Ask Madelyn: A Missing Pattern

Ask Madelyn
Hello Madelyn,

I downloaded Best of Handwoven’s Top Ten Rugs on Four Shafts. I started Barbara Kent Stafford’s pattern for the Olive Green Rug. After weaving plain weave with scrap yarn, I wove about a dozen picks of the pattern. The warp is showing on each pick and I don’t see it showing in the picture of her rug. I rechecked all the treadle tie-ups and they’re tied to the correct shafts. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks very much!

–Bernie

Bernie's Rug
Bernie’s Rug

Note: After asking her further questions, I learned that Bernie is using a LeClerc Nilart loom. The warp sett is 5 ends/dent, sleyed 1 end in every other dent of a 10-dent reed, and she is using a temple.

Hi Bernie!

The treadling is correct. I can see the columns of color that should be building up as the different weft colors are beaten firmly together. Your beat is not nearly firm enough. Several factors affect the beat. Most important in your case is the friction caused by sleying the linen warp threads in a 10-dent reed rather than a 5-dent reed. The sett is correct, but the teeth of the reed are rubbing against the threads which is preventing the reed from moving swiftly toward the fell. The force of the beater is determined both by its mass and by its speed—force equals mass times acceleration, the main thing I learned the short semester I was a Physics major. (Friction can also be caused by a bit of unavoidable draw-in that will happen if you don’t use a temple. The threads on the edges rub on the reed as the beater reaches the fell, slowing its movement.)

So, to beat this rug firmly, change to a 5-dent reed. Make sure your temple is sett so it spreads the warp to the exact width of the warp in the reed. When you beat, move the beater as swiftly as you can. You should be able to beat the weft firmly enough for a rug on your Nilart loom.

And let me know how it works!

–Madelyn

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