The biggest problem in designing and making your own rigid heddle loom is in the reed dents...I've yet to figure out a way to make a homemade dent that will be as close as those with a purchased loom. Again, when making the first one, I "eyeballed" what I thought looked to be a good spacing and used popsicle sticks for the reeds. It works great, however, I can't get a very tight weave with it. It will work great for bulky yarns or other heavy warps, and it works with the actual rug warp, just not as close and tight as I need it to be....so it was on to fixing that dilemma!
Over coffee one morning I was expressing my displeasure with our resident carpenter/inventor (our son!) over the width of said reeds. Several ideas were tossed around, including using plexi-glass and a saw blade width to get what I wanted in spacing. Later, hubs attempted this for me with a piece of scrap he had....wouldn't work as the cuts were not smooth enough for the threads/yarns to be passed over. So we went back to the tried and true popsicle sticks! Son and I laid several out on the table one morning and discussed the idea of cutting pieces to use as spacers, then turning the sticks sideways. By cutting two separate length of pieces I could get the eye and the slot and I decided to give it a try. While at work that day, good ol' hubs took a handful of sticks to the shop and whacked me out several one inch and two inch pieces, to which I came home and began gluing them together. It didn't take me long to realize I wasn't going to get a long enough slot, so back to the shop he went and cut some 1/2" pieces. I've worked for the past couple of weeks trying to get all these little minute pieces glued and clamped together and then sanded smooth for dipping. They look good, are definitely closer in dent size and hopefully will work well once the son gets my cross pieces cut to fit them into. I do know though, they are still not as close as they need to be in comparison to a retail designed reed, but I'm sure
hoping they will do what I want them to do for the things I'm wanting to weave...it remains to be seen.
Now most people might think I've went to an awful lot of trouble (and am possibly crazy!) to do all this when I could have just as easily went out and bought this set up for myself. Well, that's not quite true...the equipment, materials, tools, and other things involved in learning to weave are NOT cheap! It is not something you can afford to try and if it doesn't catch your fancy, just say "oh well"....at least it's not for me! This "trouble" would have cost me several hundreds of dollars to purchase and that just isn't something I have to toss around for a hobby, whether I stick with it or not, so....where there's a will...there's a way...and this was my way!!! ;) It will never be cookie cutter perfect, nor do I hope to become a talented weaver, but I've loved the learning of new things and I have a real love for the "old ways" of doing things...so this is just another one of my quirks that may stick around for many years or pass in just a few. Either way I can say I've tried it and liked it! And thankfully the son and hubs is right there with me and indulge my longings and creativity, otherwise I'd never get to enjoy what I do! The
Today I am currently enjoying a snow day from work and am getting ready to warp up that lovely little loom to try out some more yarn for another table runner for my kitchen. I've almost completed two new rugs on the frame loom for the kitchen as well, so figured might as well make something to match on the island counter! By this time next year I may have discovered a whole new "something" to learn, but right now I'll just let the snow fly and enjoy both of my looms and the products they're allowing me to produce!