Trouble Creating Patterns on an Ashford Loom

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn
  Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 12.09.29 PM


I just received an ad from WEBS that shows a project started on a Toika loom. The part that interested me is the breast beam that the newly woven fabric goes around. The beam on the Toika looks exactly like the beam on my Ashford loom–the “diameter” is rectangular rather than round. With this email, I’m attaching photos of a man’s scarf I wove on my Ashford; the pattern turned out to be very distorted. I asked a local weaving teacher about it, and she thought it was because the beam on the Ashford was not round. She suggested I put a piece of PVC pipe over it to change the shape.

ashford weaving 2However, when I look at the photos of the Toika loom, their pattern is perfect and the beam is the same shape as mine.  Can you help, please?


Hi Sheryl!

I’m afraid it isn’t the breast beam.  Your beat varies too much, so that the interlacement is tighter in some places and looser in others. Your yarn looks as if it is fairly slippery, so as it goes around the beam, the weft can get misaligned. But the cloth shows the changes in weft density between the loosely beaten areas and the tightly beaten areas rather than a slight distortion in the weft.

In theory, your rosepath diamonds should be as tall as they are wide. If you are using a wool yarn that you intend to full, then you want the warp sett to be open (and the beat to be correspondingly loose so the weft sett matches the warp sett). If you planned to full this piece, you just needed to beat lightly enough to keep the picks per inch the same as the ends per inch. If, however, you didn’t intend for the yarn to full, your warp sett is too open. (And it’s always harder to beat consistently with an open sett than with a close sett.)

If you do weave with open warp and weft setts using your breast beam, as I mentioned, you may have some slight distortion as the warp goes around the beam. In most cases, the yarns will realign themselves as they relax and full during wet-finishing. The Webs photo that you mentioned shows much different yarns at much closer setts. Their yarns don’t have any room to move as the cloth goes around the beam.

You can continue to love your Ashford loom and you can leave the front beam the way it is!


Post a Comment