The Majacraft Blog The official blog of Majacraft

18Oct/170

The Return of the Loom

Last week we relaunched our Dynamic Heddle weaving loom, the Majacraft variation on a rigid heddle loom. We created this loom some years ago, and included innovations we are still very proud of such as the variable dent reeds (hence 'dynamic!') and the rare earth magnet heddle attachment which makes the heddle super easy to move into each weaving position. Now, after a short hiatus we have tweaked the design and streamlined our hand building processes to re-release this loom for sale again!

This is a loom that has a huge range. Because of the variable dent reed it is possible to warp it with very bulky yarns, and if you are making a wearable item from your art yarns and bulky yarns you will find this gives your piece a fantastic drape along the length of it, rather than sitting flat, which is what usually happens when your bulky yarns are in your weft sitting across the width of the weave. In fact you can even almost keep the effect of wearing your handspun skein around your neck if you use a fine yarn in your weft and the art skein in your warp.

 

You can also use the variable dent reed to use a variety of thickness yarns in your warp, which gives the opportunity to create texture and interest in your piece.

With this loom you have a lot of freedom to play around and experiment with your yarns!

But not only can you get experimental with your unusual yarns and materials, you can also enjoy the ease of use with this loom creating more 'traditional' weavings, selecting a finer reed set (10 or 12 dent reeds are great for this!) and even adding a second heddle to create a wide range of patterns in your weaving. The following image is some double heddle weaving by Annick Keters (Belgium) created as a practice piece.

Double heddle weaving cloth detail

Double heddle weaving cloth detail

We are very happy to have this loom return to our product range, and are excited to continue seeing the amazing weavings people are creating with it. If you would like to see more incredible creations made possible with this loom and the creativity of current loom owners you can also visit our Dynamic Heddle Loom Facebook group, there is some wonderful inspiration being shared there and its a fun group for Majacraft Loom owners. If you are ready to become a Dynamic Heddle Loom owner youself  (yay!) you can now place your order with any of our wonderful Majacraft Dealers , they are also happy to help you in making choices on reed selection and accessories for your loom.

Happy Weaving!

Suzy

 

30Jul/161

Creative Weaving

Are you one of those lovely creative fiber people who have purchased one of our Dynamic Heddle Looms? Or maybe you are thinking about it or curious about what makes it different from other rigid heddle looms.. So this months blogpost is devoted to the Majacraft Dynamic Heddle Loom (DHL) and I am going to show you just a couple of the really cool things you can do with it!

One of the best and most unique things about this loom is the magnetic heddle attachment. Not only does this give you a VERY satisfying 'click' when you place it on the holder, it also gives you a smooth and simple method of moving the heddle into the up and down positions to change your weaving shed, no fuss or fiddling required. I rather love this little added touch that streamlines the whole process as well as the look of the loom itself.

Another super cool Majacraft innovation is the dynamic heddle itself and the freedom it gives us to choose from a wide range of reed segments that will accomodate any size and thickness of warp thread into your design. In a single warp you can have giant bulky bobbly yarns next to fine yarns, you can create highlights and super textures in the warp itself. I have found that when using art yarns and bulky yarns, the ability to place them into the warp rather than being restricted to the weft only, dramatically changes the drape of the finished piece. For example, if you have a fine and even warp, and then weave your art yarns into it to create texture, it will look amazing, it will potentially be an excellent wall hanging or piece of art, but if you wanted to wear it round your neck, most likely you will find that it wants to sit flat and will not drape around your neck in a comfortable manner. However if you reversed that warp and weft, the moment you take it off the loom you will see that it will have the most delightful drape and be an extremely wearable piece of art!

Here is an example of the thick yarns in the weft only:


I do love that piece! But I have to say I found this one much more satisfying!

I actually find that my weaving itself is much more 'dynamic' when using my DHL loom.

Here are a few ideas I would like to share with you that I hope will inspire you in your creative weaving too.

Firstly, do not be afraid to try a range of yarns in your warp, this closeup shows the detail of the warp I used for the above weaving, I varied the yarns across the width of it, with appropriately sized reeds sections. The only caution I can offer is that the variation in yarns can cause some variation in tension. Mostly this does not matter so much because we are generally not weaving a 'pattern' requiring consistent tension, however if you do find it gets 'floppy' you can 'pack' that warp section on the warp beam to add tension to just that area. You can also help this issue by making sure you roll some light sheets of card in your warp as you wind it onto the warp beam, this will assist in evening out the tension as the thinner warps do not tend to dig in as much when the tension is increased.

A cool technique you can use to add texture into your weaving, even with a non-textured yarn, is to create some loops as you go. In the following example I chose to weave into a narrow section, moving back and forth across about 10 warp threads, and at each end, instead of pulling the weft in to make an edge, I left a long loop sticking out, of about an equal length on each row/end. On either side I pulled each loop up to the front of the weaving. This is a very simple technique that can be used in different ways to create interesting textures. The most important thing in creative weaving is to continue experimenting! If something you try doesn't work you 'can' unweave it if you feel you have to, or you can keep on working on it until you find something that pleases you!

Another technique you might want to try out, and this lends itself also very well to a variable warp, is to add waves into your weaving. There are a few ways you can do this, you could go out and buy a special 'beater' that is basically a flat stick with a wavy edge, it is used to push the weft into place and create the wave patterns. Or you could do what I do and just use my fingers to push the wave into the weft, this gives a denser look to the weft threads that are pushed together in the valleys, and the weft in the mountains is looser packed, which helps emphasise the wave pattern.

If you wanted to, you could use a tapestry weave technique to then weave a different colour into the valleys, building them up by weaving back and forth inside the shape of the valley you have crreated to make a straight line across your weaving again, you can see in the image below the dark blue area built up against the white that flattens out the design before I added the purple across the entire area.

Another creative weaving technique that I like to use is one of making holes in the weaving. This may cause a sharp intake of breath from very traditional weavers, however it is a useful design idea that I think can be used to fantastic effect in your weaving, whether for wearable fabrics or wall hangings.

Making holes is quite easy, in fact the simplest way I can think of is to simply weave to the place in your warp where you want the hole to be, and turn your shuttle around and weave back to the edge, just weave to this point for the size you want your hole to be and then return to weaving the full width of your warp. You can then go back and weave from the other side to form the opposite side of the hole. You can make it wider by pulling tighter on the weft, basically you are creating selvedges inside the ‘hole’ and pulling up your weft will create curves and widen the hole.

 

I hope these simple techniques have given you some ideas for your own weaving, I think experimentation is a key in creative weaving and often starting off with one idea can lead you to many more as you shape it into your own style and designs.

I will leave you with the video I made of warping the DHL with a 'direct' warping method, its fast and easy and works well with different kinds of yarns. You can find out more about the DHL loom on our Product page HERE and of course you can talk to any of our dealers about our Dynamic Heddles looms and accessories

Happy weaving!

Suzy

 

 

6Apr/164

Weaving Circular!

Growth, it's all about movement, change, and outward expansion. This is what excites me about circular weaving! In my mind, it is an embodiment of these ideas, starting at the centre and working outwards, expanding into the space around it and changing it in a positive way, adding more all the time. When I start a circular weaving it is all about possibility, I have made the warp, or the framework for growth, and then begin to experiment with how to use that framework, using colours, textures, fibers both spun and unspun. When we designed our first circular loom for the Fiberygoodness spinning course (Journey to the Golden Fleece) it was not obvious that this was going to be 'something', although there were already a number of people who had been following my own early experiments with this kind of weaving and it seemed there might be a few people would also enjoy this quite retro '70s idea. I started out with a large gear off a very old Louet drum carder (the teeth were broken). It was the right shape, and the teeth ideal for allowing me to warp it and still be able to lift the weaving off the loom when finished without cutting. Up to this time I had only seem looms that required the warp to be cut off and tied, or that used the loom as a final frame in the work, I wanted something we could reuse and to also remove the need to mess about tying knots (not my forte!) This was my very first circle weaving.     I made some sketches of ideas for the design, we decided that it should have 'cut outs' to make it easier to weave into, as the gear I had been using was just flat. You can see I had a few ideas! Some of them turned out to be not very practical in terms of making them, but we finally chose the one you see bottom left, as the unique shape for the Golden Fleece class. A little later Andrew added another design to become the 'standard' Majacraft loom that would be available to people not in the course too, it proved very popular! Our first prototype was closer to the original gear, and while it worked really well and I loved using it, the material it was made of was too heavy, making it slightly harder to handle and also less portable, and this was another goal, to make something people could put in their bag and take with them, much like knitting! This was the first prototype: After a bit of experimenting and discussion we settled upon using wood for the loom, it is strong and light, it feels nice to use and handle, and the colour of the wood compliments any colour, making it pleasing to use. We came up with these two looms and then added the smallest loom: There was so much interest in weaving circles on these looms that we set up a Facebook page for people to share their ideas, techniques and tips, and where we could post things we could offer such as the 'Warp Speed' warping  methods and the 'make your own' Template. You can find the group HERE and are very welcome to join in! It has been exciting to see the growth (yes we are back..ahem.. full circle again.) of this group and see the huge variety of projects people are using circle looms for! If you are starting to feel a little inspired to try your hand at circle weaving, you might enjoy the following videos, a 'basic' circle warp, an alternate warp for making earrings, and some ideas for creating textures in your weaving. I hope you enjoy them! Happy Weaving everyone Suzy x

16Sep/140

Double Heddle Weaving Mounts for the DHL

If you are interested in double heddle weaving on the Dynamic Heddle Loom, we offer some really useful little mounts to support the heddle during the warping of the loom. They have little metal discs so the magnets in the heddle will stick to them and nylon bumpers to set the angle to make warping as simple as possible.

Double heddle mounts

Double heddle mounts


 
You can learn more here Double Heddle Weaving Mounts

Double heddle mounts on loom

Double heddle mounts on loom


 
Double heddle weaving by Annick Keters

Double heddle weaving by Annick Keters


 
Until next time

Andy

Filed under: Accessories, Loom No Comments
11Sep/141

Another circular loom tutorial!

One of our new developments with the circular looms is in the packaging. They are now packed on a sheet of cardboard and sealed with plastic. I have also written a basic introductory tutorial to get weavers started which is to be included with all the circular looms that go out now. It can now be downloaded for free from the web site if you are interested.

My hope is that it is simple enough to help younger weavers to get started so let me know if you think improvements could be made.

Getting Started with the Circular Loom

Getting Started with the Circular Loom cover

 

You can download it here Getting Started with the Circular Loom - Concise Version

Until next time

Andy

Filed under: Loom 1 Comment
26Jul/140

The Warp Speed competition

Warp speed competition
Warp speed competition

 

As a celebration of the release of Warp Speed and the coming release of the new 180mm mini circular loom, we have a competition for you.

Create a warping pattern using the pattern key and the template presented in Warp Speed, then share it and your weaving on the Circle Weaving Facebook group and be in the draw to win one of four new mini circular looms!

As a suggestions, try to put together something interesting/innovative/unique/useful/pretty. Winners will be selected at random so have a go and you might get a freebie!

The rules are these (and please don’t get too technical or uptight, this is supposed to be fun :-) )

You have until midnight GMT 30th August 2014.

It is only open to members of the Circle Weaving Facebook group so join the group if you are not already a member
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/circleweaving)

You must share it on the group. We like sharing knowledge rather than hoarding it here J (share pictures of the PATTERN and the WOVEN ITEM)

We would like to be able to put together interesting patterns into another tutorial that would get shared for free – you would of course be acknowledged for your contribution. Everybody wins then!

If you do not have a circular loom, print out the template and use that to make one out of cardboard. Alternatively you can use your knitting loom, hula hoop, or anything else round and warpable!

So there you go, join in the vibrant Circle Weaving community and in the process you could win yourself a new Majacraft circular loom.

Here is another link to Warp Speed

www.majacraft.co.nz/resources/tutorials/warp_speed_1.01.pdf

Warp speed

Warp speed tutorial

 

Until next time
Andy

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26Jul/140

Warp speed – a circular loom ideas book

Warp speed

Warp speed tutorial

 

Yes! Warp Speed is ready!

Warp speed is a collaborative tutorial/inspirational/ideas book for weaving on the circular loom It has been put together by Suzy Brown (Woolwench) and myself. We have been working on for quite a few months now and I am now delighted to release it to you.

So, a little bit about it. First off, the best bit, we are giving it away for FREE! So go download it and knock yourself out.

We have also worked to create a way of writing patterns that is easy to understand and replicate yourself. In an effort to come up with more ideas, there is also a template at the back of the book that you can freely print to make your own patterns with. I would encourage you to do this, and share them around. Suzy and I already have ideas for putting together patterns made up by the community to help spread it further (all with the appropriate acknowledgements and so forth :-) ). If you read it and think there are shortcomings or additions to the pattern scheme we have come up with, let either of us know and we can edit and add to it. Everybody wins then.

We have also included pictures of many of the inspirational weavings created by people on the Circle Weaving Facebook group. I am really proud of the community that is building in the Circle Weaving group on Facebook and I am getting to live a little vicariously as well :-) . They have been enthusiastic with their support of others and generous with their ideas which are shared freely in the group. It is so cool to see people working together to grow the craft. If you are interested, come along and join in!

Here is the link to the document Warp Speed

So go right ahead, download it, share it with others, experiment with some of the ideas and if you are willing, show me what you have made. I would love to see.

Until next time

Andrew

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16May/140

Donyale Grant wins Dairing art yarn competition!

Donyale Grant of Moggy & Me has had some exciting news recently. She entered and won the Dairing Art Yarn competition with a piece she wove on her Dynamic Heddle Loom (there had to be a Majacraft catch in there somewhere!)

The final piece completed on the Majacraft loom

The final piece completed on the Majacraft loom

 

She has written a small blog post about creating the piece here.

Donayle Grant Dairing weaving detail

Donayle Grant Dairing weaving detail

 

Dairing weaving on the Majacraft loom

Dairing weaving on the Majacraft loom

 

I have also been encouraging her to perhaps 'tutorialise' the design so ... fingers crossed!

Andy

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18Apr/140

See the 450 Circular Loom

The 450 Circular Loom is a larger version of the current 275 Circular Loom. It is obviously larger but we have also added more notches to the diameter to give more opportunities and potential for different warps

450mm Circular Loom

450mm Circular Loom

 

I have added photos and a description of the 450mm variant of the circular loom to the weaving area of the web site and you can see it here 450mm Circular Loom.

Until next time

Andy

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2Mar/145

Double heddle weaving by Annick Keters

On the weekend of the 22nd February, Alet Tienport hosted some classes for double heddle weaving on the Dynamic Heddle Loom as taught y Patty Poot and Suzy Brown.

There were some amazing pieces created by the students. These photos of weaving by Annick Keters appeared in my Facebook feed and really stood out. I thought you might like to share them too. As I have mentioned before, I am so proud to see what people are creating on Majacraft tools.

Using the warping frame on the DHL

Using the looms warping frame

 

Warping the DHL

Warping it up

 

Ready to start weaving

Ready to start weaving

 

Weaving on the DHL

Double heddle weaving

 

Cloth from the DHL

Annick Keters weaving

 

Double heddle weaving cloth detail

Double heddle weaving cloth detail

 

Congratulations Annick on some beautiful weaving!

Andy

Filed under: Loom, People 5 Comments