a week of warping

posted in: Blog | 9

I’ve been getting ready for my new class which starts on Tuesday, so all four table looms have been stripped and re-dressed with new sampling warps. On top of that, I have been warping up the Delta for a bit of 8-shaft echo. Quite a big bit.

These are the yarns…

big box of yarn

…and this is the warp:

blue-pink warp before beaming

It took me a looong time to get from that state to this:

blue-pink warp beamed

Not so much because anything went wrong, as because I was worried that it might — so I did everything super super slowly. I had eight warp bouts, each just under 4 inches wide and 20 yards long. I have got very used to handling the dense warp bouts needed for echo weave, but it is amazing how changing just a single variable can provide a shock to an established and smooth-running system.

For instance, I am used to long narrow warp bouts, but this warp was about 4 yards longer than my previous longest for echo weave. I am used to beaming long merino warps and long silk warps but this was a long cotton warp: I’m not sure what my previous longest cotton warp was, but I doubt it was more than 10 yards. I had done a sample warp with this cotton (which is the Venne organic 16/2 Ne) and found it went on very smoothly, but how well would it scale up?

Reasonably well, is the answer. I suspect it would have been easier with a big rugged mill rather than my double warping board set-up, which I have learned is not quite as strong as 20 yards of inelastic yarn! A few pegs have now been re-glued… Also, I wasn’t thrilled by some sections of the yarn, where the plying seemed to have gone a bit awry — one of the cones of pink was a particular culprit in this respect but the other was fine. However, the occasional squiggly bit doesn’t seem to have affected the beaming (well, nothing snagged or snapped) and I can replace a few ends as I go.

(During winding, when I reach a knot or an otherwise dodgy-looking bit of yarn I generally leave it in the warp. Then, when I am weaving, I graft in a replacement for a few inches before returning to the original end. I’ve discovered that I like this much better than either messing about with cutting and tying during the winding or having to darn in replacement ends off the loom. But while I don’t mind making a graft for a few ends over a long warp, if I have to be jumping up and down making substitutions all the time then I do get quite grumpy. And a grumpy me is a very unpleasant thing.)

Anyway, I’ve now progressed from here…

blue-pink warp before threading

to here:

blue-pink threaded and sleyed

So tomorrow I can lash it on and see what I’ve got. I wound 1508 ends and drew up a threading for 1508 ends… and I ran out of ends at the same time as I ran out of pattern so I am quite optimistic. However, during my Day of Threading (aka Thursday) there were definitely moments when my eyes glazed over and I couldn’t quite tell whether my tick marks corresponded to my actual progress. Sadly, my heddle counts were completely to pot. Years ago I marked every 10th heddle with a black marker so that I could quickly count out heddles as needed. Well, I clearly can’t count to 10. I found one group with 13 in it! That is 30% too much heddle: a shocking level of error. And just as shocking is that it has taken me some 8 years to notice. How many more years do you think it will be before I do anything about it?

a week of warping” was posted by Cally on 22 Sept 2013 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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9 Responses

  1. Kate
    | Reply

    Hello Cally, as a beginner with a rigid heddle loom, I have to take my hat off to you! Looks beautiful and obviously your mis-counting hasn’t affected anything critical for 8 years.
    I really enjoy reading your blog.

  2. Catherine Freeland
    | Reply

    What are the weights you’ve attached to the S hooks? It all looks very nifty. I can understand the slight fear of mistakes and very methodical approach having seen the very professional standards to which you work. I’ve seen your scarves last week in some choice outlets!

    Now back to my highland abode after the shoulder to shoulder jostle to view a bit of the ‘tapestry’ at the Scottish Parliament,

    • Cally
      | Reply

      There are just a couple of washers on each hook – not a lot of weight at all. They probably aren’t even necessary as the route around the beam at the bottom of the loom and over the clothes rail provides most of the resistance, but adding the hooks and washers allows me to feel more in control!

  3. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    I see you’ve gone in for muted, subdued colors as usual 🙂
    Can’t wait to see the fabric as you begin weaving! Which of those subtle hues is to be weft – the orange or the green?
    And a question: is the Venne cotton mercerized or un? I can’t seem to tell from their website…

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Wait until I add the orange weft! It’s the customer’s choice, I can assure you…

      The organic cotton is unmercerised. That’s one reason why I was a bit anxious about it – I had visions of great linty blobs knotting the ends together – but it is very smooth and nice to handle.

  4. Kerstin
    | Reply

    Re Counting to 10: ages ago, my workmates claimed that ppl really are (what can the word be – quad… (-rupeds? sorry,,,) ) – they claimed that, when given he choice, normal [computer systems] users tended to use 1, 2, 3, 4 then go on to use 11, 22 and so on. (I can secretly admit to being challenged when having to count to 2.) )
    However, what I don’t understand here is why you (weavers out of Sweden) are so … obsessed? with counting youn heddles. We (weavers in Sweden) just add “a bunch” – if it is too much, we take them off again (or not – I always just leave them), if not enough, we add some extras. (I guess I have been the cause of “problems” in a workshop or other, not having understood to ask the right questions at the beginning… thus having returned “bunches” that weren’t “correct”

    • Cally
      | Reply

      You Swedes must have better looms than we do! Or at least looms that don’t make you think that eating broken glass would be preferable to adding a bunch of heddles…

      • Kerstin
        | Reply

        Yes, we have! (better looms) (once I heard a Swe weaving teacher …postulate (I think I have to call it) that Sweden is the world-wide “homeland of weaving” – thus it follows that our looms are the best, right?)

        Anyway, adding heddles is a breeze with shafts consisting of just two bars. Also, dis/assembling a loom that is just wedged together can be done in under 30 minutes. (I could go on… 😉

        • Cally
          | Reply

          Ah yes, lash a few logs together and start weaving… you rugged Swedes! Seriously, though, I do have a table loom of the simple homemade kind (though it was made in someone else’s home, not mine) and it is far and away the easiest one to add heddles to. Sometimes ‘design’ can get in the way of performance…

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