Category Archives: warping mill

Warping Behind Schedule

I started this warping process with a fine 20/2 cotton thread about three days ago. Things were going well and I made the first of the two warps which will only be about 5″ wide, sett is 36 epi. Two nights ago I decided it will be beamed onto the Glimakra table loom.

Above, is one-fourth of the drawloom warp, counting thread on, and just before adding cross and choke ties. I’m making it in four 4″ sections, 64 epi, and 18 yards in length. The overall width will be 16″ for a total of 1,024 threads, placed on the warping mill one thread at a time. I’ve already decided I’ll be experimenting with making these warps perhaps 4 threads at a time using a fixed warping paddle.

This mill is 3 yards around, so to make the warp in two sections, I would have had to shorten the length of the warp. Since my drawloom has the long extension on it, and I did not want to re-warp and re-thread right away, I decided 18 yards would be good. Trying to squeeze more threads onto the mill would, in my opinion, be risking tangling of threads or worse.

So, why am I not done? I’ve been distracted! A couple weeks ago I’d started to set up an online shop on 1000 Markets, and submitted it for approval on July 4th. Three days later an email arrived requesting I retake photos of the towels in natural light. So I spent two days taking photos of both the towels and socks (might as well do them over, too), somewhere over 100 photos. After deleting most of the pictures and keeping those I thought were okay, I resubmitted for approval again a couple days ago.

Last night, around 10:45 PM, an email arrived saying my shop was Live! Now, I’m busy learning my way around 1000 Markets, reading in the Forums, browsing through Markets to determine where I might fit, and so on. Today I requested being part of two markets, and heard back from one almost immediately. I still need to set that up, and perhaps post a first blog entry there, hopefully tomorrow.

So in-between all this online time, I have been working on my fine warps. Half the drawloom warp is done, and I’ll be back at the warping mill again tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to threading, though I’m thinking when that is done I’ll definitely need new glasses.

It’s cool again tonight, around 50 degrees out, but the Whippoorwill has been singing away since just after dark. He sings me to sleep every night, just under my bedroom window.

Fine Warps

There are two looms in the studio, warped, and two needing warps, it’s time to take care of this situation. Last night, I chose a weave structure from the Davidson book, yes, a “recipe,” as I’m in the mood to weave up something a bit smaller. I decided on sachets so wanted a pattern that could be varied with both treadling and color to give some variety. The back sides of the sachets will also be handwoven, most likely in plain weave. Inside will be small muslin “pillows” of dried lavender flowers.

I chose “Caroline Halvorsen’s No. 30″ on p. 44, liking the stripe design which I think will give a bit of a contemporary feel to them. I’ll be doing three repeats, using 20/2 cotton, 36 epi for this twill, so finished sachets will measure approximately 3 3/4″ square. This warp will be going on a 22” Harrisville (direct tie-up) loom.

After my last misadventure with a certain warping board, which shall go unnamed here, these warps will be made on a warping mill. This warp will be a total of 168 ends on four shafts, and I’m thinking I’d better count heddles before I start.

The second warp is for the drawloom, 20/2 cotton, 60 epi, 4 ends/dent in a 15 dent reed (I’ll need to order ASAP), or 5 ends/dent in a 12 dent reed. The warp will be 16″ wide for a total of 960 threads.

The weave structure for the drawloom will be 8 shaft satin, the warp will be threaded in straight draw 1-8 on the ground shafts, and pattern heddles will be threaded as half units, meaning each will be threaded with 4 threads, instead of 8, giving greater patterning flexibility.

Photos will be coming as I get further along. At the moment, I am paging through three large notebooks of past newsletters of both the Damask and Double Harness Study Groups of Complex Weavers, checking through some drafts/records to make sure I’m thinking this through correctly. Research.

I was going to start this tonight, but have decided to wait for daylight. I’ll bring the cone holder down, place a cone of 20/2 cotton on it, set the Ott floor lamp next to the warping mill , and start winding. I think “Last Chance Harvey” will be on, a good movie, and something to listen to while I pay attention to my crosses.

Earlier today, I went down the road and sat on a neighbor’s pier to enjoy a beautfiful, sunny afternoon in the northwoods. While sitting there, quietly, paging through the WI Sheep & Wool Festival book that arrived in the mail, I was able to quietly observe two mama ducks with their babies, three Mergansers, one loon, and several painted turtles, sunning themselves on a log my neighbor has anchored offshore for just that purpose. There was also a hawk flying over the lake, smaller birds trying to chase it away, and while that was going on, one mama duck herded her ducklings under the next pier over, and just up out of the water, out of sight. It was so enjoyable, being able to observe all these quiet daily activities of my wildlife neighbors.

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!