Wednesday, December 6, 2006

How I Make a Shawl - Part 2: Measuring the Warp

The work of a weaver, the preparation, the actual weaving, and the finishing, is linear; that is, the work consists of a series of relatively simple tasks, but each step needs to be done in sequence.

After I decided to use three colors in the warp, I measured the 498 warp threads on the warping board, by wounding a single warp thread at a time around all the pegs on the board; this way I would get roughly eight meters of warp, which should give me plenty to sample and two or three shawls. In my house, I have a wall-mounted heater at just the right height in the hallway, so I propped the warping board on it. Behind me to the right is the stairway, and I placed the cones of yarn on different steps; this way, the yarn is pulled straight up off the cones, over the railing, and onto the board, so the cones didn't topple or dance around.

As the warp threads accumulated, for the first time I saw the exact proportion of the yarns in the exact order they would be set up on the loom. Above is the busier half of the warp threads.

This measuring process took me about 90 minutes, with long breaks and frequent checking and rechecking and lots of counting.


  1. do you mark every so many threads with a thread of a contrasting color to make counting easier? or recounting anyway?

    I cannot imagine working with so many threads at once.

    what is the thread gauge or weight?

  2. It's what we in New Zealand call 110/2 which is roughly 2/16 or 2/17 in the international (??) measurement. I use any old thrum, of which I had tons, as a counter, but from time to time and in the end, I count every end, Dana.


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