Friday, 21 November 2008

Getting a warp onto the loom

Many thanks to Peg for the series of posts she has written this month showing how she prepares her loom for weaving.

The first one she wrote, on 3rd November gave me an idea. Peg uses a table behind her loom. When I first read this it slipped into the back of my mind. When I came to put a warp on my own loom last weekend, and I was thinking through the process, I remembered the table. So much easier than crawling around on the floor as I have done before now. But I don't have a handy little table.

After a bit of thought; loom bench - too low, wallpaper past table - too big, buy a new table - hmm, no; I looked around and saw my ironing board - perfect!
Peg also uses two wooden bars the length of the loom to hold the rod and lease sticks level. This won't work for my loom, but a solid support for the lease sticks is a big advantage, so I came up with this:
That cloth wrapped "table" is a combination of the cloth beam (the one that lifts woven cloth above my knees when I'm weaving) and a large raddle. I wrapped it to stop any thread groups dropping through the raddle gaps.

These new ideas saved lots of time and back ache (thanks for that, Peg!).

Here's the sequence I went through to get my warp on the loom.

First, end of the back apron is on the warp board under the warp, unattached at this stage is the apron rod threaded through the ends of the warp groups.

The warp groups were then spread in the raddle (clamped to the back beam)...
... and a peice of string tied along the top of the raddle pins to retain the warp in the raddle. I passed the warp forwards onto my "table" the other side of the back beam.

Then it was easy to thread the lease sticks thorough the carefully tied thread groups (above).

To tie the apron rod with the warp ends onto the back apron, I used my trusty little Ashford shuttle. This is just right for giving even length ties. See the next two pictures for how the rod at the end of the cloth is bottom of the pile, on top of it I place the rod with the warp, then the shuttle placed on top and a tie made of thick linen warp thread. I use bows because they hold tight but are quick to undo.
Moving to the front of the loom I was able to pick up my warp chains from the "table" and draw them forwards for weighting in front of the front beam while winding-on.
This is a close up of the raddle I was using on the back beam. After the comments on my last post about setting up the loom, I decided to make a new raddle with pins at 1/4 inch.
But I had tied the warp in 1/2 inch groups on the warp board. To begin with I spaced it in every other section, later when there was tension on the warp (with the chains weighted for winding-on) I split the groups into half.
This gave the most beautiful evenly spread warp for winding on.
Now for something different. When I visited my friend at Bolton Art Studios a few weeks ago, I bought (in aid of Studio funds) some odds and ends that had come from Bolton University who are very sadly giving up teaching weaving.

Here are some of the goodies, three old Dryad rigid heddles, a sley hook and a couple of threading hooks:
The little threading hooks are comfortable to hold and easy to use. Definitely an improvement on the 3mm crochet hook I was using before.

When sleying the reed, with it resting in front of the heddles, supported on carboard boxes on the sides of the loom, it occured to me an advantage of working this way is being able to see easily how many threads you have pulled through each reed section...
... and having a clear view back to the heddles to help avoid crossed threads between heddles and reed.
I say help avoid, because I still managed a few crossed threads. (!)

While tying-on the warp to the front apron, I made use of the new posts at the side of my loom (and more linen warp thread).
I used the larks head knots that I prefer but I have noted from Peg's writing that this doesn't work well with slippery silk threads, so when I get to weaving silk I shall try to remember that.
Related posts:

Colours and thoughts on looms
Setting up for colour and weave
Along the way


Peg in South Carolina said...

Glad I got you thinking about how to make the warping process easier. Now a question---how, how, how did you get those nails in your new raddle so perfectly straight?!?!? When I next use my 1/4" space raddle I shall have to photograph it. The nails are really dreadful. But it works..........

Dorothy said...

The honest truth Peg is I don't know how the nails went in straight, it's much better than the last one I made. Maybe practice is the secret? I think one of the things to get right is how you look at the pins, because if you stand in the wrong place they can look like they are straight when they are not.

Anonymous said...

Lovely & neat. I love law & order on a loom, and lately a few of my students laughed when I got them to gather around a students loom to admire her perfect cross! They may laugh but I still admire the 'perfectness' (if that's a word) of winding on a perfect warp.
Who is nursing a broken ankle :o(

deborahbee said...

I have just struggled with my first thin,shiny warp.I wish I had read this post carefully before i began. Sleying the reed on the horizontl looks a brilliant idea, and I will warp in bouts next time.Thank you for your great teaching posts !