Monday, June 19, 2017

Warping the loom for a baby wrap

I'm making progress on getting the loom all warped up for the next batch of baby wraps. I'm working a bit each day, so I make sure I can get these completed and out to their new owners before I take off for vacation/family reunion in July. As I'm working, I'm remembering how much I like working with this yarn. It is 10/2 mercerized Valley cotton from Webs, and is just lovely and shiny slipping through my hands.

So, first up is the calculation part. I remember back in high school deciding that I'd never use math again, so I didn't have to worry about it. Boy was I wrong. Weaving is really just visible math. You've got to figure out how many threads, of what colors, at what length to get the effect you want. So each project sees me with pencil, paper, and a calculator in hand.

Then it is time to measure out the threads. I create the gradation of color as I go along, by changing colors every 2-4 threads. That makes for a lot of cutting and tying knots. I've tried other methods, but ended up with nasty tangles when I tried to get the warp onto the loom. This takes me a bit of extra time, but I like the results better.
I'm putting on 21 yards of warp this time around. That gives me enough for 3 five meter baby wraps. One for my mama client, one for the new testing regulations, and one more sister wrap. My client gets first dibs on the sister, so we'll see whether or not it ends up on the open market or not.
There! The warp is all measured out, and the color changes 'programmed' in.
Next up, I work on getting the warp onto the loom. I'm warping front to back, so my first step is to sley the reed. Or, in other words, I hook the threads through the slotted piece of metal at the front of the loom. That spreads the threads to a nice even width. Also? I learned that sley and slay are from the same Old English root word slea, meaning 'to strike'. I'll use the reed, which used to be called the sley, to beat or strike the weft threads into place in the weaving process. Words are neat.
From there, the threads each get their own heddle, which will control when it raises and lowers in the weaving process. 760 threads, hooked one by one by one...
Once they're all through, the end of the warp gets tied onto the back apron rod of the loom.
There! Through the reed, through the heddles, and tied on. I love this part. This is where I get my first real glimpse to see how well the color blending worked out. I'm rather pleased by this one.
My client chose pretty colors, didn't she?

Today's job will be to wind all 21 yards back onto the back warp beam of the loom, to store it until it is ready to be woven. This is a fiddly bit, because it needs to be under perfectly even tension. More later, after I get that part done. But I'm making progress!


  1. The colors are AMAZING. And only another weaver knows how much work goes into winding that warp and changing colors that often......will you use 10/2 as weft as well???

    1. *happy grin* Thank you! That means a lot coming from someone whose work I admire. :)

      Yes, I'll use 10/2 for the weft as well. It gives a nice, sturdy, but flexible fabric when it is finished. My client mama had another 10/2 plain weave wrap I did, and specifically came back to me to order another one because she likes the way it works for her that much.