Tuesday 19 January 2010

Additional information about weaving a handspun scarf.

Deborahbee left a comment on my post Handwoven Scarf, from the wool to the finish that I think deserves a detailed response:

I want to use some 2 ply handspun but am nervous of holding the tension.I have 6 ends on the warping mill and then lost confidence. I am going to re read your posts seeking tips.

I think you are probably finding, just as I did, that handspun wool yarn feels different to the commercial yarns I am used to. My yarn was spun semi-worstead style, but still had significant bounce in it (although less than if I had used rolags and spun woollen style).

I found winding the warp interesting, because my yarn was springy I started off winding tight, stretching the yarn, then realised this might not be a good idea. Maybe this is the stage you are at, Deborahbee?

The consequence of this was that the first few bouts of warp were wound a bit tighter and ended up shorter than the the last couple.

The difference evened out as I wound the warp onto the loom, a light weight on the warp ends (two one pint milk cartons, one-third full, tied on with a piece of linen yarn and a simple slip knot) and lease sticks made sure of even tension on the beam and the slack collected in from of the lease sticks. (I had a similar experience of seeing the tension even out at the lease sticks when I wove with linen!).

For weaving, the tension on the loom was probably the loosest I've ever woven with, and I was interested to find that the edges did not draw in and for the first time I wove an even width without a temple.

There were slight variations in the width along the length of the finished scarf, I put this down to irregularities in the handspun wool.

So thoughts on winding a handspun wool warp:
  • concentrate carefully on just wrapping the wool around your warp board or warping mill without stretching it,
  • a gentle weight on the yarn as you wind on and using lease sticks should even out any differences,
  • the yarn is very forgiving, it is less important than with linen or cotton to have exactly even tension on all warp ends, as good as you can get it is going to be good enough, so don't fuss indefinitely,
  • give it a go!

Comments from other people's experiences of preparing a handspun warp will be most welcome!