Warp speed ahead!
In this post Sara of the Weavers’ Workshop takes us through the process of rewarping our reproduction loom, a mammoth task!
The replica medieval floor loom is at last warped up following several wintry sessions in the freezing upstairs ‘solar’ of The Weaver’s House. We had no heating, but thankfully we had the benefit of electric lighting, so we cannot really claim to be replicating the task that faced John Croke in 1540, who would have only had a rush light with which to see by.
The warping up process was managed over several cold, lengthy sessions thanks to the technical expertise of Ian McClusky from the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and support from The Weavers’ Workshop (Margaret Annetts, Heidi Campbell and me). The Weaver’s House trustee, Peterson, assisted to get the technical elements of the loom working – so the shafts and foot pedals synchronised to create a workable ‘shed’ through which to pass the boat shuttle.
The loom is a faithful reproduction of the type of narrow floor loom used in medieval times to produce undyed cloth for the artisan workers in the area. It is hoped to demonstrate the weaving process as it would have been done at that time using a boat shuttle, but there is still work to do to find a suitable shuttle and master the technique. While weaving cloth seems straightforward enough in principle, setting up the loom and achieving a rhythmic approach to the weaving process requires great skill and it is amazing in these days of advanced technology, how the craftsmen of old achieved great things with what we regard now as relatively simple equipment.
You can see a full picture of the loom in the gallery.
If you are interested in traditional weaving, you may be interested in our post on weaving in Mexico, on a very similar loom.