Continuous Strand Weaving on the Rectangle
Explanation of my pin arrangement discovery Photo 1 below shows how my looms, or a loom made with my plan, will result in the last single strand woven having an open path just right for this last yarn. With just enough pins to make the turns and a path for the yarn from one corner to the other. Just as in triangle CSW, the final strand is what locks in the whole weaving. The last strand here was done in a pink yarn to show this. I've had these samples for a few years. Business is slow so maybe I need to promote myself. I'm not sure I was always able to explain this adequately. Sometimes a picture is all it takes. This outcome is a function of the pin arrangement, not the weaving method. Do it yourselfers can find the plan further down on this page. It is not advanced mathematics - you can do it by counting pins and using basic addition.
Recently I've seen questions on the Yahoo triloom group; people wondering why their Spriggs adjustable rectangle loom didn't have this same result. I answered one question in private, didn't want to criticize another loom maker on the group. Not nice. Then there was a reply from a company representative explaining why there couldn't be such a result and still have all the multiple adjustments. So if she can talk about it, why not me? Photo below shows a typical finish to a rectangle weaving you would get using one of their looms. As you can see, there are places where there is not space for a single yarn, other places where you have to fill in one or more yarns. By the way, my looms can be said to be 'adjustable' too, just not in the same pinwheel style as Spriggs' looms. 'Modular' to me means the same thing.
Weaving methods for continuous strand weaving on the rectangle
Spriggs (Hillcreek Fiber Studio) promotes a left-return weaving method. She sells a video on how to start this. I think it is cumbersome to have to always be watching how you twist a loop to avoid a glitch. However, if you follow my instructions for pin arrangement, you can make a loom that will get you a perfect result with this weaving method. I have a file down on this page on how to start the left-return method. I could make a rectangle loom to adjust for this weaving method, getting you that same end result shown in Photo 1 above. But save yourself trouble and don't bother with the left return idea.
Or you could use the right-return method that I like. It is more relaxing to just weave with the hook the same way through each and every 'square' of the rectangle. I now make my looms with only the setting for a perfect right-return continuous weave. This matches the weaving instructions I include with each loom. A pdf file can be downloaded from this page to show you how to do the right-return method of continuous strand weaving on a rectangle. Using this method on another manufacturer's looms (Spriggs for example), will not necessarily improve your results, as it is the pin arrangement that counts.
Any discoveries I made were by trial and error. I am good at very basic math and using my calculator for some things, but no advanced math is even relevant here.
Also called Continuous Yarn Weaving, Continuous Loop Weaving. Weaving is done on a pin-frame rectangle loom with a length that is an approximate multiple of the width. The yarn is pulled from a ball or skein, warping is done as the weaving progresses. CSW is done on triangle, square, and rectangle looms. It is just slightly more complex on the rectangle. If you learn CSW on the triangle, you can master the rectangle also. The concept is the same with a rectangle, each new loop interlocks the previous loop, so the edges of the new fabric are secure when taken off the loom. You can weave long scarves or shawls without the expensive and bulky floor looms. The sides of the weaving come out perfectly straight; and yes, it is 'real' weaving IMHO.
The good news is that there are only 2 basic ways you can do this type of weaving on a rectangle - The left-return method promoted in a video by some fiber studios for their looms, and the right-return method that I use on my modular rectangle looms. What are the differences you ask?
My method uses a rectangle one pin longer than the left-return method. You can see why; in the left return style, the yarn would turn 180 degrees to the left around the upper right corner pin, or counter clockwise on an even-squared rectangle. This uses one less pin to get a 'perfect final weaving path' than my right return method, which has the yarn turning 180 degrees around the upper right corner pin to the right, or clockwise on an even-squared rectangle. This uses one more pin just to return to the starting corner. Using either method works out on my looms, having an extra pin or two at the end with the left-return method is not a problem. If you buy any other loom I am aware of, you are going to have these extra pins anyway. The weaving evens out when taken off the loom.
The other difference between the two weaving methods is in the left return CSW method you have to twist the loop a certain way after weaving out of a square to avoid a glitch. My right-return method doesn't require you to watch for this. When changing yarn or colors, this is done the same way with both methods, at the left or starting end of the loom where the yarn ends are tied outside a pin and can become part of a fringe. Either method makes the same product and has the same design possibilities. My 'formula', which is more like a chart, works for rectangles any length or width you want to make them, and can be slightly modified to be 'perfect' for either weaving method. The photo above shows a weaving done with the left-return method as a test, with the loom set just for that method. You still get that open weaving path for the last single strand. I prefer my method but the result is just as nice with either method. My looms can be made to allow set-up for either method, but as of fall 2013, I am making the looms to be perfect for the right-return method. To This leaves out the extra mounting holes and helps to keep things simple. I have had good reports of people using my weaving instructions and there is no reason to confuse the issue by adding these other settings to my looms, or offering alternative ways to weave. That is, unless someone requests them.
Stand or not to stand. I like using a rectangle loom laying flat on a table or bed. Since the loom is relatively narrow, you can reach across it while it is laying flat. On a large triangle loom, this is not possible without the loom being held vertically. I found that sitting in a roller office chair made it easy to roll back and forth alongside the loom laying on a bed 32 inches high.
Below are charts to help you figure pin arrangement for continuous strand weaving on the rectangle. You could shorten the total rectangle length by one pin, if you want the ideal pin arrangement for the left return method only. Initial yarn turning points are the same for either weaving method. If you made a rectangle for the longer, right return method following the formula, you could still do the left return weaving with it but with a few pins left over. By the way, this is the same result you get anyway from the most widely sold factory adjustable rectangle loom.
The final weaving strand that finishes the weaving has a path (hook is pointing there) zig-zagging all the way down the loom, with an empty pin at each turning point. This feature is not available on other loom brands that I know of. This is a function of the loom pin arrangement, not the weaving method. It is possible with any CSW method for rectangles.
The worksheet below is all you need to figure the ideal rectangle corner pin settings for CSW on a rectangle. I am including it here as it might help to a DIY person. I make my calculations in my shop by doing the same thing as below but add the numbers in a column on a piece of scrap paper. Pin #1 is at the left end of the rectangle. The left chart is a calculation for a 6 square rectangle, 40 pins in width. The rectangle would be 40 x 238 pins. A shorter 'perfect' rectangle would be 40 pins by 199 and so on. The 40 x 40 would be a square, not a rectangle. Note: always count the corner pin of a rectangle when counting the pins in the width, and again when counting the pins in the length. In other words, count the pins on a rectangle when it is assembled, and count the corner pin again for the width, even though you counted it for the length.
Below is a sample of the turning points calculation for the same rectangle. There are 5 turning points in a 6-square rectangle. Start in the upper left corner of your loom, go down and to the right to the first turning point, pin #40. Then up and to the right to the second turning point and so on. Zig-zag between the remaining turning points and the far corner pin of the loom, where you make your 180 degree turn.
I am putting this out to get my rectangle pin arrangement and the right-return CSW method in wider use. It would be simpler if there was only one way to continuous strand weave on a rectangle but that is not the case. Unless you want it to be for you.
149.3 KB This info might interest someone learning about rectangle weaving.
0.7 MB I made this page while experimenting with pin spacing and scarves.