Lessons Learned, Decisions Made

Yesterday afternoon I finished making a new warp for my countermarche loom, made of 8/4 cotton rug warp, nine colors in a repeating pattern across the width of the warp, 29″ wide.

I have two warping boards, one made by my husband 27 years ago when I purchased my first loom, and one I bought used from another weaver because it was wider and a longer warp could be made on it. I also have a warping mill, also bought used.

My first mistake was making this warp on a warping board instead of on a warping mill. When I make a warp I try not pull on the threads, they slide through my hands and onto the pegs, with only the drag as it comes off the spool and through two “eyelets” on the warp/cone holder. I make my warps in two halves because of the center cords coming down from the upper jacks on my Glimakra countermarche looms. Twice I’ve made warps in quarters when I thought there were going to be too many threads for the warp or mill.

I noticed about 2/3 of the way through the first half of the warp that a peg was pulling in a bit. After looking at all the pegs where were a couple others doing the same thing. Oh No! The pegs on this particular warping board were very loose from the beginning. To help them fit tighter, I put pieces of string across the holes before inserting the pegs, suggested by a weaving friend who thought this would help. On a warp this wide and long it didn’t matter. Pegs were moving in and I knew this was a disaster before the first half of the warp left the board. The length and width of the warp magnified the problem.

I knew if I switched to the warping mill, the second half would be better, but choke ties would never be in the same places on both halves. I feel having choke ties in the same place on each half of the warp makes it much easier for the person holding the warp halves.

After removing the first half of the warp, I worked on tightening up the pegs again, then continued on and made the second half of the warp, with the same thing happening again. Truly a disaster! I have made warps on a warping board for over 25 years and never had a warp like this one. This was the second time I’d used this warping board, and it was the last.

I brought the warp down to the loom, placed the lease sticks in, slipped the wood rod into the loops, and sections into the raddle, and with my kids help (Noah inserting warp sticks, Sarah turning the ratchet) I stood about 15′ or more back from the loom and compensated as best I could for the sagging sections of the warp.

The more I unchained, the worse the problem was, we continued beaming warp until I could stand it no longer, “someone give me a big scissors!” I cut the remainder of the warp off and it is still in the bin, out of my sight.

Hours making a warp, hours threading a warp, and the entire thing may still be trashed. I was not a happy camper, but lessons were learned and decisions made. The warping board will be trashed, I would never sell a board like this to another weaver to have to deal with this. Short warps will be made on my old warping board, made by my husband, the one where the pegs are screwed into the frame. Anything longer than four yards or so will be made on a warping mill. Warps for rugs will be sectionally made/beamed. I do have sectional rakes, purchased used, for my 48″ Glimakra CM, but had been reluctant to drill holes in the warp beam. No more! Those holes will be made and the rakes can be added or removed as desired.

Now, to finish threading this warp and see if the beaming was good enough to diminish the tension problems I am expecting. I’m still hoping I can weave a few things from this warp. If not, it will be removed from the loom and I’ll start over. I’ll let you know!

3 thoughts on “Lessons Learned, Decisions Made”

  1. Oh, how disappointing…sorry the warping board gave out or was never even up to the task.Seems like you have a good handle on where you'll head from here…but that's one thing that's hard for me – dealing with frustration over things not working out technically like I thought they would.That carpet warp looks fun though. I've never used it….but after seeing a tiny bit in person, and now seeing your post, it makes me want to give it a try. Sue

  2. LOL, I've got too much to do/weave to let this get me down for long. I'll the warp a fair chance, and weave off as much as possible, or replace it, we'll see. Meanwhile, I've got two other warps to make and they'll both be done on the warping mill, one for the drawloom, the other for a small 8 shaft jack loom. I'll also be paying close attention to what my hands are doing/feeling as I'm warping, too! These will be my first rugs, though my table runners are the same thing, just narrower. You're going to have to try rugs, Sue!

  3. what a disaster for you!!! I know after all the time spent paining over the colors and deciding the stripe and planning a warp this could be nothing less than mind bending… not to mention peg bending!!! I feel for you on this one my friend!

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