Warped: Things every beginner should know when warping a loom
We all know that learning to do something in a class, and then going home and trying it by yourself are two different beasts. There is always some disparity in the amount of questions one has when attempting to do it alone, than in the class when there are examples and guidance. Here are three things about warping a loom that I hope you don’t have to figure out alone:
- Warp Strands Come in Pairs: When you warp a loom with one continuous strand, it is important to know that warp strands always come in pairs. Be ready for this if you decide to, say, tackle the fibonacci sequence on your first project that you warp yourself. It makes things far more complicated than a simple even number plain weave.
- Warping backwards: I learned to warp from back to front on a ridgid heddle loom. Somehow, in all of my excitement to work with my new (old) four harness loom that I fixed all by myself, I didn’t notice that I started warping front to back until I had reached about the half way point. Not having a book on weaving, I just had to ‘wing it’ which could mess with my tension. See number 1 above to understand why I couldn’t just pull it all out and start again. Thankfully I’m not working with cheneil.
- Heddles: On my four shaft loom, I have a certain number of heddles on each shaft (if you have figured out how to have an infinite number of heddles on each shaft, please let me know in the comments below). I was told by a dear buddy, that it was a good idea to share the load of the project over the four shafts, instead of just the two. I thought that made a lot of sense, so, what I did was line up heddles from shaft 1 and 3 for the first strand, and heddles from shaft 2 and 4 for the second strand and continued to repeat this pattern until… I realized that the amount of heddles is limited, and thus, I had to, to a certain degree, back the train up. (Again, thankfull that I wasn’t working with cheniel) To share the work over the shafts I figured out that if I put strand one through shaft 1’s heddle, strand 2 through shaft 2’s heddle, strand three through shaft 3’s heddle etc and repeat, then I will have enough heddles and the work will be distributed. The most important point here is to make sure that your strands alternate up and down with some configuration of the shafts lifting and falling. Phew.
Enjoy getting warped!