So often I tell non-weavers a) most of "weaving" is prepping the loom, and b) the vertical warp yarns are either up or down, and weaving is the simple act of sandwiching the horizontal weft yarns between warp yarns.
I thought I'd record how I make a warp, and later how a loom works, to show how time-consuming the prepping phase is, and because this is where the physical process of weaving starts, and also, because of the unique situation with my house, it's the one process that suffered no big change over the years so I don't have to think too much to write abut it. :-D
A warp is a collective name for a set of yarns, individually called warp "ends", measured to a specific length to become the vertical set of yarns attached to the loom while weaving. Before I can make a warp, I need to plan a project to know the specs of the warp. Sometimes I start by designing a project, which includes the overall look of the piece; approximate finished size, (a piece of weaving morphs several times from when it's on the loom under tension, off the loom and relaxed, and especially in case of wool, after the very first wash;) texture, (sometimes called "hand";) and a gazillion other things. Then I select the yarns to best realize the plan. Other times I select the yarns I want to work with based on the fiber content, size, and colors and amounts I have, then plan. Usually these decisions are made together organically.
Only after I have a plan, I know which fiber/size/color yarns goes into the warp, (and a fairly good idea of what yarns to audition for the wefts;) how many ends are required to achieve the finished width; and the length of the warp to accommodate not only the project but a rather large amount of loom waste, portions of warp necessary to weave the project but won't become part of the finished piece.
(EDIT: I swapped the above picture. I don't know what I was thinking but the draft was three times the width of the planned project.)
Lengthwise, although I probably need between 7 and 8 meters of warp, I love to weave samples and I don't want to run out of warp while weaving the project, so I'm going for the maximum length I can on a tool called a warping board, a little over 10 meters. With leftover warp, I'll probably get a shawl, but if not, I usually weave warp-end fabrics in the hope that some day I will actually turn them into something usable. (I have a rather large stash of these warp-end fabrics, though.)
When making multi-colored warps, I cut and tie different colors and keep going, but depending on how I've combined colors, sometimes I make separate warps for each color, then blend them when they go on the loom.
I used to listen to music on the boombox, but these days it's more often podcasts, audiobooks or even videos on the laptop, but you can see I have everything I need, including CDs, an ice cream container of loose strings, and tall cup of milky chai.
The rest is just repeating, not even rinsing. The pegs on the warping board may fill up and I may need to split one warp into two "chains" but otherwise, I keep winding and counting. I like to make a warp within the same day so the tension remains the same, but light is the most important element and as I get older I started to have difficulties seeing, (i.e. counting accurately,) under artificial light. If it is a big warp, say 1600 ends, I have to do this over a couple of days because, again, I start to make counting mistakes.
OK, I must get back to winding. More in the life of a warp to come, though.