Friday, April 27, 2007

Routines

It's funny how we get used to our tools and routines built around them, and to think we designed the routines ourselves at one time.

In trying to improve my tension, I've been talking to many weavers, and two things that came out in these discussions have been: a) don't tie on new warp and pull it through reed and heddles, and b) make two crosses when warping, one at each end.

A) is not a big problem on the four-shaft jack loom, but I'm still sitting on the fence on the 16-shaft, because of the time it takes to thread the darned thing. And it's harder to thread my 16-shaft standing in front of the heddles; I'll have to experiment with different positions, including the ways I hold my tongue. But as I start to experiment with silk and alpaca, it will become more important that I have even tension. Soooo... I'm playing this one by ear.

Now b). I knew I automatically made two crosses on my warping mill, but just one on the board, and after about 40 minutes warping beautiful Swedish cottolin in stripes of two taupes for a series of dish towels, I burst out laughing. Look!

Unless I want to get a little creative in the way I make the cross, it's a little hard to do at the bottom just now. I hired Ben the Husband last night to drill three holes and glue in three dowels at the bottom to make life simpler for me, and am keeping my fingers crossed he'll have time to do it this weekend.

Amazing, because I spent the three weeks pondering why I don't make the second cross on this board, instead of how I should do it.

But I have a more interesting discovery.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Meg, If you could stretch to four holes and dowel the cross would not need to be so close to the end peg.
    I have tied on and pulled through my warps for at least 25 years and no problems. Have just made four silk wraps. Have combined threads like wool, angora, cashmere, silk, manmade all in the same warp. I believe its not the tieing on but the rest of the process that could lead to problems i.e. tensioning the warp as you wind, how much build up of thrums on the back roller, what you use to seperate warp threads e.g. sticks, paper etc.
    Can you pick you hit a nerve? Good luck with the experimenting.
    Dianne

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  2. Hi, Dianne, this is one of the places where every weaver's unique practices come to the fore, and anything is good as long as it produces an even tension. So I'm game for anything that will end up working for me.

    Let's see. Thrums on the back beam is somewhere between nil to my longest ever.... about 3 meters of fine merino, but that didn't make much difference, and I use sticks, plenty of them, 2-4 per one rotation of the back beam.

    And where do you tie? I tie on to wherever I cut off the most recent warp (so the thrums get longer and longer the more warps I tie on), but I know at least one weaver who pulls the warp forward after cutting the cloth off, and cuts the thrums as well. She must have left quite a long thrum the first time around, because with every warp cut off, the first lot is cut a little bit as well. I can't be bothered pulling the knots forward through texolv heddles on 16 shafts to do this because, to me, it's another chance to warp the tension (was that a pun?) but I can see this prevents the build up. When I saw this demonstrated, she had quite thick and possibly mixed warp on ... 8-shafts of metal warp, if I remember correctly.

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  3. I tie on from where I've cut, presumably in a straight line, the new warp is straight and the knots a fairly even size, therefore it should roll on evenly.
    The best I have found while doing the silk wraps was a roll of blank newspaper. Put it on the floor at the back of the loom and rolled it with the entire length of the warp. I noticed someone at Randy's workshop used brown wrapping paper roll.
    When I get too much on the back beam I tie the new warp on, pull it through the heddles level with back beam then cut at the knots. Take the old thrums off the back beam, tie overhand knots in new warp and lace it on again.
    Even when we shifted house and had to dismantle the loom I left enough warp in the heddles to be able to tie and lace on without rethreading.

    As you say a personal thing and it works for me but I have seen weavers shudder when I tell what I do so tend to not share much.
    Dianne

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  4. Other than the paper/stick difference, I do much the same with you on the 16-shaft, Dianne. And, yes, I've had people shudder.... Hee hee... I told Ali, who used to teach weaving at Nelson Poly, that perhaps it's the way Ben hold the warp chains that's wrong!!

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  5. Dianne, thanks for the tip on the fourth peg, also. I might try to get a fourth one at the top as well.

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