I was having a "wee little bit o' trouble" with my handspun warp. The fibers were just hairy enough that they stuck together! So, I changed from a 20 ends per inch threading through the reed to 10. That put one end through each slot in the reed. But I was still having trouble. When I lifted each shaft by itself I got a decent shed. When I lifted two together I got 1" tops and the resting threads went slack. Ick.
My weaving group at yahoo came up with some good suggestions on how to improve the shed. But the real solution came from another pair of eyes.
I had called my husband over so he could have a good laugh with me. I had made some adjustments to the warp, forgot to put the front palls back on the ratchet and tried to weave. The warp threads went into a wild dance of semi-organized chaos! While we laughed together, he peeked at the back of the loom and said, "Why did you take the back beam out?"
???! This was one of those wonderful moments where you realize you didn't plug the dumb appliance in! I hadn't warped the loom correctly! The warp was going directly from the back apron to the heddles.
In retrospect, I know how this happened. This is the first time I used a dummy warp. When I tied my handspun warp to the dummy warp, I forgot to put the dummy over the back beam.
Now I know.
I was so happy to discover (1) that my loom worked just fine and (2) real 4" sheds that I sang my way to the end of the warp. The scarf/shawl is soaking now as I type.
Here's a shot of the weaving in progress.