Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sabina Weaves Again

It took me two days, which is actually something of a record for me, to warp the Budget Bamboo Shawl onto the newly restored Sabina loom.  The shawl project was featured in the November/December 2009 issue of Handwoven magazine.  Made from Aunt Lydia's Bamboo Crochet Thread, it's an inexpensive project with a beautiful hand and and elegant look.  I had measured out about a third of the warp and  sleyed it into the 36" Schacht Standard 4-harness loom. For some reason - probably my dislike of warping - I abandoned the project. I forgot to knot the sleyed warp. I should know better.

When the kittens came to live with us, they quickly found the unprotected warp.  One morning I woke to find all of it on the floor below the loom. Bad kitties! I thought about trashing the warp, but decided to carefully stabilize it and put it aside. I brought it out again to warp onto the Sabina. It took a little combing and straightening to get the tangles out, but I got it successfully warped onto the Sabina along with the rest of the threads.

Lace Shawl warped onto the Sabina
Once I got going, threading and tying up the loom really didn't take all that long.  The lace is a  rhythmic pattern that's easy to learn.  The only downside is that every other thread must thread into the first harness, so you can group no more than two threads at a time to thread.  In, for example, a twill, you can group four threads at a time.

I have to admit, I was tentative throwing the first shots to spread the warp. I guess I was afraid the old loom would shatter into pieces or something. The fishing swivels we used for connecting the tie-up cords to the harness cords did have some problems.  The one controlling the first harness - the one with half of the warp threads, did break.  I don't know if it was under too much pressure or if it was weak, but break it did.  It's rather dramatic when you have a harness raised and you hear a POP and it suddenly drops.  But we replaced the swivel and, thus far, the new one seems to be working okay.

Starting the Shawl
The shawl is woven in blocks of Atwater-Bronson lace, a loom-controlled openwork weave. The designer planned alternating blocks of lace, but liked the center and two border blocks in lace, separated by tabby blocks so much that she wove the entire shawl that way. I chose to weave four repeats that way, four repeats of the lace/tabby blocks reversed, and then weave the shawl in the original configuration until the end when I'll repeat the reverse/original border.

There are a few things I've noticed with the Sabina. The weaving area between the beater and the breast beam is much larger than I'm accustomed to, so I have to reach further to throw the shuttle.  Interesting! However, I don't have to wind the cloth off quite as often. The beater can accomodate a 45" reed, so it's much larger and being made of cherry, much heavier than I'm accustomed to. I have to be careful not to pack the weft down too hard.

But it is wonderful to see the old girl weaving again. I wonder what she thinks, back to doing what she was meant to do.


  1. Debbie - I know nothing about weaving but your post was lovely and made me feel l Knew something. Glad to have you over at Bella Creations...let's see what we can weave together with yarn and paper :)

  2. Hey there! Glad you enjoyed the post. Much of what I've done on this blog reflects my obsession with fiber arts, but there's some art stuff hidden away here and there! My husband spent weeks restoring this antique loom for me. It's always good to see an antique tool back in service again and going strong.

  3. Your weaving is beautiful! Hopping over from Bella to become your newest follower :)

  4. Hi, Jan! Thanks so much! I've been under the weather for a couple of weeks. I'm finally feeling ready to get back to all my activities.

  5. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading about your Sabina Loom. My mother weaving on her Sabina remain a wonderful and lasting memory. I still have the loom but don't use it. It needs to go to a good home so that will be my next "project". Thanks for the memory!

  6. You're very welcome, Elizabeth! I had never seen a Sabina before this one and it delights me to know that mine brought memories back to you.