Friday, March 24, 2006

Step Three or Warping the loom

So here we are putting the warp on the loom. Despite the word "warp"( as in "Warp speed, number one"), this is slow going. The first thing that you need to do is put your lease sticks in your cross. This is done before attaching the warp to the loom. The lease sticks are the two sticks that are hanging off the back of the loom that are threaded through the warp.

They act to hold your cross in place so that your yarns don't get out of order. I wove once with out of order yarns. It is not an exercise that I want to repeat.

At the end of your warp, there is a loop. This is where the yarns are attached to the loom. The larger roller bar is called the back beam and this is what you wind the warp on. Attached to the back beam by either strong string or a piece of fabric (called the apron) is,in this case, a dowel (but it can be metal) This dowel goes through the loop on your warp.
Are you confused yet? Let's just throw a few more terms at you then. The "raddle" is the piece of wood that has the nails on it. This is used to spread the warp and keep it spread while you wind it on. The white string on the raddle is just to keep all of the yarns in their little spaces. Sometimes things happen and the yarns will come out of their space if you don't tie them in. Not as bad as somethings that can happen while warping , but I hate to do a job twice if I don't have to. The colourful paper( see the first picture) is an old calendar that I use to put on inbetween the warp as it goes around the back beam. This is necessary because tension is VERY important in weaving. You want all of the yarns on the loom to be stretched the same amount and under the same tension. Even the difference of a few millimeters as yarns slip between each other if you don't separate them with paper,or sometimes fabric, make a difference. Bad tension is BADBADBAD. As you wind on, you have to "strum and stroke" the warp. Get your minds out of the gutter children. This is to untangle the warp below the lease sticks. Here is one of the places where warping is slow. Especially if your warp is either very slippery, like reeled silk, or very sticky, like the merino that I am using. As you slowly wind on, you must make sure that the tension is even.

Yeah! More than half way now. You can really see how the lease sticks sort out the yarns from the mess that is below them into the neat and tidy order above them.

Once the warp is wound on, you need to thread it through the "heddles". The heddles are distributed on 4 "harnesses". The heddles are those white string things to the right. The harnesses are the wood and metal frames that hold the heddles.There is an eye in each heddle and through these eyes go your warp. One warp thread per eye. Did I mention that my warp has 446 threads? Here is another reason that weaving is time consuming. And another reason that I usually put more then one project at a time. Could you imagine trying to pick each piece of yarn through each eye? Neither could I. Neither could someone a long time ago, so they invented.....

the heddle hook. Kind of reminiscent of an instrument of backroom abortions,eh? Shudder. Depending on what order you pull the yarns through the heddles in the harnesses, you can create different patterns. Nuff said about that. I could go on but either your head would start to hurt, or you would fall asleep.

Here I am using the heddle hook. You can easily see how the hook can be of great assistance.

Elapsed time to this point... about 6 -6.5 hours. I am about 1/8 of the way through threading my warp. Next stop the reed. Which I may not get to until much later. Hubby picked up a flu bug and it is nasty. I am expecting it to hit us all. I am not looking forward to it.

Thanks for reading and....Any questions?


Anonymous said...

Wow!how cool is that! Hope u don't get the flu, we had it here and well you'll soon find out...

Diana said...

OMG, that seems so difficult. And I thought weaving was not complicated. Think again!