Tackling My Toika

In spite of that pep talk from my son, in spite of Su Butler’s excellent website with extensive information, including photos (!) about tying up a Toika, and in spite of perusing every forum post about Toikas I could find on Weavolution, I could not get my loom to work.  When I opened a shed I had such a jumble of threads at differing heights, there was no way to throw a shuttle! And I won’t even mention how hard it was to depress the treadles.

This is a warp I made somewhat over a year ago, before I knew for certain that we’d be moving.  As soon as we decided to put our house on the market, the real estate agent we used insisted that I take this loom apart and put it in storage.  She thought my studio would show well as a second family room.  We rented a storage unit and I put both the Toika and my 40″ AVL in it, not to mention lots of other studio equipment.

The project I have on the Toika is 8 shaft boundweave threaded in rosepath at 10 epi.  I’ve used some precious tapestry warp that is hard to get these days, and I put on about 6 yards, 24″ wide to make several boundweave wall hangings.  I’m envisioning a little story board of my family.  For me I have charted out a floor loom, a castle style spinning wheel, a drop spindle, various garden flowers, and maybe a bucket for dye!  For my husband I’ve charted a boat, and anchor, and a car.  My head is brimming with ideas to include our two sons, along with various cats and dogs…. and yet…. I could not get the loom to work.

Today I came close to tears.  It wasn’t pretty….  I became obsessed with talking directly Su Butler because I believed that she was the only person left in the world who could sort this out for me.  Either she had some advice or it was time to get rid of this loom.  Shame faced, I sent her an email.  Within moments she wrote back and recommended we talk on the phone.  Hallelujah!

My Toika works like a dream now! What a relief….

So, what did I do wrong?  Well, first (and probably most importantly) the distance between the bottom of the shafts, the top lamms, bottom lamms and treadles should be about the same.  Not knowing exactly what that meant I had them within 2″ of the same distance apart.  Su said I needed to get all these within a 1/2″ of the same distance.  Bingo!  The other dilemma was my treadle height.  Doing it as described on her website didn’t give me the necessary position when the locking pins were removed. My treadles ended up slanting upwards toward the bench, and that was no fun for trying to depress them!  She was familiar with this little quirk on some looms and explained to me what to do.  Now everything is in great working order!

So, these are not the best looking trees by any stretch….but the loom is working well, and I don’t mind working on my little graphed charts to improve the image.  I’ll give it another go shortly.

8 am next morning…. I have better trees!

I was compensating for my graph paper squares too much in my first attempt and therefore elongating the trees too much.  Now I think I’ve got it!  So I will weave a header and begin the first actual wall hanging!  Can you imagine me doing a happy dance around the loom??….punching the air!  Yippee!

Better looking trees shortly….

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