Saturday, June 3, 2017

Warping the loom for the purple ruanas

I've been working this week on getting my purple warp onto the loom. I do a front-to-back method on this particular loom, just because it is more comfortable to sit on the floor with the back beam off to thread the heddles. So, in the above picture the warp has gone first through the reed to spread it to the proper width, and then each thread went through its individual heddle, which controls when it is raised and lowered.

Once through the heddles, I tied the warp onto the back apron rod.
And then? I set up my home made warping trapeze. I threw the warp chains up and over that top beam, and weighted them down where they dangled down. That gave me even tension when I wound the warp around the back warp beam. This warp went on slick as a whistle! I usually get more tangles and headaches, but not this time.
Around and around the back beam it went. I put one or two sticks on for each revolution, to keep the thread from burrowing down into previous layers as it built up. That would mess with the weaving tension, as some threads would end up shorter than others.
All wound on! I'm loving the way the colors are blending from light to dark.
Then I tied onto the front apron rod, and wove my first bit. I weave a test stripe of each weft color that I'm contemplating. That lets me (and my customers) see how the colors interact with each other in real life. And, by the time I'm done with these first several inches, any initial tension bobbles are evened out, and the threads have drawn in to their weaving width.

So, which color weft is your favorite? From the knots over, the options are a dark pink, dark blue, grey, purple, red, black, and light blue. I'm weaving three ruanas, and each one will get one solid color for the weft. Each one will have a different color.
The gentleman who commissioned this weaving looked them all over, and then asked if I had a silver instead. I have a light grey, so I wove one more test strip to show him. He gave his thumbs up. The lady who has put dibs on the second of the ruanas chose the purple for hers. So, unless someone speaks up to reserve the third garment, I get to choose the third weft color. I'm leaning toward the black, but I also like the dark blue, and the dark pink. Hmmmm..... What do you think??

And so you can visualize what I'm talking about, here's me modeling one of the previous batch of ruanas at the Grand Canyon last weekend.


  1. I love how you bring us along with your process! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for coming along for the ride, Dana!