New tiny rigid heddle loom vest in progress

I hand combed, handspun and hand dyed the rainbow yarn several years ago, before my hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos diagnosis. I’m halfway done weaving my handspun merino yarn into 4” x 4” squares for a vest. I’m thinking of lining the vest with a jewel toned magenta raw silk fabric in my fabric stash.

Pin loom projects with complex motifs

In August I was diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS ), a genetic connective tissue disorder. I’m currently dealing with an impinged shoulder from a dislocation, something all too common among people with EDS. So I decided to demonstrate how freeform overshot and complex twill pick up designs can be woven on pin looms. New designs are in my Etsy shop for ALL loom types.

Sampling becomes a necessity


I’m not used to weaving with three-ply yarn. Most weaving yarn has two plies so that it lies flat in the shed, whereas more plies creates a rounder yarn. This yarn is an odd grist: 9/3 unmercerized cotton hand dyed in Latvia by MimaHandwovens. Weaving setts can be tricky if you’re not seeking a balanced weave. I want a *somewhat* warp-emphasis fabric to highlight the beautiful dye job.

Because I will be weaving 3:1/1:3 twills to produce large motifs, I need a closer sett than is typically used for balanced twills (2/2 on four shafts).

I asked the Etsy shop owner about suggested weaving setts. She replied, “I usually do 6-9 epcm (15-22 epi) for twill, crackle….” Her weaving tends to be more open and lacy than my clothing fabrics. An online sett suggestion for 10/3 cotton, slightly thinner than 9/3 yarn, is 24 epi for twill. A suggestion elsewhere for 8/4 cotton is 18 epi for twill; 8/4 carpet warp looks almost identical to my warp yarn in thickness.

After much dithering, I have chosen initially to thread the reed at 24 epi, which means sleying the 10-dent reed 2-2-3. I prefer to warp front-to-back. If I don’t like the initial results, I will re-sley the reed before continuing. I don’t want to waste any of the warp.

400 ends @ 24 epi = 16.67 inches wide on the loom, a good width for the two sides of a tunic blouse with center panels woven separately with a freeform overshot design.

Complicating matters, the threading repeat is 30 ends. The two warps are not from the same dye batch, so I’m going to interleave the 400 ends in the following pattern:

400 ends: 20 ends (color #1) – 60 ends (#2) – 60 ends (#1) – 60 ends (#2) — 60 ends (#1) — 60 ends (#2) — 60 ends (#1) – 20 ends of color #2.

The warp is a little over 3 m / 3.28 y long, or about 3 yards of usable warp on my Erica because the loom design minimizes waste yarn. With weaving uptake, wet finishing shrinkage, and hemming, there should be just enough fabric to fit me:
* 3 y ÷ 2 sides (right and left) = 1.5 y minus shrinkage.
* 1.5 y ÷ 2 sides (front and back) = 0.75 y or 27 inches.

I still have not decided on the weft for this fabric, either, commercial tencel or hand dyed slub tencel from Mary Gavan Yarns.

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It’s time to warp my new loom!

My new Louët Erica four shaft table loom. I’m quite happy with it’s small size. Everything is within easy reach, which exactly what I need physically.

The hand dyed slub rayon skeins from Mary Gavan Yarns is gorgeous. The loom is almost assembled. I expect to start warping the Luna Lilac tunic fabric next week. I will be providing more details in my weaving group.

I’m going to weave large scale motifs using the lilac/multicolored hand painted warp and one of the lilac tencels (not sure which one yet) using freeform twill, which has shorter floats than freeform overshot so it doesn’t need tabby shots to stabilize the fabric. It still requires pick up sticks.

My four shaft pattern is a complex advancing diamond twill with warp-emphasis and weft-emphasis sides designed to produce clear handwoven motifs. For rigid heddle weavers I will create a straight twill version for pick up.

I plan to publish my patterns in both shaft loom and rigid heddle forms so they can be woven on all basic loom types. I will be showing more detail in my weaving group, including videos.

Also, I’ve started a Lisa Rayner Handwovens – weaving group on Facebook that includes more details about projects. You can post your projects, too.