After reading up on the traditional techniques of sprang I just had to give it a try. I started by reading through the various books in my personal library, various websites, and all of the free how-to documents I could find. I decided to challenged myself to only use things I could find around the house. The goal was just to make a small sample piece and, of course, to see if I could actually make sprang.
These are the tools I found around the house to use in making the sample. A board to serve as the frame, strong twine, yarn, long knitting needles, chopsticks, and a crochet hook.
Using the knitting needles as the warp beams, I used a slipknot to tie them to each other and secured them to the frame by tying then in the middle to make two continuous loops. I found it hard to get the warp beams perfectly straight and as you’ll see in other pictures they got even more uneven as time went on.
I had trouble with the tension on the twine and finally realized that I could tie the strings in the back to tighten the twine in the front. After this step I had no problem with tension on the frame
I then put on the warp threads making sure not to cross the threads and left long tails at each end. This of course is when I realized the downfall of working on a solid background; so I do not recommend anyone try that. It is also important that the warp threads get wrapped on in the same direction every time you wrap and that when you’ve finished there are an even number of warps at both ends.
After getting the warp threaded I had to work on the tension. At first I attempted to adjust from left to right but found this to be pretty impossible to maintain. So instead I tired going from the center out and found this method was much easier. I finished off by securing the warp on the lower beam.
You will notice an open area between the front and back threads. This is the shed and you will need to maintain that open area with a small dowel or in my case a chopstick.
So here are four rows done. I read up on some basic patterns and decided to try a really easy diamond pattern. You just need to look at the yarn in groups of two, first twisting each group twice with each other then breaking the pairs up and twisting them with the neighbors twice. That comes out to a pattern of twice twisted 1:2 and twice twisted 2:1 repeat. If you are wondering about the side warps they become floating warps on each end. If that is confusing, don’t worry, there are a lot of really great websites that explain it a lot better than I do.
After I finished this project I read something about twisting front to back verses back to front. I admit I don’t remember which was which but through trial and error I did find that each row required a different twist.
After each twist was completed I inserted one of the chopsticks in the open shed to hold the twist and worked across the row in this manner. When working on the next row you need to leave the chopstick in and use the second chopstick to hold the new twists. Only when you are completely finished with the second stick should you remove the first stick or else loose all your beautiful twisting.
After taking this picture I realized that I had made some mistakes in the twisting leaving a large hole in the work on the left. So… after undoing the work and retwisting I was finally on a roll.
Here is the sample with all the twisting done. This little 8 inch piece took me about 45 minutes including correcting mistakes. Once I couldn’t twist anymore I used the crochet hook to pull a scrap piece of thread through the shed and removed the chopsticks for the final time. I decided not to tie that off until the piece was off the loom to make sure the tension was right. Then I pulled out the crochet hook again and used that on each end to interlace, or single crochet, the warps at each warp beam. I know this looks odd but once you take it off the loom it works itself into the pattern.
Here it is off the loom. Note the single crochet lines top and bottom and the holder thread in the middle.
Everything is tied off and all the ends are cut and I have the sample. I could certainly seeing trying this on a larger scale and making a shopping bag.