

It’s a Swedish lace, which I think makes perfect sense for the maiden voyage of this Swedish-style loom. Ok, Varpapuus were actually made in Finland, but it’s close enough for me. (How American-centric is that?!)

I’ve got half of the first scarf in this warp of four woven already. Not as quick as on my beloved counterbalance yet, but I’ve only been working on it for a short time. I’m confident my speed will improve with practice on this loom. (The color is very off in this photo.)
handwoven lemon drop rayon lace scarf

Because I’m so short – specifically, because my arms are so short – I’ve already made a modification to the loom. It’s just temporary at this point, until I figure out the right combination, but it’s already made the loom fit me better. I’ve clamped and/or tied blocks of wood onto the castle so the beater doesn’t go as far back as it did. It makes it much easier for me to reach it.

big block

Don’t ask me why I’m comfortable making modifications to this loom but not to my Mac or even the counterbalance. The counterbalance is pretty perfect just the way it is; the Mac never felt like home. I hope, and at this point believe, that the Varpa has found its home, after having only short stays with its last two weavers.

2 comments to Weaving on the Varpa

  • Ellie

    BEAUTIFUL! Both loom and your first project on the new kid in the room. Looking forward to seeing where this takes you and what you think of the BIG c.m. p.s. Does the small beloved c.b. know about this interloper?

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Ellie! I’m looking forward to exploring the Varpa more, too. When I get this warp of 4 rayon scarves off, my next project will be some silk shawls in a modification fo the 8H snowflake shawls I made a few months ago. (I expect it’ll take me a number of mods to get the pattern exactly where I want it.)

      I’ve whispered ever so briefly to my sweet, little CB about the new CM. I don’t think she’s too worried at this point, since she watched the Macomber mostly sit while I wove on her. Plus, she probably eavesdropped on my phone conversation with a friend saying that I expected she’d always be my favorite, and I’d most likely still do all (or almost all) my 4H weaving on her.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>