Geeking Out: Knots

Tying onto the front apron rod is often a pain point for new weavers. All knots take some getting used to. The type of apron rod you have and what you are trying to accomplish can often dictate which knot you favor. Here is a round up of the three most popular knots weavers use to tie onto their apron rod—the square knot, the weaver’s version of the surgeon’s knot, and lashing.

Square Knot

As a teacher, I start new weavers with the square knot. Soft spots are bound to appear on your first couple of warps, and I find it is an easy knot to readjust after you start weaving, and the least likely to slip. You can spot the soft spots in your header if the fell line, the last woven pick, has a slight wave. If you see this, pat your warp with a flat hand and you are likely to feel a slight soft spot where the bubble appears. To fix it, you don’t have to re-tention the entire warp. Untie the first part of the knot of the offending bundle and slightly tighten it until the weft straightens,  then retie.

 

Surgeon’s Knot

The surgeon’s knot is a cousin to the square knot. This knot is worked by twisting the yarn not once, but twice, when you initially secure the yarn to the rod. The advantage of this knot is that you don’t have to tie the second part of the square knot, making removal easier. As with the square knots, you can also make micro adjustments with this knot after your weaving is underway.

To the left is a surgeon’s knot, to the right, a square knot.

This knot is popular among floor loom weavers and tends to be stickiest when securing fine yarns to the apron rod. Rigid-heddle weavers tend to use chunkier yarns and this knot can slip when cranking on your tension. I’ve seen this happen mostly with yarns ranging from worsted to super bulky, particularly those that are slick like rayon or inelastic like linen.

For those who have a removable apron rod, both the square knot and the surgeon’s knot are easiest to remove by slipping the rod off first, and then untying.

Lashing

Lashing is poplar among weavers who have fixed or flat apron rods. It also reduces the amount of loom waste. If you are weaving something that doesn’t require fringe, it is a good option.  I find it is a little more challenging to make those micro adjustments once your weaving is underway.

 

Heddles Up!

Liz