Sleying the Dragon

Hooks at the Ready!

Of course the next step after winding the warp is actually dressing the loom.  I like to warp back to front, but that is purely a matter of personal preference.  The steps I use are:  1) beaming on, 2) threading heddles, 3) sleying the reed, and 4) tying onto the front apron rod.

Even though only one of these steps is actually called sleying, Mr. Mouse and I tend to refer to the whole process as "sleying the dragon" because it can feel like a gargantuan task that only the most daring of fiber arts heroes dare attempt.

In an attempt to be honest, I'm going to describe all of the mistakes I made.  Hopefully this will reassure you that it's ok to make mistakes, a mistake does not mean that your project is ruined, and I'm not some kind of infallible super star (as much as I like to pretend to be).

Mistake number one was not tying off my raddle cross properly.  It was a completely stupid, rookie mistake, and unfortunately it made beaming on way more difficult than necessary.  I already tend to joke that beaming on is better than marriage counseling in that it tends to require a great deal of unpleasant communication and cooperation.  Without the raddle cross, I wanted to try warping front to back.  I was going to use the intact warping cross the sley the reed, which in turn would keep things in order while I threaded the heddles, then everything would be spread out appropriately while beaming on.  Mr. Mouse felt it was too risky to try a brand new process on such a long warp (he was probably right), so we used the warping cross to recreate the raddle bundles and slid the lease sticks along the entire length of the warp as we wound on.  Yes this is a terrible pain; no I do not recommend it.

Having successfully cranked the length of the warp onto the back beam, I started threading the heddles.  The good news is that point twill is pretty simple, and it's fast to spot an error.  The bad news is that there just is no fast way to thread 271 ends.  The better news is that I don't believe I made any threading errors!!!

After taking a nice long break (because I was tired of leaning over the loom after all that threading), I made quick work of sleying the reed.  I was pleasantly surprised by how fast and easy this was compared to the threading.  I know that some people sley as they thread, but I prefer to use it as an opportunity to double check the threading.  You can never be too careful!

Tying on is always trivially easy after all the drama of threading and sleying.  I really like how sturdy the apron rods on the Jane loom are.  Compared to the dowels on my rigid heddle loom, these are very thick and strong.

So what does all that work look like?  I'm glad you asked!

Dressed Loom!

I know...Not much to see yet...but just wait until I get weaving!

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