Hi friends! I’m continuing my posts on different weaving tools. Today I’m going to talk about the shed stick, or weaving sword. As I’ve said before some tools may not be completely necessary, however they do make weaving easier and quicker. I’ve also found that one weaver might rely heavily on a certain weaving tool that another weaver never uses, so these tools also are dependent on your style and what makes you most comfortable.
For those who are not aware, the shed in a weave is the gap that occurs when you separate your warp threads into upper and lower. Creating a shed helps speed up weaving because it allows you to easily pass your weft thread between the warp threads. There are many different ways to create a shed in your warp threads, but the one item I find helpful for lap looms is using a shed stick to do this.
A shed stick is a flat piece of wood that you would weave between your warp threads, as if you were creating a plain weave. Once your shed stick is woven across your warp, you then turn the stick so that it is vertical. This action separates the warps into an upper and lower grouping, creating the shed between your warp threads. With the shed created you pass your weft thread through. Then you would lay your shed stick back in the horizontal position to “close” your warp threads. On the return pass you would then just weave your weft across as normal. Then open the shed again on the way back, by turning your shed stick vertical. This is the down side to the shed stick, it really only creates a shed for one way, unless you want to keep alternating how you have it woven through. However, with the shed stick woven just one way, it still helps you save some time.
An alternative to purchasing a shed stick is using a flat ruler. I like to use a metal rule I own when I need to create a shed in my weaves because it is very flat and I can easily weave it between the warps. I also recommend if you are going to use a ruler or other flat object as a shed stick, make sure the ends are not sharp, because turning it vertical against your warp threads could damage them.
Personally I have found that if I’m doing a lot of plain weave rows across my weave, then I will use the shed stick. However, if I’m making a lot of small shapes then I don’t really use it. But as I said before it’s good to try it out and see how you feel about the tool and if it helps you or not.
If you missed it, I have also done a write up on the tapestry beater.
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