I spent a quiet afternoon in my studio today, making progress on the woven White Scarf project. For those who missed it, in my historical recreation group, folks who are Very Very Good at rapier fighting are allowed to wear a white scarf on their shoulder. I got a commission for a hand woven one, and am taking this opportunity to make a half a dozen of them. I did the math and planning part of the project last night, which means today I got to start to play with the string. First up, I had to measure out 124 threads, all 8 yards long, in a way that wasn't going to get them tangled up. To accomplish this, I have a warping mill. I wind around and around it, back and forth, following a guide string that is just the right length.
When I take the thread off of the warping mill, I chain it up so that the threads stay under control and won't tangle. Then I wrap the warp chain around the front breast beam of the loom to keep it in place during the next part.
Next up is sleying each thread through the reed of the loom. The reed spaces the threads out to the proper width. When I was winding the threads on my warping mill, at one end I did a figure 8 maneuver around a couple of pegs, to give me something called the warping cross. When I sley the reed, I transfer that cross to the hand that is holding the thread. Then I pick the threads one by one from the top of that X to go through the reed. Since they are in that X, I can pick them off in the exact order that I wound them around the warping mill. It is another trick to make sure that the threads don't become a tangled mess.
After I've sleyed the reed, each individual thread gets put through its own heddle. The heddles control when each thread rises up in the weaving process.
So, you can see the warp around the breast beam, going through the reed, and then through the heddles.
The next step will be to pull the warp through and wind it around the back beam. But I'm out of time today, so that part of the process will have to wait. More pictures later!