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Inkle loom hack

I have learned a few things about weaving in my time, so I’m going to share a hack with you. First I’ll give you some vocabulary. “Warp” describes the long threads that go the length of the fabric. “Weft” describes the threads that go sideways across the fabric. “Take up” describes how much the warp is taken up by going over and under the weft. Fabrics are “warp faced” when only the warp, and no weft, shows in the final fabric.

With my floor loom I tend to beat rather vigorously. In warp faced fabrics there can be a lot of take up. My habit of vigorously beating in the weft exacerbates the problem. When warp is taken up by weaving, it becomes shorter and shorter. On a floor loom that isn’t a problem. I merely adjust the tension on the warp beam.

Recently I put a warp on my inkle loom, no surprise there. This time I went for the longest warp I could put on the loom – about 3.4 meters. The warp is put on the inkle loom in one continuous loop.

Inkle looms feature pegs onto which the warp is measured. Manufacturers solve the problem of a shortening warp by including some sort of a tensioning device. Many of them provide a moveable peg to provide the tension. My loom model happens to have a moveable paddle that provides the tension instead of a peg.

On the shorter warps that I have done so far, the shortening warp wasn’t much of a problem. The paddle was able to take care of my shortening warp. On this longest warp I wasn’t so lucky. It looked like I was going to run out of paddle motion before I was finished with my warp. I figured there had to be a way to deal with that.

I figured if I slipped the warp off one of the shortest pegs that I could find something that would slip into its place. I started getting creative, looking around my craft room. I tried a couple of things before I came up with my best solution. I found a spool of ribbon yarn that was practically the right diameter. I slipped that into place with a little foam padding. Voila!

After I wove for a while I was able to take out the foam padding. Later I switched the full spool for an empty spool. Then I needed to change to a spool of yarn that had even a smaller diameter.

All in all, I decided my inkle warp hack was a success. What has worked for you?

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