Thursday, January 30, 2014

Turned Monk's Belt

Hello, friends. Happy Thursday to you!

I've been trying to make good on my promise to keep trying new weaving techniques and this week I attempted turned (sometimes called "threaded") monk's belt. Armed with several references, including Jean Scorgie's excellent issue (number 26) of "Weaver's Craft" which is devoted to turning drafts, I gave this intriguing pattern a go.

My loom is not equipped with a second/supplementary warp beam and I've never woven any project using a supplementary warp technique. So, I'm no expert on turned monk's belt -- just an interested beginner!

I followed Ms. Scorgie's weaving draft for her "holiday runner." I mixed up the colors a bit based on the 5/2 mercerized cotton colors that are in my stash. One thing that I'm still not sure about, given that I do not have a second warp beam, is how to bundle the warp threads when tying onto the back beam. I took a guess and decided to tie both the pattern/supplementary warp together with the ground warp. Maybe this was a mistake - I might revise this for my second attempt at turned monk's belt.

The weaving proceeded slowly thanks (or "no thanks") to the presence of "wiggles." Here is a wiggle:

Wiggle - an untamed and very uncooperative pattern warp thread. Be gone! 

The wiggles appear in the cloth since there is a tendency of the threads to reposition themselves; the threads are sett at a tight 32 ends per inch in the pattern area. I guess turned monk's belt threads are rather free spirits. However, the wiggles can be tamed a few ways:

Pick up stick helps to align the pattern warp threads properly

The pick up stick approach is time-consuming but it does work. I tried another approach to reduce the wiggly threads -- a rod placed under the pattern threads underneath the back beam. 

My tensioning rig for turned monk's belt

I think that the "rig" approach has a lot of potential but my rig is not really all that great. I used a 3/8" thick dowel (what I could find in the workshop); a thicker dowel will probably work better. And maybe some more weight. There is a lot of fussing around with weights.

All in all, though, I'm really pleased with my first attempt at turned monk's belt:

Turned monk's belt on the loom

The underside of the fabric looks pretty nifty, too:

Underside of the monk's belt fabric on the loom

I'll continue with another treadling variation tomorrow and would like to try another design and some other colors at a future date. At the very least I'd like to work up a better rig for weighting/tension.

Happy trails to you. And may you have very few wiggles should you attempt turned monk's belt.

Be well,


Cindie said...

Love the boldness of your monk's belt.

When I've done anything with a supplementary warp I wind it with the ground warp ends and tie it all to the back beam together. I warp back to front. I've also put a dowel/rod in when the supplemental warp gets loose from less interlacement and have hung weights from it. I do have a second beam on one loom but it's on a rachet brake, while the other one is on the friction brake and I don't care for it. One thing I haven't figured out if the warp is really long is the build up on the front beam where the supplemental warp is, it builds up in those areas and eventually creates tension issues. Does that make sense?

Nutfield Weaver said...

Thank you, Cindie! I'm glad to hear of your bundling solution. I really like the monk's belt patterning, but I think I like weaving the non-turned design as much - if not more. Happy weaving! Be well, Kate PS The tensioning issue that you described does make sense!