Inklings

A very, very nice person sent me two boxes, filled with yarns and books and videos and spiffy things, but most importantly… an inkle loom!

I had an inkle loom on medium-term loan, years ago, when I still lived in Florida. When I moved out to Seattle, it went back to its owner. But it was a really fun thing to use. My first yarn, my baby yarn, all stripey grey-and-white yarn, I wove into a belt on that inkle loom. I’ve really been wanting one, and now! Now I have one!

This is an Ashford Inklette, a little one that takes, at most, a 72” warp. It’s quite enough for now.

My first quick project was a simple short band in seafoamy green and blue. Not really high-contrast enough to show off the pattern properly, but pretty nonetheless.

This was a short warp, and the finished project is 24.5”. No idea what I’m going to use it for, but it was fun to do. Took me a little while to get my selvedges under control, but over all, I’m quite pleased with it.

Warping patterns for inkle looms are written as two rows of letters, and are read bottom to top, left to right. The lower row marks the open threads, which go from the front bar straight to the top back bar. The upper row marks threads that are held by the string heddles.

The threading for the first project was from the brochure that came with it, and looks like this:

XXOOXXOOOOOXXOOOOOXXOOXX
XXOOXXXXXOOXXXOOXXXXXOOXX

You start with the leftmost bottom letter, then the leftmost top letter, then the next bottom letter, and so on, stringing them in that order, and tying new threads onto the previous one at the front of the loom to form a continuous circular warp. The Xs and Os just represent any two colors. I warped this in blue and green, so what I did was do one blue warp open, one on a heddle, one open, one open, then green threads the same, and so on.

The second project is in three colors, a dark blue, a light blue, and a wine red. The threading looks like this:

DDLLLLDDDDRRRRDDDDLLDD
DDLLDDDDRRRRDDDDLLLLDD

That translates to this:

I wound this one on a long warp, which should give me 5 to 5.5 feet of finished band. No idea what I’ll do with it. But it went very quickly, which is always encouraging.

Just started:

And the next day, it was finished:

52.5”, and I didn’t even use all of the warp. Because it’s a warp-faced weave, the warp gets shorter as you weave, with length being taken up as the threads go over and under. The whole thing gets tighter and tighter. So an inkle loom must have a way to adjust the tension. This one has a flap at the top back. You start warping with the flap swung back and tighten the bolt to keep it in place, then slowly move it in as you weave. Unfortunately, I didn’t move the flap back far enough, and so I didn’t have enough slack in it to weave the whole length. It got too tight to keep advancing the warp or to make the sheds. But it’s a lovely pattern, and I’m very happy with it.

I’m also reading up on pick up techniques — no, not for bars, but to form images and patterns in the weave — and am very excited to play with those, and to get out the weaving tablets and play with those on this.

I was hanging out on Tumblr when a post went past claiming that NASA had received a binary message from the direction of the sun — something too regular to be natural, and that, when decoded, formed an image, and while the story sounded awfully fishy, and it was April Fool’s, the image looked oddly familiar. A reverse Google search turned up the Arecibo message:

(The message has no colors, it’s purely binary and the colors are used here to help show different parts of it.)

On November 16, 1974, the Arecibo radio telescope held a ceremony to celebrate their remodel, and aimed a frequency-modulated message at the M13 globular cluster 25,000 light years away. There’s all sort of mathematical symbolism to it, and the images it forms are supposed to convey a lot about us as a species, where the planet and the star are, our number system, etc. Go read the Wikipedia entry if you’re interested.

But I though, hey, that would make a cool inkle band! And it will. I’ll have to modify it a little — some of those vertical lines will be too long for good floats — but it white on black, I think it will be quite attractive.

Something to try, when I can get my hands on the right thread for it. SPACE WEAVING!

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